Solo Date #6- National Rail Museum


National Rail Museum













The heat is slowly getting to my head, reducing my capacity to be around other people. I long for a few hours alone, so I head to the National Rail Museum, assuming its going to be deserted. But that’s not the case. Even in the sweltering heat, there are numerous enthusiastic children, accompanied by their parents. The toy train is going to return in five minutes so I make my way to the indoor exhibit.

The photographs of an era gone by, to static models of trains, signaling equipments, to the beautiful antique furniture, make the exhibit interesting for someone who is not a ferroequinologist. “Stand here, we need a picture for your homework,” yells excitedly, a father at his six-year-old. One of the most well-kept museums in the city, the majority of the visitors here are below the age of twelve.

I head towards the toy train, pay Rs 20 for the ride and wait. Six minutes later the train arrives. I hop on board and wait. The compartments fill up as the Aunty behind me, tells her companion how unfair it is that as a married teacher, she isn’t allowed to take her child on a school trip. The train starts at last and we ride through the acres of land- the outdoor exhibit of locomotives and through the tunnel. Six minutes later, we get dropped off at the station. I quickly buy a souvenior- a key chain and a fridge magnet and go back to work.


Address- Shanti Path, Chanakya Puri, New Delhi-21. 

Nearest Metro Station- Race Course.

Entry-9.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m

Closed on Monday.



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Gulnaaz Khan, Acid Attack Survivor

Gulnaaz how old are you? Can you tell me about the incident?

I’m nineteen years old. I was returning from college one day and a boy threw acid on my face.


Why would someone randomly do that? Did you know the guy? 

Yes, I knew the boy. He had sent a marriage proposal to me which I turned down and even my parents refused to this union. He was furious and that’s why he threw acid on my face. He said,” Meri nahin to kissi ki nahin.”


Acid Attack Fighter Gulnaaz Khan

Acid Attack Fighter Gulnaaz Khan

When did this happen and did you file a case against the offender? 

It happened on the 29th of November 2014. The judgement is still pending.


Who supported you through these trying times?

My parents stood by me. Both my Mother and Father do a lot for me. Other than my family, an outsider who has been supporting me, for the past five months is- Megha Ma’am, Megha Mishra. She has been helping me with my treatment and my medication. She’s associated with ACFI. Even Shaheen Ma’am from Make Love Not Scars has been supporting me.


When something life altering happens, we lose many things but we find the strength to survive it. Did you find yourself becoming a stronger human being?

Yes! When the incident took place I went crazy, completely mad. I couldn’t believe that such a thing could happen to me. But when I saw what it was doing to my Mother, I pulled myself up. I told her and myself, that everything will be fine! I had to be strong for her. I’m the eldest and and I have two sisters and a brother who are younger than me. I had to be strong for them and because of my family I became a stronger person.




One down and I’m the last to go!

So the last kid in the Kochar clan is all set to tie the knot. Though, in the past, a wedding in my Father’s side of the family hasn’t had any relevance, it seems one is going to break the record, my brother and I set and actually attend this one. After all, I adore the mother of the groom.

The Roka-Mother decides to stay home, she’s unusually cranky these days. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s that time of the year – from March till July, when she needs special attention. No amount of coaxing helps. Wild horses won’t be able to drag her to the function. I eventually give up and head to my dungeon to get dressed. I get all dolled up and leave with the Father.

There’s something terribly nostalgic about this particular drive to the West side of Delhi. I hate airplanes, crowds, family functions and hypocrites and I end up missing the boy who would have made this drive what he called our, ‘brother-sister moment’. Under my breath, I thank the asshole and fade into the conversation the Father is trying to have. ‘Kyaa fayda he beta shaadi karne ka. Chinese maal he…na guarantee, na warranty! Tum mat karna!’, he says sipping his whisky. ‘Bolte raho, mein to zaroor karoonge!’

If you didn’t know my Father you would be convinced he’s trying to use reverse psychology…if you didn’t know me, you would be convinced I actually want to get married (At the moment, I can’t even make myself date anyone). But this is something we do, he and I- perpetually bicker. We are as different as chalk and cheese-he the eternal optimist and I, well, he calls me the ‘doomster’, always preparing for the worst. ‘Choud de ge, ek saal me!’. Oh ya! I forgot to mention the only thing we have in common – our tongues. ‘You sound like me,’ almost slips out but I’ve got my cue to shut up.  Anyhow, after being warned about the disadvantages of marriage, we finally reach our destination-Piccadilly in Janak Puri.

Mine is a stereotypical Delhi based Sardar family – Pakistani migrants, ambitious, god fearing, whisky drinking, hard working, money loving lot. The women are well educated housewives, who won’t be caught dead without their solitaires. The Bua, is sweet, introverted and non controversial.

But The Chachi is in a different league. Total spitfire, spiritually inclined, not bothered about projections. They say free thinking women, raise free thinking adults. She’s raised her boys as free thinking men, who respect women and are unafraid to leave their father’s business and make it on their own in Canada.

It’s a typical Punjabi function where the To-be-bride and Groom, have to go through the ordeal of meeting all the relatives. The exchanging of gifts and the sitting on stage and eating, make it even more akward.  ‘How much would I have to love a man to do this? Alot,’ I think to myself. But this is a very well behaved couple- they go through it without any complaints. They look like little kids who are pretending to be all grown up. There is an upside- the dancing! The cutest part is when the 75+ year old grandmother, gets up to dance.

In between dancing and dinner, I’m obviously asked when I will tie the knot. “When I’ll be 50, I’ll marry a hot 20 year old! Most of you will probably not be around to attend the wedding.” That’s their cue to probe no further. The advantage of being the black sheep of the family, one gets away with murder!