“Seat: 31; wagon: A1 (hit and sunk)”.
This is all Dora can think of, while waiting for our “theoretically” express train that will take us from Delhi to Agra. Three days after my shocking experience at the main train station of New Delhi, here I am again -sequels are always better than the original ones, aren’t they?-, but this time with my whole team: my well-travelled black hand-luggage, my brand-new black backpack and my not-brand-new black tennis racket, all of them personalized with a Spanish-flag-colored ribbon from Our Lady of Pillar.
– “If I wanted to go unnoticed, certainly this is not the right way… Anyway, Agra, here we go…”
The platform is full of people: circles of families talking to each other; old and not that old women dressed with colorful yellow, orange and dark blue saris; kids jumping on the railway tracks, full of trash, to pick something up; old men crossing the tracks quietly before the trains arrive; dogs drinking water full of supplements, minerals and microorganisms, directly from the floor; young guys selling small wheels for the luggages; and us standing there under a ventilator, shocked by what I am seeing, and saying “no thanks” to everyone…
The train arrives and the passengers start, literally, jumping off the train still in movement. “Yuhuu! If you thought, you had seen everything…, here you are”.
While the train passes by in front of me, I observe that the second-class wagons have some sort of metal bars instead of a window glass. The very-big-rounded black eyes of the kids look and smile through them. “Maybe you should start smiling again…”
The train starts moving and the three generations of my just met Indian family decide to start accommodating themselves in the compartment:
– “Please make yourselves at home”.
The daughter goes to sleep on one of the upper beds. The mother practices contortionism while sleeping on one side of another bed. The father sings and plays with his mobile, pretending to be ignoring everybody, from his straight-up yoga position. The teenager son is lost and seems to not be finding his place in this world, I mean in this train, so he finally decides to go to another compartment, I guess, looking for his freedom. And the grandmother, whose skin is decorated with all kinds of henna paintings, seems to be doing mental calculation; but no, she is just hungry and suddenly she starts eating rice balls with her hands…
– «So, here we are! Should I ask her to make a henna painting on my hands…?»
We arrive to Agra, and a new taxi driver -not as nice as my dear Sanjiv from Delhi- is waiting for me… My red-hig-level-warning alarm mode is still activated.
Anyway, tomorrow it will be a long-time dreamed big day: Taj Mahal