-A window ajar is a prelude in building to the joy of being limitless! That uneasiness of being familiar somehow, sometime, somewhere.......

Sunday, June 19, 2005


A train of antiquated coaches form the northbound express. You are nestled about the western footboard. Between a man who in unable to stop talking and a mother with an inconsolable child.

Lean a bit further in and you can breathe an air of hundred smells. Of grime and food. Sweat and odour. Some of it yours.
There is passion to this heat that makes you muse for a brief instant to take off your wet T-shirt. No! Veto. The man beside would not spare any residue of the words from underneath his restless tongue.

Instead push yourself a bit further out.

A breeze sweeps across every time the speed gathers. And dissolves your sweatlings. A pleasant respite.

In the travelling horizon the sun hangs bright. And dying. A warm crimson severs the vision every time the sun is unmasked from behind the huge trees.

Stop crying
Stop crying

If you don’t stop crying, you wont have chocolate.
Crying becomes louder.
Stop crying NOW.
Spank spank
Crying at the loudest human pitch possible.

If you push the crying to the background you can hear a shake of an middle aged opinionated talk, vendor shouts and a cheap walkman. But the most beautiful of all the sounds is the ghostly cavernous echo of the train passing on a bridge, a heavy rumble from beneath.
Of aging metal against dying might. The waves of the empty sea.

Some gaze back, some don’t. Some are still at work,while some return from work. On old mopeds and dirty bicycles. Some barefoot in herds. Washing their dirt at bore wells.

Kids usually look back. In amaze. In excite. In bewilder. Sometimes in all.

The fields are the cathedrals of green and yellow. Paddy and sugarcane predominantly. The curved road that forms the highway of zipping vehicles flanks them. Sometimes it disappears and you just hear the vehicles. Sometimes the road comes so flirtingly close to the rail track that you could pass a lighter if someone asked.

Constant clanks of the wheels against the rail. Strange sense of rhythm.
The fading light invites the chirping birds. The distant hills grow faint, as the clouds saunter together. An invisible coldness descends. There is adolescence to this tranquil.

How many worlds make a world? Infinite? But there is no world. Only an idea. Of the world. That idea is you. That idea becomes you.

Dust unsettles as the air graduates speed.
That smell of the rain before you can hear it.
The first cloudburst hits the heated ground with merciless fury.

The man behind shrieks his heart out..... 'Shut the damn door'.

(Onboard tanjore express, South India. Summer'05)


. : A : . said...

Beautiful imagery. I can feel the train, the wind on my face, the worlds pass me by. Brings back memories.

"How many worlds make a world? Infinite? But there is no world. Only an idea. Of the world. That idea is you. That idea becomes you."

Love these lines. Great to have you back on!

Sashi said...


I was thinking of you and your cities (Dublin of Joyce, London, Bombay etc) as I was reading this review ( http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/books/review/19PERLL.html ) last night.

Also this post made me remember a school-yard nemisis (against whom I had to do battle for a few years to satisfy my parents craving that I be "Class First") who could recite the names of each railway station on South Central & Southern Railway. Besides it seems to me that this identiy of being "Indian" is to be able to instantly recall the smell of those 'bogies' (boogeys?) of yore.

Do post further notes on your Indian yatra.

PS: I am also happy to see that you are tightening the language of the posts here. They now read much better!

luz de la luna said...

That's beautiful prose. I almost had my breath held while reading.

I'm always amazed how few people look out of the window as the world passing with all it's colours and everyday worn wonders.

- Luna

Pecos Blue said...

Wish I could be there too. Nothing as thrilling as looking into windows of other people's lives.

Ubermensch said...

Thanks a,
glad to be back.

thanks again luna and pecos, yeah windows does fascinate by stories told and untold.
thanks for the feedback and the link.Indian identity is defintely as complex as the smell mentioned.
oh yeah the envious recitors of yore. sigh!

AdhocQuirks said...

you make me crave for all those things i'd forgotten, left behind...

Aishwarya said...


Anonymous said...

Strangely, what you leave behind with but the bat of an eyelid is someone's home, someone's life.
Seems strange like you are almost walkingover someone's life, no?

El enigma said...

gosh, this is dejavu indeed...I had written something like this before I left for India...in remembrance of those train journeys I took back home every couple of months....never finished the piece...and left for home....

u've told the story with so much ease....and said all that and much more beautifully....maybe I needed to travel by train to fetch my words :) never got around to do that this time around though!


Ubermensch said...

You will find them if you look, just like you have found them here. :)
Thank u

Thanks :)

Well someone else might be walking over our lives too at that time ?
We are important only to us.
Btw I kinda remember this lovely voice? Im sure youll have a lovely name too ?:)

Enig thanks again,
find it and post it:) let her have her say.

Sudarshan said...


Ubermensch said...


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