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On a Rainy Evening

I stay on the first floor of a rather old apartment complex. Just behind my apartment is an abandoned railway track. The track must have been laid a long time ago because there is only one set of rails. There is no movement along the tracks except a few cats that have adopted the tracks as their evening walk route. Beyond the tracks is a wooded area. A few weeks ago, the trees were bare and I could see deep into the woods and see more tall trees. Now the trees have fresh leaves. The woods look thick and deep and mysterious. Long after it stops raining, water droplets still fall from the trees and it sounds as though it is drizzling slightly. Somehow there is something romantic about the railway track that curves along the end of the wood and divides the area into the houses on one side and the deep woods on the other side.

Rail Yatra

While we are talking of rail tracks let me go completely on a tangent and relate this incident which was emailed by a cousin .

Okhil Babu’s letter to the Railway Department in early 1900’s in Bengal

“I am arrive by passenger train Ahmedpur station and my belly is too much swelling with jackfruit. I am therefore went to privy. Just I doing the nuisance that guard making whistle blow for train to go off and I am running with ‘lotah’ in one hand and ‘dhoti’ in the next when I am fall over and expose all my shocking to man and female women on plateform. I am got leaved at Ahmedpur station.

This too much bad, if passenger go to make dung that dam guard not wait train five minutes for him. I am therefore pray your honour to make big fine on that guard for public sake. Otherwise I am making big report to papers.”

Okhil Chandra Sen wrote this letter to the Sahibganj divisional railway office in 1909. It is on display at the Railway Museum in New Delhi.

It was also reproduced under the caption “Travellers’ Tales” in the Far Eastern Economic Review.

Any guesses why this letter was of historic value?

It apparently led to the introduction of toilets on trains.

Posted in Personal.

Copyright Deepa