Sunday, December 13, 2009

My India

Early morning in the Pune Ernakulam express. A groggy-eyed me watches the world go by, bathed in the golden rays of the rising sun. Small hamlets rush by, their occupants just beginning their days. Small mud houses with thatched roofs and acres and acres of farmland all around. The sun continues its rapid ascent in the eastern skies, a blob of fire fast being tamed by the haze and fog of the morning. The wind rushes in through the open window, making me raise my jacket's zip upto my chin. It's the middle of winter. A train whooshes past, shrieking away to glory. The cold in the wind adds to the magic of looking out of the window, there's something quite inexplicable to it. A falcon starts the day's hunt in the distance.

The occupants of the train slowly start rising from their slumber, and start going about their morning duties in leisurely fashion. Such luxury would be rare for many of them in the normal course of their lives, and the sudden abundance of time seems to make many of them a bit confused. Or maybe it wouldn't be. I should stop looking at others through my rather clouded lenses.

A group of Sadhus are traveling in my compartment. They suddenly burst into prayer, performing their daily rites. The rest of the bogie looks on curiously.

A group of kids, just up, wave at us from another small hamlet we pass by. Cows and buffaloes roam around near houses, waiting to led to their daily pastures. A farmer pulls a lone reluctant bull towards some task which it is loathe to doing.

Small hills and large mountains escape by, as the train passes through a more or less barren landscape. Suddenly, as I've just got used to it, the forest closes in. How could I forget? The forests of Eastern Goa, the stunning evergreen forests in which a decade ago, I'd spent an incredible week. Down and down the train goes, leaving the deccan plateau towards the coast, skirting past the awe-inspiring Dudhsagar waterfalls, the rails a mere thread over the vast expanse of the valley.

As I sit at the window of my 6 Euro-for-24-hours, non AC seat, I look outside and think... this is India. My India. As I contemplate my future and wonder where I want to be, these are the moments which will drag me back, from all the wonders and magic of the outside world. Where a simple train journey will give me that unexplainable feeling of everything's-right-with-the-world, even when it isn't.

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