After reading the post, you will feel cheated if you are expecting me to write about Biharis and Bhaiyas in Maharastra, Assam or elsewhere living a happy life enduring the strike of patriotic Sena sticks on their bare backs or the blow of daus that separates their head from torso in the North East. It is also not about the happy life led by the people from the North East amidst the racial slur by the dark skinned countrymen in their own country. Neither will I write about the university girl who gets groped by her bosom on the busy streets and the crowded markets. No, not about the Indian pursuit of getting themselves officially included in the list of backwards despite the palatial mansions they live in and BMWs they drive. I won’t amuse you by writing a warning longer than the actual post.
It left me nothing but agog when one of my colleague asked me, “How do you find out your coach on a train?” The sincerity in his eyes and earnestness on his face confirmed that he was not kidding. Stilled, I asked him, if he really wants me to explain it to him. “Yes” came his prompt reply.
I tried to explain him where he should look for specific coach number as allotted to him and mentioned on his ticket. He is an honest guy who conveyed his confusion vide a frowned face. That left me pretty sure; he meant it when he said he is yet to board a train, yet to step out of the borders of Gujrat. When same thing was mentioned by another guy past summer in the Kutch, I believed him. But, you won’t believe an engineering graduate in his mid-twenties, who spent at least one of his semesters studying Railway Engineering as a subject telling you that he is yet to get a feel of a train ride, huh… get me something credible.
I opened the browser, typed in train coach and hit the image search. With a few images, I explained it to him the things he should know if he is to travel by train, which he is deliberately planning to do this year. I envied his living, so contented within the borders; maybe he never felt the pangs of wanderlust. When I explain my travels and experiences so far in this career, I know he must be envious, for a curious mind he is, but he must be wondering why the hell one need to traverse so much.
On a Venn diagram, I live in the intersection between multiple sets. A set composed by people from Bihar, which is notorious for its migratory behavior more disturbing than the Siberian Cranes hunting for warmer climates this winter. A set of fleeting professional for whom settling down at a place signifies decay and compromise to the plans of freedom and adventure, he always wanted in life. A skill set and job choice that ensures you will leave the place once it turns livable. In short, before my introduction to the flying cattle class and even after that, it is the train rides that threw a world of human nature, survival instinct and shaped my perception in bits. What follows will be account of some of the selected journeys made.
To avoid one very long post and in an attempt to lure you back here again, each of the stories will be posted individually and appended to this post too for a single post reading.
5500+ words so far in 2012 on Barunjha’s Blog
© Barun Jha || 2012