I had heard a lot about the World Agricultural Fair at Delhi. During the winter break, I paid a visit to Delhi. On the 25th of December, I packed my luggage and made for the Amritsar railway station, in a rickshaw. It took me some time to purchase a ticket as there was a long queue in front of the booking office. I hired a coolie who led me to the platform.
The platform was full of noise, hustle and bustle. It was a very busy place. Everybody seemed to be in a hurry. Passengers ran hither and thither. The coolies moved to and fro with luggage on their heads and under their arms. Hawkers cried their wares at the top of their voices.
All looked in the direction of the train. Soon it was sighted. All became alert and stood up with their luggage. In no time the train steamed in. There was a great rush in and a great rush out. Some were trying to get in and others were trying to get down.
It was like the meeting of two streams from opposite directions. Somehow I got into a compartment and luckily found a good seat near a window. The coolie placed the luggage on the rack. At the fixed time, the guard whistled and waved the green flag. The train started. The station was soon out of sight.
I looked out of the window. There were gardens and green fields on either side of the railway line. The trees seemed to run in the opposite direction. The passengers in my compartment formed a medley crowd. Some were smoking; some were chatting or reading newspapers while others talked over politics and the weather I was all the while busy reading a book which I had picked up at the railway bookstall. It turned out to be quite interesting.
Occasionally I cast a glance outside and feasted my eyes on the landscape outside. As it was a mail train it stopped only at a few junction- stations. At Ambala I had a cup of tea. A ticket examiner entered our compartment. He checked our tickets. A passenger who was travelling without a ticket was taken to task. He had to pay not only the fare but also the penalty.
He had to face humiliation into the bargain. A vendor who was selling sweets came into our compartment. He was all praise for his sweets. He was followed by a quack who was selling some toothpaste that was a panacea for all diseases of the teeth. Then entered a blind beggar woman. She sang a doleful song and begged for alms.
At last the train reached New Delhi. I got down, engaged a coolie and came out of the station. I hired a taxi and drove to my Uncle’s house. I was well received by my aunt and cousins.