an indian train ride.
like the veins rich with blood, providing life for the organs of the body, such is the train system of india. rich with the colour blue; which seems to be the theme of both religion and house walls. a very rich, creamy and intense blue, soothing and stimulating at the same time.
the trains are blue, the insides of the train is blue.
inside the blue is the rich diversity and humanity of india, all mingling together in this tube-shaped reality. people of all kinds, travelling together often for long distances taking several days to reach their destinations, sharing the small space and breathing the same fan-rotated air.
then there is the life from the outside, the people coming inside the trains to make their living. probably the most interesting and colourful visitors are the HIJRAS, the "third gender"-- transexuals, dressing as women, very exuberant and theatrical, clapping and singing loudly as they whizz through the trains in search of donations (from men, mostly) in exchange for their blessings. if not given money, the hijra may throw a curse of infertility or bad luck upon you- or simply embarass you with obscene gestures.
the favourite presence is that of the chai seller moving quickly through the train with his big tank of beautifully spiced, sweet, milky tea served in mini-cups. and of course, all the chaat-sellers- snacks- samosas, omlets, pakoras...mmmm. the ladies selling peanuts, singing their songs of sales, as a mantra, with beautiful voices.
then there are the more disturbing sights. the young boys, who stay together in groups, as dirty as mineworkers, dressed in dirty tatters. they crawl through the trains on hands and knees, and clean the floor with an old rag. once cleaned, they stretch out their skinny arms, palm up, begging for some coins.
old men and women, frail and barely able to walk, slowly progress through the trains, chanting mantras, stretching out their palms. handicapped men, with deformed legs, older, blind women, young children, probably orphans, all ask for your help.
and outside of the blue train window, is the life along the tracks. colourful saris laid out on the ground to dry after the diligently performed handwash; small, thin men working on the tracks bit by bit, big, empty, dusty spaces of bushland, and a few human behinds' here and there, doin' what a human's gotta do.
the blue veins of india, the blue life of india, the blue colour of india, so much life flowing through its huge country, in and out of villages and cities, through vast lands of emptiness, with the people, for the people, by the people, supporting and holding it up; providing the oxygen to its organs.