Jai Ho India
India is great. Long Live India. We always say these words, mostly without meaning them from the heart, and on some occasions you realize the vastness and diversity of the nation that you live in. This journey for my interview at National Brain Research Center (in Haryana) introduced me to a new side of my India.
The train eluded me for about 4 hours before it let me board her. Thus began my train ride (which lasted 40 hours). I was a long distance local train it seemed. I have never experienced such a painful and tiresome journey! It was a test of our patience. Criss-crossing almost every district of Bihar and U.P. it dropped me at Faridabad just after midnight ( 7 hours behind schedule). The Indian railways is great! It caters to such a huge population and covers such a vast landscape but still manages to reach the destination just 7 hours behind schedule!
This journey re-introduced me to the abject poverty that a majority of our fellow countrymen live with, yet seem happy about it! Or else why would the face of that girl (with just enough clothes to cover her body) light up on being able to sell a bottle of water for 5 rupees (which one would have to buy in lieu of 20 in any shop). The shanties that these people call houses, the simplicity of their lifestyle, and the seeming satisfaction with their earthly belongings was in stark contrast to the constant craving of the urban population for more! If you have the CD player u want the iPod, if you have the mobile you want iPhone, and if you have the laptop you yearn for the i Pad!
I might sound philosophical. I might sound weird. One 40 hour train journey revealed so much? And why need a train ride, isn’t this very evident even in our daily metro lives? We want to live in constant self denial.
Why, i cannot let go off the face of that woman which haunts me even today. Last year during Durga Pujo on Ashtami, i was waiting for a friend outside Esplanade Metro Station. All decked up to have a great day! And just beside me a woman begging for food. To arrange for one meal for her little kid. Behind all the glamor, celebrations and and decorations the story of that woman remains incomplete.