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Chapter 7
From the Window

17 May Clock showing 7:30am.

It is morning now. Last night I went to sleep early. It was too dark to see anything outside. When the train stopped early this morning, I woke up. It was Madgaon. That was written on the board at the platform. Appa said that we were going through the state of Goa.

A field covered with crops.

We got off at the station and had some hot tea and filled our water bottles. The train started again. I find it difficult to describe the scene outside. It is so beautiful. It is green everywhere – fields with red soil and green crops, hills covered with trees.

Sometimes, I can see small ponds, and far away, behind the hills, more water. I can’t make out if it is a river or the sea. The air is cooler, and not so dry as in Ahmedabad.

A level crossing with people and vehicles on both sides.

The train passed a ‘level crossing’. People are waiting on both the sides of the crossing for the train to pass. There are buses full of people, cars, trucks, autorickshaws, cycles, motor cycles, scooters and even tongas and bullock-carts with people and goods in them. Some people do not switch off the engines of their vehicle even while waiting at the level crossing. There is a lot of smoke and noise. I see some people going under the bars of the level crossing. How dangerous this is!

At times our train crosses another train. Unni and I tried to count the carriages in one such train, but both the trains were going so fast. We always got confused.

  • What was the difference in the scene that Omana saw from the train on the first day and on the second day?

  • Omana saw many kinds of vehicles at the level-crossing. Which of them run on diesel or petrol?

  • Why was there so much smoke and noise from the vehicles at the level crossing?

  • What can we do to reduce noise of the vehicle and save petrol and diesel? Discuss.


Sometimes people cross the tracks even when the crossing is closed. What do you feel about this?

17 May Clock showing 8:30am

Later, I was sitting near the window with my eyes closed. Suddenly the sound of the moving train changed – khud, khud, khud… I opened my eyes. Guess what I saw? Our train was crossing a very big river, on a very long bridge! As it was crossing the bridge it sounded very different. The wheels rattled as there was no ground, only the tracks, and the water down below. When I first looked down, I felt giddy. It was really quite scary! The river down below was full of water and had some boats. I could also see some fishermen on the banks. I waved at them, but I did not know if they could see me.

A bridge for buses and cars. A bridge for railway crossing.

Alongside our bridge, there was another bridge for buses and cars. This was built differently from ours. I think going over our bridge was more adventurous!

  • Have you seen any bridges? Where?

  • Have you ever crossed a bridge? Where?

  • What was the bridge built over?

  • What did you see below the bridge?

  • Find out why bridges are made.

17 May Clock showing 11:30am

Train entering a tunnel.

The last few hours have been so exciting. After breakfast, I climbed on to the upper berth to read my comics. It was bright and sunny outside. Suddenly, everything became dark. It also felt a little cold inside. I was afraid. Then the lights in the train came on. But outside, it was very dark. Somebody said, “We have entered a tunnel. This goes right through the mountain.” The tunnel seemed to go on and on. And then, just as suddenly, we were in daylight again. Outside it was sunny, bright and green. The train had crossed the tunnel. Appa explained that we were on the other side of the mountain. Since then, we have passed through four smaller tunnels. Now I am enjoying going through the tunnels.

  • Have you ever been through a tunnel? How did you feel?

  • The route from Goa to Kerala has a total of 2000 bridges and 92 tunnels! Why do you think there are so many bridges and tunnels?

  • Imagine and draw in your notebook what Omana saw under the bridge when her train crossed it?

  • Imagine, if on the way there had been no tunnels and bridges, how would Omana’s train have crossed the moutains and rivers?

17 May Clock showing 12:15pm

Now it is afternoon. For lunch we had idli-vada that we bought from Udipi station. We also bought some bananas. These were very small and very tasty. The scene outside has changed again. Now we can see many coconut trees, and green fields everywhere. Amma says that these are paddy fields. The houses and villages look very different. People’s clothes are also different from what we see in Ahmedabad. Most people are wearing white or cream-coloured dhotis and sarees. Many people who were with us from Ahmedabad have got off. People have also got on to the train from different stations.

Sunil’s family is getting off at Kozhikode, which comes at around 6 O’clock. We have exchanged addresses and plan to meet in Ahmedabad. You will also like Sunil and Ann.

  • Which languages do you speak at home?

  • On the way from Gujarat to Kerala Omana’s train went through several states of our country. Find out and list which states it crossed.

  • Did you ever have coconut water? How did you find it? Discuss.

  • Draw a coconut tree and discuss in the class about it.

  • Find out in which states these languages are spoken?

Language Where it is spoken (State)
17 May Clock showing 9:30pm

Now it is night. We have also started packing up. The train will reach Kottayam in about three hours. That is where we have to get off.

Tonight we will go to Valiyamma’s house. Tomorrow, we will take the bus that will take us to Ammumma’s village. We all are quite tired. After all, we have been on the train for two days. What a long journey it has been! We had a lot of fun. I will put my diary away now. I will write again after we reach Ammumma’s house.

  • What do you call them?

    • Your mother’s sister

    • Your mother’s mother

    • Your father’s sister

    • Your father’s mother

For the teacher: Help the children to find out about the different states, languages, clothes, food and landforms. Mother’s elder sister is called Valiyamma and mother’s mother is Ammumma in Malayalam.