Since my childhood ended, in my entire incarnation I have had only two or three happy moments. Of course, when I achieved God-realisation was one. And the day I rode with the engineer of the steam train in Australia was another. When I was young it was my greatest desire to be the driver of a train. God did not see fit to fulfil this innocent desire of mine, but now my Australian children have fulfilled it!
The engineer was so kind, so nice; he received so much. Every two minutes he was putting coal in the furnace, and talking, talking, talking, all about his experiences with this train and other trains. He has been in India, and he talked about the Darjeeling train, which is much more peculiar and dangerous than this one. This train is mainly for children and for tourists, and quite a few of the workers on it work for free. His real job is running a nursery, and driving the train is a labour of love. If everyone took a salary, they wouldn’t be able to keep the train running.
Every year there is a race - the train versus runners. The runners start and finish at the same place as the train. But they run on the road, while the train goes on its track. The route is very hilly and very scenic. One year Kishore joined the race, and he was one of those who beat the train. But the driver told me, “We get joy by losing to the runners. Otherwise, could anybody defeat us?” The train can safely go about 22 miles per hour. If it goes much faster, it will go off the rails.
At one point the engineer asked me to sit on his seat, but it was so narrow! My thigh was larger than the seat. The sound the train made gave me such joy. And the whistle was so loud! He would pull the handle just half an inch, and such a loud noise it made!
So my Australia has given me tremendous joy by fulfilling an innocent childhood desire of mine.
— 16 September 1984