Rajdhani Express -- Delhi to Calcutta
Nothing has changed from my last visit to the New Delhi Railway Station, if you discount the price increases (the porters wanted Rs 500 to cart a few suitcases.) A shabbier Rajdhani Express, still capable of drawing a hubbub of excitement as she drew into the station, left on time; we were left to relate the topography of the Delhi we know by road to the unfamiliar rail track scenes -- is that the bridge near Pragati Maidan that we pass under as trains go overhead?
Even ten years ago, the trackside villages of the doab would have painted on them ads proclaiming the miracles of Yunani medicine -- to say nothing of the specific skills of a Doctor Arora, painted onto every surface from Allahabad to Nizamuddin. Now they are all replaced by GM seeds and pesticide ads, with the odd DVD and pumpset ad.
S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse ...
As we neared Mughalsarai, I parted the curtains into the darkness outside, fireflies glistening on bushes, the slanting moon on the waters of a hushed Ganga. Gaya in the wee hours, Dhanbad Jn and warm puris with aloo dum in the morning.