Recently, over the long weekend, I decided to take a little detox getaway from the toxicity of Delhi and into the arms of another less-polluted city. And instead of booking my plane tickets or hopping on a late-night Volvo, I decided to do it the old-school way. I booked my tickets for Shatabdi Express

Source: Indian Express

Now I have to be honest, as I was stepping into Shatabdi, I was as excited about their quintessential meals almost as much as I was about my solo trip (judge me all you want but I actually like train ka khana). Especially their signature railway style Tomato soup with Amul Butter and a side of breadsticks. 

I'm not even the biggest fan of tomato soups in general, like I wouldn't order it if I had the choice. But there is something about the Shatabdi wala tomato soup that instantly gets my mouth watering.  

Source: Farbound

I was deep into binge-watching the finale of Hunters when I lost track of time. As I looked up, I saw the servers doing their rounds to serve soup in the mini trays, I knew it was somewhere between 7:30/8 in the evening. And the little girl inside me started jumping with excitement.

Source: Quint

Believe it or not,  when I took the first sip from those plastic cups, it tasted like all of the train journeys I've had from my childhood. I mean I'm in my early 20s and the flavours of that tomato soup are still intact. It literally tastes the same. 

Source: Picuki

Im not even exaggerating when I say this, it felt like someone had put me in a time-capsule and we had gone back 10-years to taste the boiling tango of this sweet and sour Tomato soup. 

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Obviously just like old times, I was so impatient to taste this tango of sweet and sour that I ended up burning my tongue and the roof of my mouth. But I still have no regrets, because the tinge of black pepper, tickling my throat, tingled my childhood nostalgia. And it was totally worth it.

Source: YouTube

Do you remember they'd serve a coin-sized brick of Amul/ Nova butter on the side and those imperfectly curved crunchy breadsticks are still crispy enough to test the strength of your teeth? 

Source: Ribbon To Pasta

The only way to eat those crummy bread-sticks without chipping one of your teeth was to poke your breadstick in the coin-sized Amul butter, dunk it in the steaming hot soup and stir your bred-stick until the dollop of butter had melted into the soup.

I mean for someone traveling in a moving train, that soup-stick was quite a handy, multi-purpose tool. 

Source: Indian Rail Info

And remember how you'd try to control your sneeze while sprinkling the pouch-sized pepper over your soup? Because if you accidentally sneezed, the stakes of spilling your precious tomato soup all over the place would go up. 

Source: High On The Way

And for some reason, even in summers, the feel and comfort behind sipping on to this hot elixir in a moving train is the same. It is probably one of the few all-season-favorite drinks that desis all across the country cherish.  

I mean I don't know if it's sipping something warm while sitting on the window seat and enjoying the view that gives you a fuzzy feeling or it's the imperfectly balanced flavors of this soup that leaves you with a feeling of nostalgia. 

Source: Gramho

I don't know about y'all but I'm definitely craving some Indian Railway style tomato shoup now.