Saturday, 1 September 2012

Scenes from a train

Green fields and yellow school busses lined up a small rail crossings.  The words ‘Oxford Convent School’ on a bus summarising aspirational goals.

An old man in a faded red turban and rumpled clothes sits at the station looking at the shiny coaches of our train as if it had just come from space.

The brash confident voice of a Gujarathi man in the next section keeping a loud commentary for hours on everything under the sun.  In our coupe we have quiet men talking business on their phones.

A man in our section using passive aggression to verbally abuse the catering man.  The blue hum of the airconditioner going on in the background and a muffled hum of conversations filtering in from down the coupe.

A hot sun in a cloudless sky pouring down light on power-line crossed fields.

The rumpled jumble of plastic sheeted huts giving way to brick-on-brick housing – narrow gullies carved in a solid mass of decaying inhabited masonry.

Small stations flash by.  Platforms dotted with waiting passengers and the odd vendour.  People.

Blue sheeted warehouse buildings – flanked by sprawling lines of huts just over the wall of the factory.

The blessed green of monsoonal grass hiding most of the people in their morning defecation along the railway line.

The grey square opulence of Delhi flats and red-sandstone-institutional buildings announcing that we are approaching power.

The briefest glimpse of a small conclave of white-kurta-pyjama clad old men sitting and talking in a small area of green - after the train has passed through urban canyons of walls and shoddy houses and the odd small open space packed with parked cars.

I arrived in New Delhi this morning after having taken the overnight Rajdhani Express from Mumbai.  These notes were written about 7.30 - 8 AM as we began to approach the National Capital Region urban sprawl

No comments:

Post a Comment