There is something demeaning about humidity anywhere but particularly so in Mumbai in October. It mocks you. It is intrusive and rude. It is a fine, transparent layer of utter discomfort that drapes over you. That was yesterday. Today, I leave for Ahmedabad.
Before a porter guides me to the right coach I spot about a dozen policemen armed with automatic and semi-automatic weapons and escorting a lone suspect. The suspect seems to be of some consequence because he has been surrounded by so many as one of the policemen firmly interlocks his hand with the suspect’s. What under more edifying circumstances could have been a romantic gesture feels sinister.
Having ensconced myself in Seat # 1 in Coach # C12 of the Shatabdi Express from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, I write this blog. The laptop, whose battery now barely lasts five minutes on its own, has been plugged into one of the train’s many outlets. The Vodafone wireless card is serving me well to surf the net on board the train. This post will be, well, posted straight from the train.
I am old enough to remember how trains were designed to be studiedly uncomfortable. The seats had no cushions, fans no grills (some even had no blades) and the windows let the embers of coal and soot in and crash against one’s face.By the time people reach their destinations no matter what their real professions they were all coalminers. From that to be able to use my laptop and update my Facebook status in real time even as an attendant offers me a choice of morning newspapers is quite a transformation. One does not travel by trains at all. So one has become unaccustomed to the languid pace at which life unfolds on trains.
Every train journey reminds me of Albert Einstein’s thought experiments, particularly one where on board a train where you can’t tell whether the world is moving or you. So let’s just say that everything is moving. The journey to Ahmedabad would be about seven hours or so I am told. The distance of roughly 310 miles (about 500 kilometers) would be covered at an expeditiously comfortable speed of about 80 kilometers (50 miles) an hour.
I need to wrap this post up as the train is wobbling from left to right, right to left and in between.
P.S.: I am not responsible for any spelling errors, grammatical awkwardness or just bad writing. Today blame it on the train. On other days, it is just me.