Train journeys are philosophical.
They are magical and transformative!
The black horse drawing the coupés diligently over terrain rough
The fearsome mouth belching fire that shines in the dim night
The burning coals being spread over the receding land
Embers few flying down in the outstretched hands of kids/adults alike
Train journeys—a visual delight, inspiring a canvas or a song
People getting up/down
Embraces loving and farewells warm—and teary for a mother waving only son to the battleground!
Locomotives weave their own tapestries across time-n-space
Puffing up, red-eyed, these horse-machines arrive at the termini
After a long travel across the denuded hills, vales and dusty plains;
Friendships get promptly forged, new perspectives formed over life;
From a window open or barred, the passengers watch
The rolling countryside or bustling cities and towns;
Platforms big or small have got their pull on a fevered mind
The retreating cabins; the red signal down; the sharp whistle sound
And the beckoning mountain ranges or looming forests talk to you
In that fleeting instant!
Dawns/dusks never look the same
Solitude and pure heavens paint them so different!
You see universe travelling with you on such wonderful nights!
Life is motion; not stasis—it is called evolution.
Mental journeys can be equally illuminating—if done with your favorite fictional characters!
You learn a lot about histories, heroic struggles and human condition in lands and time distant.
The very act of reading can resurrect such epic journeys done on trains for a promise or Promised Land.
Chapter 7 of Dr. Zhivago details one such spectacular journey that intersects the grey realms of fiction and fact, and, a past that is present.
Travelling across the vast plains of Russia in an overcrowded train
With the Zhivagos for a distant Varykino can be an unsettling experience in 2015:
Conscripts; the displaced, the exiled, peasants, the landed gentry—all disparate Elements flung together in their compartment by the force of circumstance
Everybody fleeing from something/somebody in a nation convulsing;
The long train hurtling down through a Red Revolution not properly understood; Bewildered, anxious; a part of the stratified humanity melted as a single unit in the crammed space.
Various sights, sounds, smells and colours are seen across the Old Russia in upheaval and bloody change—now forgotten except this literary document of a crucial age.
Another crucible of our times!
Frightening for some!
Comforting for others!
Journeys same; yet so different.
And then Dr Zhivago, fleeing from past, remembers the spring, looking out of the window of the compartment, in the midst of a gloomy place!
With its hint of change.
Spring in the air.
And you too recall a spring now forever lost in an urban sprawl and smog
A spring remembered looks more romantic than a real one.
Dr. Zhivago is trying to flee from the logic of history like others
A futile effort!
One can never flee from one’s destiny.
Some people get caught up in the cauldron of history and cannot escape the effects incendiary
A family displaced, running to their old family home, stuck at many stations
Witnessing violence and change in an old system on the brink;
And then doctor-poet remembering the spring in the expansive white of the snow
Two seasons collide in a single moment!
Spring indeed had arrived in his exploited land!
On a personal level, doing this long trans-country train journey with Dr. Zhivago,
The reader is subtly reminded that we carry our own springs within.
Some train journeys— forever remembered/ inscribed!
They are wonderful expeditions of discovery and self-discovery
On the tracks
Magical in effect—Alice-like
And deeply transforming!