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The Army Train - A True Life Story

The Train

This is a true life story which happened in the year 1985. We travelled in the army train which tool eleven days to travel a short seven hour distance of just 385 kilometers. The army train journey was so hilarious and so serious that I laugh narrating some part of this true story and become emotional when I am narrating other parts of this true story.

Actually, many individual true stories happened during those eleven days onboard this army train that had all the army men of an army unit from the Commanding Officer and his wife to all the men including their wife, children, luggage, personal vehicles and army vehicles and even the guns and ammunition loaded on a single train pulled by two engines.

The true story starts with my father who was posted in an army unit those days which was raised in a remote place called Raiwala which was a small village with only a railway station, but no bus station. The army unit was situated next to the river called Ganga or Ganges which is a holy river of India. We were there for about ten months as the army unit organised itself into a fighting unit.

Those days I was around eighteen and had just finished my graduation, but was unable to get a seat for my post graduation. Life was very tough there. One reason was that I have to face my father everyday who out of his frustration about his 18 year old son spending his time mostly sleeping at home. My father would say that I must go out and find some work or persue my studies.

The only way to pass time was to get out of home, go to a nearby holi town called Haridwar south of Raiwala, which is where the Kumbh Mela which is very happens in India or to another holi pilgrimage place in the opposite direction to the north of Raiwala, which is called Hrishikesh or else head out to a big city called Dehradun, which is about an hour by train to the north west from home.

The Army ExpressJust for dousing curiosity, Kumbh Mela happens just once in twelve years in just four places in rotation in India, namely Prayagraj or Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha and Ujjain Simhastha, on the banks rivers. In Nashik it is on the banks of river Godavari, in Ujjain Kumbh Mela is held at the banks of river Shipra, at Prayagraj Kumbh Mela is held at the banks of river Saraswati.

The main festival of Kumbh Mela is held at Haridwar where two rivers Ganges and Yamuna meet at Sangam. in 2013 it is estimated that over 120 million people visited Maha Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj in a span of two months. You can google Kumbh Mela and learn more about this festival that happens in India just once in twelve years.

Normally, all the army units are raised in a remote jungle and once it is formed as a fighing force, they are mobilised to a bigger base. Just because they were in a train did not deter the unit from doing physical exercise in the morning. In fact, the army personnel will take a short jog around the city or village where they have stopped the train for morning exercises.

And during breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea time, the entire unit's men and officers will patiently stand in queue as per rank and seniority, at the four doors of the pantry car bogie for meals and tea. There will be a ton of civilians who come around just to see how an army unit performs its routine even when on the move.

This true story that started and ended in an army train taught the entire families of the army personnel as to how the army works and fights. The entire set of families traveling on that army train learned discipline in those eleven days on board the train.

The hilarious part of this true story is how this army train created chaos in the railways by jamming the entire train schedules and how the army officer's wife could stop the train at her whims and fancy, anywhere and at any time.

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