Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Taking the journey..

Street smart salesman selling dreary government forms by selling dreams of social empowerment. A couple bidding adieu, trying to steal a quiet private moment in a crowded compartment with a dozen eyes staring them down while trying to judge their character and declaring them guilty of marrying.
Virile young men casting penetrating glances at ‘suitable game' which is nearly every women he surveys.
Leary middle aged men stealing glances at girls young enough to be their nieces.
Newly married young men, that hurry into the train, only to realize the trains are packed, have to stand. You can spot them by their complete disregard of the other PYT’s in the train and the tired yet happy glow in their faces and the fresh new gold ring in their finger.
And then there is the quintessential 'kappi' karan who breaks every passenger's reverie with the calls of his trade and the strong aroma that lingers like the sweet fragrance of the ‘dubai karan’.
The students who are catching up on last minute 'trainwork' but still wont miss the opportunity to check out all the senoritas in the compartment.
The middle aged guy at the wrong end of 40 munching on an undated vada that the vada/vazakyappam karan sold a few moments ago.
The clean shaven nerd who appears so engrossed in conversation with fellow nerd that it looks like he's discussing ways to solve international terrorism, but is instead trying to steal glances at the most beautiful girl.
And then there are the accompanying kids who are either busy annoying the crap out of their single traveling parents or are sleeping.
All this while traveling through the most pristine shades of green, brown and concrete. The gazillion coconut trees, the bazillion thatched houses, the hundred lakes and the millions backwaters. Passing through a hundred stations, all that look like its been built by the same architect, mason and brick. A hundred paddy fields with full grown paddy swaying in the breeze and sparkling with the morning dew and the rising sun.
And then all the activity is interrupted when the train starts slowing down a quarter of a kilometer away, when the men reluctantly tear their stares away from the objects of their desire, inch slowly towards the narrow exit. They stop by the exit and turn back just to check if their object would look back at them for just one last time. If she does, then he's back in the same train, same time come what may unless tomorrow is a holiday.
The brief 40 second stop ushers in new blood and thicker crowd of people. Passengers who think they deserve a seat and consider standing their punishment for being late. Workout? Never. How can standing ever be considered a workout? The very fact that many of them had to come out of their homes to earn a living is a punishment.
And then as the trains snakes and zips through towns and cities inching its way closer to the political capital of kerala, there is a distinct class of passengers who accumulate. They discuss how their leaders and non leaders are ruining their pristine economy. Most people in Kerala are acutely political and many are definitely communist in their ideology. Well, you didn't think God would actually shower all His blessings on a single State, did you? Maybe something good will come out of all this, but for now.. I am through with one of my favorite things to do while in Kerala; traveling through an intercity express.

Bon voyage..

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