On the night express


This is a train of regulars, of amorphous provincials. In a span of a night it will traverse the southern peninsula terminating at the geographical tip where Kanyakumari is located. The languages spoken, food carried in packed cases and the many shopping bags with names of places spread over an area almost the size of Europe is striking. The passengers settle on to their berths for the night making those last minute calls for early morning pickups and wake up calls by those who’ll reach in early hours .

To look at it, one is never alone in this country. There is curiosity, there is apprehension, there is concern and there is an idiosyncratic sense of being social that animates people of the Subcontinent. They’d want to discuss large and small, minor and major, personal and national and other sorts of matters besides the train’s schedule.

For some of us then, traversing this crowded and curious country as natives gets complicated. It is hard to be alone here, at least physically. Neither is being completely self-absorbed any easier. Trust the passengers on this mamoth rail network on which each train carries a dozen villages’ population at a time, with grains of truth about life and living. And then, over the journey see them examining your life to its finest strands.

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