Book Review: Railonama—Unforgettable train stories

Railonama_Book Review_Anupriya Mishra
Authors: Various
Publisher: Good Times Books Pvt. Ltd.
Price: INR 250
Pages: 236
My rating: 4/5

I have always loved traveling by train, observing people, sitting by the window side watching the splendid scenery and waiting to watch for a deep turn only to have a glimpse of the first bogie. I also love the pacey noise of the engine and whistle leaving trails of smoke. Despite such deep affection with various facets of the Indian Rails, I could never think of writing or even compiling something like Railonama. Railonama is a collection of short stories and poems encapsulating the train tales in India from people across the world.

To create something like Railonama is completely out of the box and three cheers for sharing such overwhelming, heartwarming experiences that we can easily relate to. It’s hard to believe that Anupama Sharma, a computer engineer by profession can come up with such an emotional and lively work; weaving stories of near and far into a fine tapestry that reflects the experiences of train travelers in India.

The more you flip through the pages of this book, the more you feel that this is something similar to what you have experienced once and still you would enjoy reading it because it’s presented beautifully and successfully creates an imagery that takes you back in time.

We come across strange, funny, sarcastic, annoying, friendly, wicked and all sorts of people during journeys. How they talk, how they behave? Some are too full of themselves while others would just pass a smile or a glance and be happy in their own company. There are people half hanging on the train doors, knowing that it can cost their life. Despite that why do they risk it? How can few kids waving hands on the other side of the track bring a smile to your face? These are some common things, uncommonly presented in this book.

You would read a few stories and be more and more interested to read further because all the writers who have contributed to this book, sharing their experiences have done their bit in making this book a pleasant read. The stories make you feel happy and you can read it on your heavy, tiresome days without churning your brains or getting bored. Most of the stories are well-presented, but some you may find to be plain and ordinary. There are total of 45 stories and poems written in simple English and so you can read them anytime and recommend it to any age group. The book binds in itself numerous emotions and gives an insight as to how differently people sense and observe the same things as we do. We might just miss going deep, while a few live in that moment. Things that we mostly tend to ignore are described in a fascinating manner in this book.

A must read for those who love traveling, sharing and of course those who wish to transcend the usual approach towards train traveling.

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11 comments

  1. Nice review. I used to initially enjoy and later suffer willy nily long train journeys (55-60 hrs) during my college days at MAHE, Mangalore. Now, rail journeys have become few and far in between. Probably by reading this book i could relive some of those days.

    1. Thanks. I completely empathize with you as I’m a MAHE passout myself. I remember how excited we used to be traveling in large groups in Mangala Express. Despite that somewhere towards the end of the journey, which seemed to be never ending, there would be an air of boredom and a feeling of nostalgia. Good old days. 🙂

      1. Believe me, the Mangala Express ones (such as my classmates from Delhi) were luckier. I had to travel solo, from Calcutta to Mangalore. But in a way, those journeys were instructive..they taught me a lot about India, and about people. Though there is no way I would do it these days!

      2. Alright, that must be really tough. I belonged to the luckier bunch that ways. Any journey is instructive for that matter, but journeys like we used to do back in college are absolutely forbidding.

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