Photo by Parichay Sen on Unsplash
Window Seat of a Train in the Past
We travel on the train now. I have grabbed the window seat seeing many kinds of my country & characters. My father wants us to note down the names of the stations we cross. Platforms & new passengers. Each passage is a new cinema. So much of sounds & sights. & smells. So much to share: food, space, toilet & stories, of course. And, the locomotive echoing through the dark tunnels. The conductor in white & black demanding a bribe, the colorful hijras clapping & begging. Wailing babies & their awkward-smiling mothers. The reader who reads all through. The impatient children wait for the next vendor, the next station to buy their Aloo Puri & Jhaal Muri spiced with tamarind & chilli. We eat what others share. We cross the bridges on wet rivers & dry mountains & fields of paddy & coconut. My father is in his village like the one we go past, running barefoot, herding the cows. He is a child now. I’m also a child now, waving at strangers, waiting to meet my grandfather & grandmother, who are dead. The smoke of the diesel engine obscures the view. I hold on to my window seat. The shutters are drawn down.