Saturday, August 14, 2010

a Tribute to Chennai Express, Mumbai to Chennai India Jun 2006

Air conditioned two-tier bed from Mumbai to Chennai
running 1,250 km for 23 and half hours .

This concise but precise description on the express
is too simple for me though to sincerely convey my first & rich taste of India
I much enjoyed throughout the journey in the train..

Almost a full day of traveling by train diagonally across the continent of India
from west coast to east coast was a fairly good gateway to the great landscape
in different terrains and weather belts in the giant country.

During the journey, several people had come and gone for the seats in front of mine.
The shy girl was the first traveler accompanied for couple of hours..
She looked very much an Indian girl with shyness and some level of elegance in gesture..

What a beautiful long blue tail of Chennai Express.. though the stories of life of all the passengers will lot lot longer than that..
The single word 'Express Train' itself is enough for anybody to get excited .. then it doesn't need to mention how much I could get excited by trying the train in the country where I visit for the first time. :-))

She was sitting on the rail under the sunshine in the afternoon.

I used to sitting on the rail in my childhood as well.
I liked the shiny silky warm steel rail though it's not wide enough for comfortable sitting.

My express train was just passing by her with big noise & vibration of diesel engine
but she was just sitting in there not disturbed without any movement.
Pressure of her life might be far heavier than the regular noise or she might be too much absorbed by reading a letter from one of her children working in big city far from home village.

Now I see her round back with bright scarf with sunshine and the scene makes me feel so warm and happy. Hopefully she is quite OK.. :-)
In about two and half hours of departure
the train started ascending to cross the giant mountain ranges..

Wallahs selling chai, local fruits, fried snacks..
were getting busy all of a sudden as the train approached to the platform to stop..

It's always good to see, smell, and taste the local fruits selling in the small station..

I like to stay at the railway station.
People come and go with their companions, heavy luggage
and with something emotional to carry down to their final destination.

Seeing people waiting at the platform makes me getting little bit of nervous,
because I see the faces of people with their woes.. more or less.. in life.

The faces seem to tell me their stories of life..
which have not been easy at all.

It's quite different feeling that I feel at the airline terminal
where I see people with some level of status, even arrogance sometimes
and seemingly no agony at all.

Specifically they are not allowed to carry any big bag
other than brief case or just tiny ones.
And the looks of the people waiting at the air terminal
do not really look like to speak..

A glimpse of old remains of Arabic mosque reminded me of the fact that
how rich & long history India has..
Yes, Ancient Ganges culture was one the four cultural origins of human kind.. :-)

feeling of anything approaching to me..
feeling of something away from me..

An the feeling of something sharing or exchanging..
in the meantime.

Life is a collection of debris from those of comes & goes..
with psychological scars
left as just chunks of memories..
.. bulky set of weighted connections among the activated neurons..

sometimes jewels mostly garbage..
though we learn a lot from the garbage..

Now I have no chance in sitting at the entrance steps
with the door wide open in the train in Korea, Canada
or other developed countries.
But I have a good memory of doing exactly same thing
the men at the picture were doing when I was in school in early 1980..
We talked about our girl friends, mostly political situations,
and what our life would like to be over the beers,
and sang lots of songs hoping for better future
and condemning political reality.. on the train running fast..
with the door wide open
with all the swirling wind rushing onto our faces.

We were so happy together on the rail..
listening and feeling the constant rhythm of the running steel horse.

After the couple of blinks of eyes..
the train running the opposite direction had gone away far..

How many people we've been passing by
without saying hello,
without shaking hand with,
without giving even a glance..
though if we did
they might have been my husband, wife or life-long friend...

What an unbearable lightness of life..

Isn't it pretty?
The colors of the engine quite well matched with the flowers fully blossomed in the tree nearby..

The people at the crossroad watched me who was eagerly taking photos of themselves..

I thought that how many people took a chance to try this express train,
how many people could have a chance
to get out their home town to see more, to experiece more..
to get to know there is much bigger world than their village..

I wasn't sure though.. which life is happier..

I've been travelling a lot and sometimes I thought that I am living on just a small planet of Earth. However when I think in the other way around.. the dimension of physical space might not really matter for life..

No matter how big scale our life might span, the depth & richness of our life do not quite propotional the the spatial coverage..

So I changed my mind to envy them who has been living in the same place for a long time.. generation after generation with the all the same trees, flowers and grasses getting older togther with them.. with all the same color of moon wax and wane with same trajectory..
Just like the very first couple on earth
they were striding steadily on the dark brown soil..
seemingly barren though.. quite distant than the image of Eden..

the holy cow.. :p .. was in the process of getting energy transfer from earth after very hard work of ploughing..
Chennai Express kept on running & running
amid the vast flat land of the mid-continent..

Isn't life like the clouds high above..?
Running like a bullet train, things in reality go faster than the Shakespeare's arrow..

Hey Mr. Cloud, how can you be so detached from everything?

I just watched the clouds.. totally out of my mind..
and kept enjoying the constant rhythm of the train in comfort..

I see the only tree over there..
a small but beautiful palm tree.. upright still with the long hairs..

Years ago a bird might drop a seed while she flew..
to initiate the life of the plant on the very spot.

What a miracle of life I see..
What a seemingly inadvertent but extremely well self-maintaining ecosytem furbished by the touches of the Creator..



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