The New Delhi station, at 4 in the afternoon, as expected was chaotic. Full of sights, sounds, smells, and touch to engage every sense. But my eyes failed to detect any indication that said that the Poorva Express is on this platform. I asked a reasonably dressed gentleman on the teeming stairs. I don’t know how he knew, but he got it right. Point to note: never be fool enough to go against the flow of the teeming masses on the stairs of a major train station, and if you do, follow in the shadow of the only other fool.
So here I am sitting somewhat comfortably with all body parts intact. We are moving in a south-easterly direction towards Gaya. This train terminates in Calcutta. It is not quite the Orient Express but it’s civilized enough. The 2nd class Air-Con coach is apparently the preferred mode of travel for many middle-class Indians and business people. I like taking long journeys by train. It’s a respite, a state of animated suspension. I’ve got a lower side berth with a reading light and picture window. Unfortunately the bulb is missing, but the window, although quite streaky offers a rural green India under a soft golden sunset. And just for punctuation, a few smoke stacks and some random garbage that had been chucked out of moving trains.
The flask of hot chai, fragrant and sweet is very good – 5 rupees. The train attendant just brought the bedding. Someone else will bring a thali dinner. I again am able to wax lyrical about the romance and adventure of India. “Happy Holi” people are wishing each other. So far, so good.