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Showing posts from June, 2016

Misadventures on Indian Rail

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There's a boy maybe my age walking on the platform, wearing no shirt and the dirtiest pair of pants I've ever seen. There are four long scars across his chest, as if someone had taken a knife to his skin. His hair is matted and he looks like an old sepia-toned film strip, the way he's covered in dust and moving, as if in flickering slow motion, in the cursed heat. It's something like 100 degrees in Agra, but it feels like more on this railway platform. The boy jumps onto the tracks.

"Look," my friend from Berkeley says in shock, "he's eating food off the ground!" She stares at his retreating figure, bending down to pluck scraps dropped by passengers or food sellers balancing baskets of fried foods as they cross the tracks. Food and people share the tracks with waste: rotting shit surrounded by flies. A lean monkey follows in the boy's footsteps and starts foraging.

We are standing on Platform 2 waiting for a train that seems it will never c…

Delhi, Day 3

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Delhi, Day 3: 108-degree weather and what Google likes to call "extreme dust" makes you run out of clean clothes pretty fast, so I went on a lone excursion to Fabindia to buy some new clothes with the plan of calling an Uber both ways. I checked out as the store was closing, went outside, and then tried to call my ride home. A lot of shops, not just the clothing ones, were starting to close. Their lights, that illuminated my position, turned out up and down the block like dominoes. There are different kinds of night: Times Square night, where the lights never dim and people never disappear, and real night, where lights go out and the city blocks belong to men. It felt like this street's night was just beginning.

I decided to call the driver. He picked up, but promptly rattled off a string of Hindi words I didn't understand in response to "Hi! Where are you?"

"Uhhh....uhhhh...tum kahaan hai?" I asked, having no idea if that was correct or not. I …