Sunday, March 05, 2006

On the Road Again..

February 22, 2006
Train to Varanasi

Although the beautiful colors have faded away into the darkness of night, our tran is still steadily making its way across the Indian countryside. The beggars, who earlier today were eager to stick their hands through the metal bars of the train windows are now sleeping atop old sacks of vegetables. The incessant screaming of CHI CHI and the other random merchants has also died down and it appears as if this crowd has buckled in for the evening. The humming of the old fan that finally decided to start working (now that it is dark and cold out) offers nice contrast to the methodical rolling of the uneven wheels.
We stop at a train station along the way...the name I don't know because there in no announcer to guide lost travellers. "Special chi-chi!" a boy screams as he walks by me. Apparently the quiet wasn't that valuable. I grin. "Special"-- I wonder what that means. We stop for longer then usual and I wonder what is going on in front of us. Maybe a cow is blocking our way. I wouldn't really be suprised because they walk around these villages with a sense of dignity that can't be matched by the wealthiest landowner. Maybe it is a pickpocket. That was the case at the last stop. Whatever it is, I'm sure we will be moving again shortly and we will drift away from the ragged old man who stirs his chi. I wonder what he is thinking right now. I wish that I spoke Hindi so that I could listen to the men in the next bay over who keep glancing back in our direction. What are they saying? Are they wondering what six your white kids are doing on a train in the middle of rural India? Are they laughing at how silly we look? Or how easy it would be to steal from us? Probably yes to all of the above. I guess there is some beauty in never knowing.
Men in sari's just walked by. I didn't know India had drag queens. "10 Rupees and you can have me!" they offer Matt. I wonder what that means =)
The train has started again. New men have entered who seem completely consumed by our presence here. I guess I should be used to this by now. I'm sure that we are just as wide eyed about them as they are about us. I've seen so many things today that I never imagined could exist. The stretching countryside divided into rice patty fields filled with wandering grazing cows and beautiful women clad in ornate saris. I've seen wart hogs humping and naked children splashing around in muddy water that I wouldn't dare to touch. I've seen villages of thatched roofs and towns of wild plants and exotic weeds. It is only early evening but I feel like I've finally seen the India that people told me about. Now I'm just sitting in the dark aimlessly waiting our arrival.


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