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The Railway Buffet
There was an urgent call and that is why my father and I left for Kolkata. The work was done and therefore we left for Lucknow only after one day. We got our reservation done at Jodhpur-Howrah Express train. It was a hush-hush visit.
It was an off season journey as it was the examination month. Hopefully my exams were over. Therefore there was the least rush and so the journey was pleasant. But after Mughalsarai; a stoppage; the journey turned out to be a torture. I suffer from upset tummy whenever I eat something outdoors; and as a matter of fact; I was hungry at that point of time.
The journey was now appalling. Anyhow the train reached the next station; Allahabad. The station was crowded as the globally-renowned KUMBH MELA just marked its end the previous day. A gigantic joint family; hailing from the state of Rajasthan; joined us. They also came to the fare for the holy dip. So they were all on their return journey. Still afresh, they were full of energy.
The train whistled and gradually it started moving. It took about five to ten minutes for the family to get settled along with their good about infinite number of luggage. On the other hand, my stomach was no less than a Katrina; twisting itself in hunger.
“I guess we all are hungry, let’s eat something.” said a stooping lady; probably the elder-most in the family.
“Oh yes we are.” replied politely a lady in her early 30s; may be the daughter-in-law.
“Okay then let us unpack the food which Shakuntala ji have packed for us.”
I was actually poking my ears over their conversation. Their talks were so tempting; I had no words to explain.
And then they took out the tiffin- so many varieties; which probably I have never seen! Beautifully they served the food; full of etiquettes. I was impressed.
And I must mention their hospitality; they even offered my father and me to eat too. Earlier we thought like how can we eat? but they made us comfortable enough. As a result, we also got our plates ready.
The varieties to be mentioned- masala pudi, spicy potato, lady fingers, grams, yoghurt, snacks and a sweet dish. And yes; all these dishes had a taste of both sweet and spicy element-pure Rajasthani exotic cuisine. I felt no less than dining with the royals, totally exuberant atmosphere. After having a cheerful meal and disposing off the plates, the first thing they all did was that they called Shakuntalaji; the one who had packed the food for them; and thanked her from the bottom of their heart.
So even dad and me thanked them. I even confessed that I was hungry for a long time to which they replied that it was evident from my facial expressions and they could read it. Well, this is known as experience I guess.
Anyhow we reached to our terminal. We thanked them again and were down from the train. We reached home and they went away along with the train. I don’t know whether I will meet them again but surely it was a memory to cherish forever.