Section - I
This lesson is in the format of an informal (friendly) letter written by a sixth standard girl called Merlin, to her friend Malli.
Malli had written a letter to Merlin, asking her to share her experiences from her school trip to Ooty. It is understood from the first part of the letter that Malli had written to her earlier. Merlin started by telling that she had a lovely time during her trip. Twenty of them from her class went to Ooty. The letter has been dated \(20th\) November \(2017\) and from Coimbatore. Ooty is a hill station that is close to Coimbatore. Merlin's class teacher Geetha madam and two other teachers went with them.
Merlin wrote that her grandmother had told her earlier that the toy train that connects Coimbatore and Ooty. She mentioned that it was a beautiful ride by train that moved up and down the slopes of the mountain, with beautiful trees on the way. Merlin had not seen Ooty, nor that train, even though she was living in Coimbatore, which was very close to Ooty. So she was looking forward to the Ooty trip eagerly. She was very excited when she first got into the train, along with her friends.
*Ooty toy train!
Merlin saw inside the train - it had wooden chairs with cushions, and the walls of the train were oil-painted, which looked very smooth. She put her bag on the net provided in the luggage rack. She was so cheerful and delighted. Just then her friend Fatima entered the compartment. Merlin asked her friend if she was enjoying the fun too.
Merlin reserved a seat for her friend near her, and she told her to put her bad near hers. She asked her what she had brought to eat, to which Fatima replied that she had parottas, a layered bread along with some tasty chutney. She was also excited about the train and exclaimed that it was beautiful.
Their teacher, Geetha Madam, just came by to see if everyone had sat down in their seats. She announced that the train was about to leave and that everyone should settle down soon. Just then, the train started with a quick, sharp pull. The train moved slowly out of the station with a low screeching sound. All the children clapped in excitement. The train moved like a snake, slowly because it was a steep hillside, making its way inside the thick forests, filled with tall trees swinging in the breeze.
Muthu, one of her classmates, commented that the train was going so slow that he could walk side by side with the train. He meant the train moved only at the speed of a walking person. He stood up and walked towards the train door. But their teacher caught him soon enough and told him firmly to go back to his seat. The girls laughed in a suppressed tone, in a teasing way. Muthu had a disappointed expression in his face.
Section - II
When they saw outside, the scene was beautiful. The purple-blue coloured mountains formed a beautiful scenery behind the green farms and the lush tea estates.
Purple-blue mountains formed a lovely backdrop to the green fields and tea estates!
Monkeys were running along the rail tracks. Some monkeys were in groups while some others had baby monkeys holding to the bigger monkeys.
Merlin pointed out a monkey to Fatima. She said with excitement that the monkey looked cute while hanging on its mother's stomach.
"Look, Fatima, doesn’t that monkey look cute holding on to its mother’s stomach?"
The monkeys walked on the track bravely. One girl was leaning out of the window to see how the train curved in its track. Just then, one of the monkeys tried to grab a banana that the girl held in her hand. She shouted in fear and moved behind the window. Muthu laughed in a teasing way, as it was now his chance to laugh.
Merlin looked at the clouds filled with mist. She was delighted and wondered about the beauty of clouds that covered mountains, and it seemed to move in and out of the forest. It was like a scene from a movie. Fatima got excited on seeing a small stream with bubbles and a waterfall.
Fatima pointed to a bubbling stream and a waterfall!
Fatima saw a pretty blue coloured bird with a beautiful crown; it could have been a peacock. Just then the train stopped with a sudden heavy sound. One of the boys asked what happened, while another passenger shouted why the train had stopped.
Nobody could stop Muthu, as he and his friends stepped out go the train to see what happened. Geetha madam could not stop the kids as they were too excited and begged for permission to step out. The whole compartment was out in some time. They all saw a beautiful sight.
**Slowly all the people in the compartment stepped out!
Section - III
A small, cute elephant was sitting on the train track. The mother elephant was near the baby, and it was shouting. The engine driver tried to get the baby elephant off the track by giving it a bunch of bananas. The mother elephant was so protective of its baby, and it did not allow anyone to near the baby elephant. Therefore, people around were making noises from where they stood, to send the elephant away from the tracks. The baby was frightened with all the noise, and the mother kept making noises.
This time again, Muthu the naughty boy, went near the baby elephant with a bunch of bananas. Just when it came near the bananas, he moved the bananas a bit backwards. He repeated the same trick until the baby was out of the tracks. The mother elephant also stopped its trumpet and watched the scene. Luckily for Muthu, the elephant did not harm him. The baby elephant started eating the bananas, and everyone clapped. The people kept many bunches of bananas near the elephants. All the passengers got back into the train, and it started again. There was a delay of half an hour, but it did not matter as they had spotted elephants! Geetha madam had informed that they could see elephants if they were lucky, as it is an unusual sight.
Fatima exclaimed that she wouldn't have even imagined to see wild elephants at such a close distance, to Geetha Madam.
Merlin continued her letter; she said they had a fantastic trip. She was able to differentiate between a normal train ride and a mountain train ride. Though mountain trains move slowly with dull sounds, one can notice the scenery of the beautiful mountains, forests, birds and animals. The same cannot be made possible in a normal train ride, as it rushes by and we miss all the scenery. She said she would never forget the huge windy tea-estates, mountains covered with misty clouds. The sounds of the streams flowing silently, the waterfalls and the bird sounds were all so delightful and musical. The highlight was the elephant and its baby! The entire class was excited by that trip and keep talking about it till date.
With that, Merlin signed off her letter to her dear friend, Malli.
*Image courtesy - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nilgiri_Mountain_Railway#/media/File:NMR_train_at_Ketti_05-02-26_75.jpeg.
**Image courtesy - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a9/Nilgiri_Mountain_Railways%2C_Hillgrove_Station%2C_India.jpg/1280px-Nilgiri_Mountain_Railways%2C_Hillgrove_Station%2C_India.jpg.