Trains and Tea

We all have some or other interests. Someone likes Kishorda’s music where as someone has deep love for Harry Potter. I have bored all my friends to no extent by showing my love for Calvin and Hobbes. For most of these interests we know that there are millions who share the similar interests. But deep within us we have other interests which we normally don’t tell others thinking that others might find it weird or insignificant.

These interests are not very common. Some people like to wear wrist watch on their right hand instead of left. Some people can’t live without having tea and newspaper together in early morning. These interests are small and not worthy of sharing with anyone. But are there many more people around the world who share the same interests ? There is no way to find out.Or is there as one ?

I have a theory about this. Our minor interests are not random. They are reflection of certain personality traits which we ourselves are unaware of. My theory is purely based on my observation alone.

As a kid I use to watch a tv serial that use to come on Doordarshan. It was “Rusty” based on the stories of famous novelist Ruskin Bond. None in my family liked the t.v. serial. I was too young to fully understand it but I somewhere deep down found a liking for the serial. The boy who is kind of alone in this world, probably only with memories, not much of a family kid and his adventures. I promised myself that I will read Ruskin Bond when I improve my english. It took me around a decade to lay my hands on his book.

Bingo! I felt so happy when I read his omnibus. His stories to me were my own thoughts written in better language. His stories had some things that appealed to me very deeply.

These were:

1. The protagonist was always alone.

2. His love for things were one-sided. The love for people, relationships, places etc.

3. He never understood his love for things neither could explain it to the people he loved in the normal way.

4. The protagonist never had a family as such. He was always on move.

5. Many of his stories revolve around train journeys and small rail stations.

6. There is a mention of “cup of tea” so many times.

I love train journeys. I also like to get down at remote and deserted railways stations. I like Ruskin Bond’s stories because the protagonist shared the very exact likings with me.

Then I met many people whom I admire and had the pleasure to have good relationship with. They were young as well as old. We because friends very quickly. Then I was surprised to see that all these people shared the same interests as mine. We liked the same kind of movies, the same authors, our political opinions matched not to mention love for tea and trains.

I also discovered a common personality trait among all of us. We loved our own self so much that other might call us selfish. Our love however for things was one-sided. In my case at least, whenever I like something I like it without any expectations. I love it with full devotion. But then, I never share it with others. It remains with me. You can cherish that kind of love only if you are fond of loneliness. If someone tries to interfere with those interests I get deeply disturbed, if someone disturbs me from my solitude I lose my temper.

I think the underlying psychological causes are simple. I spent most of my childhood and teenage in a very secluded environments. There were not many children in my neighborhood when I stayed with my parents and when I moved out I couldn’t mix with people for various reasons.

That kind of atmosphere tends to make one more introspective. It is great for the creative faculties of your mind but it is not so good for the social aspect of the personality. You realize that instantly when you read Ruskin Bond’s stories. Most of the people can’t see what I see in those stories because they don’t understand the protagonist the way I do. There are many books which others find very interesting and relatable but I can’t. For similar reasons I like books based on fantasy.

After Ruskin Bond it was Satyajit Ray which I found so interesting. I instantly fell in love with Pather Panchali. I realised it later when I saw a documentary that “Train” was the central part of the whole trilogy. In every part train signifies something. In the first part it signifies the curiosity of Apu towards the world outside, probably beyond his reach. In second it signifies mother’s hope that her son will return to look after her. In the third part it is used to signify the life as a journey.

Satyajit Ray’s books which are mostly meant for children have similar plots like those of Ruskin Bond. A lonely unmarried man traveling to remote towns and unknown places by train. The adventures and deep observation of people around him are the characteristics of his protagonists.

All these thoughts erupted in my mind when I managed to the get the book I wanted to buy for a long time but could not because I had forgotten the exact words in the title. The book is titled

Buy Book Chai, Chai: Travels In Places Where You Stop But Never Get Off by Bishwanath Ghosh

Chai, Chai: Travels In Places Where You Stop But Never Get Off


One thought on “Trains and Tea

  1. A favourite TV shows in my growing up years was The Wonder Years. I share the same thought that the characters and programs we like in our formative years point to some cherished desires or personality traits.

    And yeah – there is something about train journeys and countryside stations. Perhaps its the elements of discovery, exploration and thrill of the unknown…

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