Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

‘Window Seat of a Train in the Past’: a poem by Debasis Tripathy

    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.