26 Feb

Non stop between here and your destination

043 overcrowded train IndiaWhile, technically, we call this train an express, it runs at unpredictable speeds and, did we call it a train–we meant bus or moped or Formula One (look out, driver in training!). And by train, did you think we meant bullet? Sir or Ma’am, you have to pay for the privilege of riding the bullet. This train is bourgeois, it’s a zoo train, the Western Star, the Himalayan Express, or Amtrak service to Tillamook. (It really is a train. Did we say Formula One? Sorry, bit of a runamok, that–F1 is two doors down, marked Competitive Journalism. Don’t knock, just bust in. But be prepared for a lot of paperwork.)

Whatever you do, stay on the train. Even for unexpected stops (carnivals crossing the tracks) and security checkpoints. Do not believe the voice that says, What am I doing, this journey was a stupid idea, what possessed me to think that I should look for work in the land of vengeful coconut palms!

Stay on the train. Do not step onto the platform till it reaches the end. If it turns out you bought the wrong ticket, that on arrival you discover you really meant to journey to the land of pachyderm docents who can show you recent archeological evidence (in their newly tiled Museum of History–why the new tiles everywhere?) PROVING that 100,000 y.a. elephants could leap with all four feet off the ground–but with no resolution on why that it is impossible today, although they have theories about everything from a cosmic catastrophe increasing planetary gravity to the elephant obesity problem–why then, you go.

And you stay on the train.

At first the train will be empty except for service personnel. The conductor. The steward with the snack cart. The lady sword swallower (oh my!). But as you complete more journeys you’ll see other passengers on board until perhaps the train is overwhelmed. But, really, trains are strong. Until the engine wears out or the track breaks, they are capable of non stop travel.