“The Nagercoil Express from Mumbai to Pune will leave the platform at 30 minutes after 12”. I ran onto the platform with a bag of some of my things. My second day in India (July 22) and my research plans had already been changed, instead of starting research on August 1st, the date had been bumped up because the Professor I was working prior to my arrival had to suddenly leave the country for work on July 24th.
So there I was, gasping as I boarded the train just 2 minutes before it’s departure time in the “unreserved” ladies compartment completely unaware of what I would witness in the next 4 and a half hours of the train journey.
The first few stops were quite comfortable, I had managed to get the window seat with the entire rest of the bench free of people and just threeladies sitting across from me: one who looked to be muslim with an entire headscarf/burkha duo and the other with her daughter, both of which looked to be from the UP (not the same UP that we use in Michigan I can assure you). UP stands for Uttar Pradesh which is a state in the northern, center part of India. People from the UP speak in a particular Hindi dialect, one which I had heard before when studying Hindustani Classical music. The word “kahe” is used instead of “kya” which means what in English…but I digress.
The first few stops went by with very talking from any of us. However, as the train started to become crowded, I thought that perhaps, the women might be waiting for the hustle and bustle to add their noise to.
To be continued…