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Maitree Express rolls into Bangladesh

April 14, 2008
It is a strange feeling as the nine-bogie Maitree Express, the train connecting Kolkata-Dhaka, was flagged off Chitpore station at 7.05 am on Monday -- the auspicious occasion of Poila Boisakh, the Bengali New Year.

An overwhelming sense of nostalgia fills my mind. This train is going to get me to Bangladesh, the other Bengal.

Political boundaries notwithstanding, Indians still feel a sense of oneness with the country, known for its food, heavily-accented Bengali, intellectuals, and above all, unbound hospitality.

During my earlier visits to Bangladesh, I have always been amazed by the warmth of the people of that country, no matter how harrassed you have been by Bangladeshi visa officials.

Text: Indrani Roy Mitra on board the Maitree Express

Image: The Maitree (Friendship) Express, the Kolkata-Dhaka train, just before it rolls out from Kolkata station on Monday.

Photograph: Deshkalyan Chowdhury/AFP/Getty Images

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