I sometimes wonder at how things change. The first time I flew I was five years old, the first time my daughter flew she was just one. I spent most of my vacation time on trains and loved it, she spends as much time in airports and hates it. The only time she has been on a train was a two hour trip to Chandigarh, which was solely for the novelty factor because the rest of the family drove! Like most of us I wish times were simpler, joys were simpler and of course life was simpler.
Thankfully there are still a few places in the city that take me
back to those glory days. The days of ‘no TV’, monitored usage of the video, and most of the free time spent outdoors. One such retro nook is the city’s Rail Museum. I lived near it for two years when I was a kid and I know it in and out. The best part was that it wasn’t drab at all, even when I was 7. I had been on trains and around them, yet the Rail museum excited me no end. So I was naturally curious to see how my four year old would react.
So off we went on a Sunday morning to see trains, lots of them. The National Rail Museum is a one-of-its-kind museum in India and this is where the history and heritage of Indian railways is maintained. Spread across 11 acres, the museum has an indoor gallery that showcases exhibits of train models, old records and photographs, coat of arms and other memrobillia. There are over 100 real size exhibits of trains in the sprawling gardens, where kids can actually enter the trains and check out the engines. My daughter loved the real train exhibits the most, she was thrilled to be allowed to touch the insides of the bogeys and she showed genuine amazement at my train stories. She loved the freedom of being able to hang around these monolithic transport systems and I am sure she didn’t believe me when I told her some train journeys took days. She also loved the min joy ride on a small train on the premises.
I took along a small snack hamper so she got the real feel of train journeying, after all what is a 20 hour journey without home cooked parantha’s, pickles, snacks and savouries. We both sat on the steps of one of the engines, munched on cucumber sandwiches while I told her about travelling back from college with her dad on India’s longest train journey, the Mangala Express. A whopping 57 hours from Mangalore to Delhi, at least it used to be! We both had a lovely day, she learnt something new and I learnt that I finally have someone to have ‘kid’ fun with.
Open 6 days a week. From 9 am – 6 pm. National Rail Museum, Chanakyapuri,, New Delhi-110021.(India) Tel : 26881816, 26880939.