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Nostalgia: Indian Railway Canteens and Meals!

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Today I just happened to read a news item regarding a Mumbai railway canteen which is serving only biscuits and samosas due to policy decisions. And, suddenly all the nostalgia came surging back to me!

Call it fate or coincidence, in the late eighties and early nineties I used to miss the connecting trains on my journeys from Mumbai to Guwahati almost always getting stranded at Howrah. But during my nights at the second class waiting room floors I used to have sound sleep, Because, I always had the sumptuous thali (rice plate) at the Howrah railway cafeteria. All the varieties were there--vegetarian, fish curry plate, egg curry plate or the chicken thali. The food was homely, innocent and always tasty. To make matters ecstatic, I was ravenously hungry on all the occasions!

Not only at Howrah, all of the railway canteens anywhere in India appealed to my gastronomic mind hugely. They looked so welcoming and appetizing. It was a comfort zone, almost a home where you can barge in with al…