Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Crowded head

I think I'm overwhelmed right now, seeing the way most of the country lives. I'm watching children being brought up on nothing but boiled rice and salt. And despite their poverty, they have their pride. They would never migrate to the cities, giving up their land and self-respect to take on contractual work or beg on city streets.
I think I might be too sappy for social work.
Sometimes I long for the comfort of an anonymous crowd.

My last visit to Kolkata was a welcome break...getting a ticket during the weekend is nothing less than WAR. But Howrah station when I reached was nothing less than wonderful. Wonderfully chaotic.
The rush of people...everyone with somewhere else to be.
Going home, leaving home, finding home.
This is where the pulse of a city is to be found. In its teeming masses. Loads of fish being carted towards you as you move aside, tapdancing around sleeping families. Move behind the supine to make way for piscicultured dinners in another part of the country.

Being squashed for over seven hours, sitting by the door on the train was suddenly completely worth it. I even stopped at the side of the expressway of people, giving myself a moment to deal with the shock of seeing so many moving bodies squeezed onto a strip of railway platform.

Then an errant hand on my backside made me realise that getting sentimental on a railway platform at Howrah junction is less than appropriate.
Ah, city life.