Under the overcast sky, the green of the paddy fields looked as dense as the grey above — so picture perfect that I could have tried my luck with National Geographic if I was not standing at the door of the train. In fact, when a hill appeared in the backdrop of the lush greenery, I did turn to fetch my camera. But I found my path blocked by the suitcase of an elderly fellow traveller who announced with an apologetic grin, “Mysore is coming.”
Mysore is one of those places like Siberia: you’ve always heard about it, but you never really see anyone booking a ticket to get there. For the lay traveller, the city is on the itinerary only when a trip to Bangalore permits enough time. It was hardly surprising then, when, 90 percent of the passengers on the Chennai-Mysore Shatabdi Express detrained in Bangalore.
Mysore is also a city whose mention — particularly if you have never been there — conjures up some image or the other in your mind: it could be colourful silk sarees or the smoke emanating from a sandalwood agarbatti or just a soap. But as I sat in the nearly-empty train presently pulling out of Bangalore, the faces of two elderly men floated in front on my eyes every time I tried to visualise Mysore.
One is 90 years old, while the other would been exactly 100 if he were alive.