The Great Indian Train Journey

'...We always travelled second-class and, not possessing the stomach to fight our way into a general compartment, made reservations in 3-tier coaches. The berths were narrow and hard—another source of discomfort that Laloo will remove by providing cushions—and you had to be young and vigorous to pull yourself up to the upper berth. You would do that, of course, only if you could claim your berth against three challengers, who pronounced themselves equally deserving of the privilege...

After years of 'adjusting', you get accustomed to the insecurity, delays and accidents, but the most degrading aspect of train travel is the toilet-hole which, as befits a democracy, requires the rich and the poor to defecate equitably on the tracks, depositing, according to one estimate, 50,000 tonnes of faeces in one year. Many strategies exist against this assault on human sensibility—hold it in, eat or drink very little, pretend there is no need to go at all—but you must eventually face the horror of utter filth, balance yourself on slippery surfaces and wish away the senses of sight and smell—after 'adjusting' with the man travelling inside the toilet, of course.Ensconced on the toilet-hole, you look down at the blur of the tracks and wonder if it is possible to get sucked in...'

- Sujit Saraf, 'The Upper Berth'.

Comments

Mitali said…
50,000 tonnes of faeces in one year? can't even imagine it's potential for producing energy. We crib about lack of it, and still fail to utilize what we have...is it because of our cultural fibre? I wonder often...
Prof.Ray Titus said…
Can't stomach the idea, perhaps ? :)

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