Chitrapur Station July 30 2014
We live in a ‘one-horse town’ sorry, a ‘one-train town’.
Our really quaint Chitrapur station boasts of one train halting here twice a day. It is the “Mangalore – Madgaon Passenger train” . Shaking off its sleep at 6 am at Mangalore station, it chugs its way slowly stopping at each and every station enroute. By the time it reaches Chitrapur, it is well past its scheduled time. The very first time that we went to the station was when hubby had to travel to Goa to catch a flight. It is a very convenient connection for us when need to travel at a short notice. I had to drop him to the station and we reached well ahead of its scheduled time. The ticket counter was closed and the small waiting room was locked as well. And the single platform was completely deserted.
A long wait and then almost half an hour after its scheduled time, the ticket-booking clerk, the waiting room attendant, the ticket collector and the cleaner, all rolled in one, walked up, opened the booking office, dusted the entire place, swept the floor, opened the waiting room, put fresh flowers and lit incense and then finally turned his attention to us and asked us our destination. By then a slow trickle of people had started walking in.
A couple of rickshaws drove in to wait and soon the loudspeaker crackled to life announcing the arrival of the train at Bhatkal station. There is no separate announcement for Chitrapur. 10 minutes later, the train chugged into sight.
A leisurely 5 minute halt, passengers alighting and embarking without any pushing/shoving, no coolies yelling into your ears, no vendors shoving their wares into your face.....just a gentle breeze and a quiet murmur of people and then the train makes its way onward to Murudeshwar station. The booking clerk walks out and locks the office and the waiting room, puts the key into his pocket and walks home whistling a tune.
And the station goes back into its somnambulistic state until 6 pm when the same train halts here on its return journey. I walk out to the ‘car-park’ where our car is the sole occupant, showered with a generous layer of golden yellow blossoms, and drive back home.