It’s been years since I have travelled anywhere in a long distance train. Each time I contemplated travelling by train, the cheap air fares, travel time and toilets, would always push my decision towards taking the flight. This time however, I chose the train due to convenience of boarding point and because of the fact that it was a Duronto, and Duronto’s are known to be clean and fast.
As I looked out of the window, my mind was flooded with memories of childhood days when sometimes we used to travel by 2AC as dad’s annual LTA would allow that, while at other times it would be normal sleeper class with open windows. Me and my brother used to fight for window seats and on occasions that we both managed to get windows, we would fight for the one facing forward. I used to enjoy the breeze inspite of the dust allergy. I used to watch the vast barren lands, fields and villages passing by. I used to feel sorry for the condition of some people living in small villages where they used to defecate in the open near the railway tracks, dirty and naked kids running around, the women cooking in makeshift stoves using wood for fire. Some houses had thatched roofs, some had plastic sheets as roofs.
As I look outside the window today, I am glad for the AC coach as I no longer enjoy the dusty breeze as my allergy has grown two fold due to the pollution and smog. But the barren lands, the fields and the villages, all seem the same. It’s as if time has stood still for them. I saw so many villages in the same condition as before. We have seen tremendous progress in all the years. But what about these people? These villages? When will they ever see progress, when will their condition ever change?
This got me thinking as to why hasn’t their condition changed? Is it because they are poor or it is because of the government?
I don’t know the answer.
It’s a journey for me and it will end tonight. But these people will still be there, year after year?