December 11-12, 2011
Down bound Train
I’ve just woken up again on a train, listening to Bruce Springsteen sing, “Down bound Train”. My laptop is so dusty from years of living in India. Maybe it could be cleaned, maybe the dust is there for the life of the laptop, something to take with me wherever I am in the world. A little piece of India encrusted on my laptop, reminding me how this country is now so much a part of my internal life that I’m not sure how I will ever leave.
Yesterday morning at 6:30 I was supposed to be on the Puri Express to Bhubaneswar. Instead when I arrived at the New Delhi station around 5:30 AM I was told that the train would be delayed. I was driven to a government ticket office, in Connaught Place and was told that there were no other trains and that all flights were booked.
The metro took me home where I logged onto the Indian Railways website which told me that the train would be delayed for seven hours and 20 minutes. This would mean leaving around 2 PM. At 11 AM the same website indicated that the delay would be 14 hours and 20 minutes. This would mean that I would now leave around 9 PM. Was this still the same train?
Coaching basketball was now on my agenda, as I could leave directly from the YMCA at Patel Chowk and take the metro to New Delhi Station. I hadn’t been at the Y for some time due to Incredible India enabling me to continue to lead an extraordinary life. It was so wonderful to see the children and to find a few new guys that I could coach and bring my love of the game to their psyches. What I found though is that all of the children were so into the game and it was the usual inspiration that leaves me loving basketball even more.
I left the Y around 7:35 PM and made my way to the metro, walking and talking with one of the new children, Sam, who has been playing and has a good understanding for the game. I arrived at New Delhi station around 8 PM, looked at the “big board” but didn’t see the Puri Express. Fighting to get the enquiry window I was told that the train would leave at 8:50 PM from track 12.
8:50 PM came and went and finally around 9:10 the train pulled in. At 9:45 PM the train departed from New Delhi station, which leaves me with more than an entire day waiting to get to my final destination. I should have been in at 10:30 AM on Sunday, but now hope to get in by 2 AM on Monday.
Just spent my second night on the train and we hope to get in around 3 PM. Day one of the workshop is cancelled. We spent a lot of time sitting in one spot last night, I’m told because it was too dangerous to travel due to Naxelites. The train isn’t as gross as it could be, it seems to be getting cleaned regularly. There is and has to be a direct correlation between number of hours on the train and cleanliness. I, in my American way, need a shower badly, as well as some food. I tend not to eat on trains just because.
We are presently in W. Bengal and moving at a pretty good clip. We seem to be passing agricultural fields and it is beautiful with an early morning mist, just hovering. It’s pretty brown this time of year, but one can still see the remnants of harvested crops. Wait check all of that, we are stopped yet again! I finally arrived at 5 PM after spending 44 hours on the train!