Thursday, December 21, 2006

Kharagpur Trip

Station Parade
I'm walking down with my dad, my mom, a PA, a peon, a porter, the assistant stationmaster, 4 uniformed RPFs with machine guns, a plain-clothes senior RPF with a walkie-talkie, a driver, and a miscellaneous gent. Another contingent with more guards and a radio is shooing people out of our way ahead.
Apparently this happens every time my dad arrives in Kharagpur. Our little parade proceeds along India's longest platform, through a tunnel, out into the main entrance where there's The Classic White Ambassador With Red Official Light waiting in the foyer, surrounded by more armed guards and a pair of drivers.
And other assorted miscellaneous well-wishers.

Inhumanly Cramped Living Conditions
The Brits had absolutely ridiculous standards of living. They've given 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 dining rooms, a drawing room, 2 verandahs, a portico, a kitchesm 2 boxrooms, a TV room, and assorted other alcoves, including a separate room dedicated solely to the purpose of washing dishes.
In this cathedral, the Indian Railways now houses one DRM.

Classic winter holiday
Warm sun. Sitting in the verandah in a chair. Lolling. Reading. Snoozing. Dozing. Snacking. A dog comes along the driveway, into the lawn, lies down in a flowerbed, and rolls around enthusiastically. Gets up, leaves the way it came.
Dead silence.
Occasional sounds drifting in on the breeze from a school. A marriage. Trains in the distance. Birds.

Elderly grandparent threatens suicide in the face of my continued doggedly single existence.
Alfred Hitchcock Returns
Crows crying cacophonously. All five thousand of them.
Guano turns the entire driveway white.

Railway Identities
A Mahila Sammelan meeting happens, presided over by my mom. In the railway colonies, individual identites get subsumed, lost in the greater entities that they've chosen to become a part. of. Like names. There's Mrs. FA&CAO, Mrs. DRM, Mrs. ADRM, Mrs DAO, Mrs. ADAO...

Station master calls to tell us the train has arrived at the platform and will leave in 5 mins to Cal! We're still finishing breakfast. And this is why I love small towns - we still catch it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.



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