Twenty two houses for every village and an endless paddy field.
We glide over the iron tracks, across the valley, watching lights flicker from the distant horizon. Night brings moon, spreads its wings over the vast fields. An ancient snake screams out its disgust. Leaves only smoke when its gone.
No one got down at Ludhiana. No one boarded the train.
Only the onlookers looked back with a strange emptiness
as I blew out the much needed smoke
through a hole by the toilet window of an AC train.
A train snails out of the Jalandhar railway station, reluctantly.
We are already running an hour late,the TT says.
Many trains have been running late.
Violence in Amritsar they blame.
I sit watching a kid hop, kick and jump for six hours.
Restless inside a cage, like those tiny fishes in the aquarium that
Adity spent the day watching. I reset my watch for the trains to reach when they must, and for us to feel a little less weary
when this journey ends.
Rusted train tracks over vast paddy fields. No trains
snail through us, only black smoke
for our faces, if not the sky.
Sometimes blood, sometimes limbs
head, fingers, hair, teeth.
Milestones count the distance between us.
Not even a river to justify this separation.
The same mud, the same grass.
The last station before Lahore
stands empty like this evening,
provides evidences of our collective failure
to live, to love.