Wednesday, February 23

Kashi V Express

I am sitting bare footed and cross legged on a bench on an eastward bound Indian train.

We chug along steadily with frequent stops. Boys walk the length of the train back and forth chanting the name of their product. "Chai, chai. Chai, chai." A businessman, sitting across from me with his bare foot resting on my seat, hales a boy and wordlessly acquires a cup of steaming tea from the large tin kettle the boy carries.

We're in a cabin sitting on two facing benches. An elderly and hauntingly handsome woman sits near the window reading through large delicate glasses. She's on her way to an international environmental conference. Across from her, a young woman is gazing out of the window enjoying her own radiance. I can't help but to praise her ornate bangles. She tells me they are from her wedding. We spend some time talking about weddings here and back home. She envies our white gowns and I envy her lavish ceremony of many colours and elaborate jewelry. She is traveling alone to Varanasi to live with her new husband. She shared with us delicious orange food that was blessed.

Early to bed is our middle aged French seatmate. His English is broken and I sense he is more comfortable speaking Hindi. Before sleeping (and snoring) he shared his favorite Indian destinations and struggled through reading part of Sidhartha. He has travelled India more often and has returned to see his lover. Now it is my turn to sleep.

No comments:

Post a Comment