Ride the Train
The Intercity Express, any city to any city
Long, a mechanical centipede
The sections, unreserved, reserved, tier two,
Three tier, sleeper, AC too!!
The speed, fast, electric powered
The smell, pleasant (most of the time)
Fresh rain on the ground
The downpour, heavy, pounding
The dirt, filthy, but bearable
The heat, humid, sultry
The view, awesome
Multistorey cities, sprawling towns,
Upcoming cities, small towns,
Tiny villages, occasional sprouts of farm houses
Vast open spaces, the green trees,
The blue mountains, the dried-up rivers
The travellers, where are they going?
A sense of wonder
Restless children playing a game of rummy,
Politics, social affairs,
Newspapers circulating, some sleeping,
Laughter, a song,
Sadhus begging for alms, a mobile theatre.
The sounds "tak, tak... tak, tak," imagine this:
Vendors with pink shirts shouting "Chai... Iddly-vada" (Why pink?)
Some more brown shirts join in, "Samosa... Biscuit"
The announcements, multi-lingual
The inspector or TT
Black coat, not friendly
To be bribed for good berths
The breeze, the wind
Blows you away, almost
The passersby, awestruck, watching
Waiting to cross over the track
Hold on! All aboard!!
The green flag! We are going to the next city.
The red flag! (yeah, we've got signals these days!)
We have arrived, let's get going to where we came from.
Did I mention, ride the train in India
'Cause it's God-damn cheap?