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Hello from Kerala… June 6, 2007

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, India, Indian Railways, Travel.
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It’s been a week since I got to Kerala, India & it’s about time I blogged about my adventures. I got to Trivandrum on 31 May and the monsoons have been elusive since then. It’s pretty humid out here, but I’m enjoying the sunshine along with loads of train rides, exams and movies.

I’d my first train ride on the 1082 Kanyakumari-Mumbai Express on 31st morning. Like always I ended up hanging about the door. 1082 was hauled by Erode-based WDM2 that has a ‘freaky modified front side’. Forgot the road number. Enjoyed the slight drizzle and clicked my first set of rail snaps.

Next train ride was two days later on the 7229 Trivandrum-Hyderabad Sabari Express to Ernakulam Town. My first ever journey in an electric train in Kerala. The Erode-based WAP4 proved its mettle as speed king.

Spent the next few days with some friends in Ernakulam, soaking up the trains. Roamed around in Ernakulam, and visited Vallarpadom, where Cochin is to get its new container terminal. Spent the nights listening to the crooning of diesel & electric locos and the incessant attack of mosquitoes at railway quarters, Ernakulam.

Went for a few movies as well – Shootout at Lokhandwala (Hindi), Goal (Malayalam), Time (Malayalam) and Khakee (Malayalam). Except Shootout and Goal, everything else was a waste of time.

3rd June. The most exciting day of my life. I’d my first ever foot-plating experience (riding in a locomotive). I can’t believe that I had to wait for 23 years to get on a loco, but I’m glad that it finally happened. You can see ‘my glowing self’ from the pic. It was amazing, being right in the thick of action with the majestic Erode WAP4 blaring its 2 pairs of HT-LT horns and leading one of the fastest trains in Kerala with élan. It was so cooooooool!!!

Came back to Ernakulam on Bokaro-Alleppey Express. Returned home next day on 2626 New Delhi – Trivandrum Kerala Superfast Express, which was running late close to 2 hours. Enjoyed the ride in 3AC. Clicked a few snaps as well. Got to meet Muscat based buddy Jayashankar who was traveling to Chennai on his favorite ride Chennai Mail.

Left for Trivandrum yest to meet a few friends, after my second exam. My ride was the 2626 New Delhi – Trivandrum Kerala Superfast Express again. Got my ticket to Dadar on the Ernakulam-Dadar Special for Thursday. I’m so looking forward to seeing Konkan Railway during the day. After a great evening of bar hopping, came back home around midnight, after catching the 6343 Trivandrum-Palghat Town Amrita Express train, which probably has to be the Express train with the shortest rake in Kerala. Got home and slept like a log.

For more snaps from my rail trips in Kerala, visit my flickr account arunmct.

Update on Cyclone Gonu: I’m sure that you guys have heard about the vicious cyclone Gonu that’s hit the coast of Sultanate of Oman and Persian Gulf today. Blogger friend Lori Magno mailed me this morning, enquiring if all was well and I was out of harm’s way. I was so touched with her kind gesture… and once again reminded me of how blogging has led to such powerful friendships. Thanks Lori. My folks & friends are in Muscat and they say that they are out of harm’s way. Here’s a blog from Muscat that features regular updates on Gonu.

Blogger Social ’08: I got the rundown on Blogger Social ’08 from CK’s & Mark Goren’s blog posts. What an excellent idea… I’ve just completed the survey & will blog about this soon. I’m excited at the whole prospect & can’t wait to meet all my blogger-friends & have a rockin’ time. After all, it’s not about social media, it’s about being social!!!

I also want to thank CK, David Reich, Drew McLellan, Lewis Green, Luc & Valeria Maltoni for their comments on my post – Here’s to share & care. Thank you for being my friends!!! 🙂

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Comments»

1. Valeria Maltoni - June 6, 2007

Arun,

What a nice photograph, you look radiant. And I’m glad to hear you are well. What languages do you speak? I’ve heard a little bit of Urdu, which I know is written a bit like Arabic.

2. David Reich - June 6, 2007

Arun, thanks for the pictures of your Indian Railway trip.

I visited India more than 20 years ago — a combinatiuon business and pleasure trip. I wanted to ride the railroad, but didn’t have the chance. Spent a week in Bombay (that’s what it was back then) for a conference, and then went to Delhi and Agra. I’d love to go back and see more of that beautiful country. Seeing the pioctures made me remember fondly.

Regards,
David

3. C.B. Whittemore - June 7, 2007

Arun, thanks for sharing these glorious photos! I love trains and it’s wonderful to see someone enjoying them so much.

4. Drew McLellan - June 7, 2007

Arun,

I was wondering why you’d been so quiet. Glad to hear all is well! Thanks for sharing your travels with us. This week a train…and in ’08 a plane ride to the states to attend Blogger Social ’08!

Can’t wait to meet you in person.

Drew

5. Toby - June 7, 2007

Arun – sure looks like you are enjoying your 42 days of vacation (smile) Thank for giving us a peak of your beautiful country. Love the idea of a train travel trip too. Perhaps CK should set Blogger Social 08 on a train.

6. arunrajagopal - June 7, 2007

# Valeria: Howdy? I speak Hindi (similar to Urdu in the way it’s spoken, but has a different script – yes you got that right), Malayalam (spoken by native people of Kerala) and a few sentences in Arabic & French. Oh yes, I’m glowin in the snap… thanks for sayin that, makes me glow even more. Wink. 🙂

# David: I’m glad my pics made you reminisce about your trip to India. Fascinating country it is, and in spite of being Indian, I’m yet to see and experience more of India.

# Drew: I can’t wait too to see you all in person! I just hope things work out well and that we share even more good times in the days to come!

# C.B.: I’m gonna travel tonight through Konkan Railway in India, which offers one of the most scenic sights that can be seen on a train in India. Loads of tunnels, high elevations, forests and rivers. I’ll take some snaps and dedicate the best one to you. What say?

# Toby: The idea of a blogger social on a train is the best thing I’ve heard all day. In fact, it’s making me smile. That too after a painful dental appointment. Gr8 idea, buddy!

Guys… till my next post, take care, have fun. Okies?

7. Lewis Green - June 7, 2007

Arun,

Thank you for sharing your trip to India. I have never been but hope to one day. Have a safe and happy time.

8. Luc - June 7, 2007

Hello Arun,
Thank you for this very nice post and for letting us the opportunity to discover you on picture. Talking about pictures, I checked your photo set on Flickr… and… it’s… breathtaking (encourage everyone who reads this post to do so). What a fantastic vision you share with us! You frame these pictures with utmost balance and with delicate care for the subjects. Love it. THANK YOU for sharing! I can’t wait to meet you in person and share thoughts and ideas. 🙂

9. arunrajagopal - June 7, 2007

Thanks Lewis. My train to Mumbai leaves in 3 hours & I feel so excited already! Your latest blog post – http://lgbusinesssolutions.typepad.com/solutions_to_grow_your_bu/2007/06/out_of_india.html – has such a powerful message: Put People First, Always & You Can Never Lose. Hope to see you in India soon!
Luc… you are so kind & generous with your appreciation. Nobody has appreciated my photography as well as you. Thanks mate!

10. Mark Goren - June 8, 2007

Arun: How cool your trip was. We haven’t formally met yet, but I look forward to learning more about you and your country. Count me in as a subscriber! Best, Mark

11. Mack Collier - June 10, 2007

Good stuff Arun, thanks for sharing your pics, the train ride definitely looks like fun!


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