Cruising the Countryside
29.08.2009 - 01.09.2011 35 °C
One of the last views that I had in Mumbai was a taxi careering down the street with a big bag of grain stuffed in its half open boot and a whole fleet of crows chasing it.
A couple of the crows were actually joy riding on the car itself, holding on for dear life as the taxi swerved around a couple of corners before it disappeared out of sight.
Enjoyed the train trip and was impressed with just how green and lush the land was. Initially it was crops like maize and sugar cane but slowly the farming changed to more rice cultivation the closer we got to Varanasi.
The train consisted of a big fat grunty loco pulling about 60 passenger carridges. The tracks are about 2 metre wide and the ride is smooth. We cruised through the countryside at speeds of I guess, between 100 - 140 kms/hr, The faded, light blue carriages were battered and bruised from years of being pulled around by these locos that have no trouble getting them up to speed .
One of my travelling companions was a 72 year old Indian business man from New York named Krishna who after he retired in 96 he makes a nearly a yearly pilgrimage back to Varanasi. He returns to offer prayers for his late departed father, his family and friends. He felt, he had failed his father some what; by going to America early in his life and thought he did not look after him well enough in his latter years. He was quite an intense man and initially wondered if I liked him but by the end of the journey I really enjoyed his company.
He explained to me lots of snippets of Indian history, the cause of the Pakistan / India hatred. He explained the way that the Pakistanis forced thousands upon thousands of Hindus out of the country, if they would not convert to Islam. and confiscated their lands as well. The Bhutto family was one such family that did the conversion to Islam in order to save their wealth. They had around 100 thousand acres to protect. While he was greatly appreciated by Mahatma Gandhi and the way he led the country to independence, he was sure it would have happened anyway, but it would have been a very bloody affair. He was not so impressed by his ability to run the country. Krishna talked about the human condition & the differences between the various Indian religions. He was the teacher, I was the pupil. He was a man with his wife and children in the States and his heart in India
Varanasi is hot and I have already checked out some of the streets and a couple of views along the Ganges
PS: I am thumb nailing the photos so you only have to download them as you require this should decrease the amount that you initially have to down load. There are a couple of videos as well.