The world from the waiting platform

Originally published on Jan 25, 2012 on

Sitting at the Tirupati railway station you see a peculiar sight of bald heads all around you. I spent an hour on the platform waiting for my train to pull in and it struck me how in places like railway stations and airports there’s a plethora of people all living different lives, with different destinations in life. Especially in India it’s enhanced with colors, sounds and smells.

Sitting in front of me is a lady with minimal luggage. In the hustle-bustle of the station she sits quietly and rearranges her bag. The most astonishing thing about Indian women from the streets is where they hide their purse. Of course, unlike us they have tiny purses just big enough to place their meager collection of money- wouldn’t be more than a couple of hundreds. After setting her purse and hiding it in her blouse she moves on to rearranging her bag that is nothing more than a shopping bag made of cloth. I watch as she removes each item and boy was I stunned! I doubt our well-paid-for totes can accommodate that much! Quietly, in her own world she goes about arranging her bag, oblivious to the bald heads screaming next to her.

Which brings me to my next source of amusement- the three bald heads. This family of five just got all of their heads shaved, except the mother. The parents are seated quietly, clearly oblivious (or used to) to the three bald heads’ screaming. One bald head thinks he’s Rajnikanth. He’s trying to lift his brother off the ground even though he’s failing miserably. After a while he’s given up trying to be a hero using his brother; now he’s fighting an imaginary villain.

A young girl who’s probably younger than me came to freshen up at the water tap. Guess what, she’s newly married. Her husband is next to her and is pretty young himself. My aunt pointed out that he has similar facial features as the girl so he’s probably her brother. Even if he is her brother he can still be her husband; they’re from Andhra Pradesh after all. But whoever he is, they were definitely blushing while talking to each other. Even in this huge railway station filled with strangers, they had an intimate moment, which my aunt and I forced ourselves into.

Stations & airports are the best places to just sit and watch how the disconnected world finally connects in one place before traveling to different destinations.


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