India Train Hopping
As a vagrant son, in voluntary poverty
I once trained-hopped through India.
Fellow poor Indian travelers
would offer their generous calloused hands
to pull me up and join them on the trains’ roofs.
And as we enjoyed our free ride around Bharat,
my companions stamped out smokestack cinders
burning through my kurta and pyjamas,
kept me low under tunnels
and secured me from rolling off while sleeping.
The camaraderie was enlightening:
no nation, no language, no color divided us.
Poverty and the rush of a locomotive
bonded us like brothers.
—by Sabio Lantz, July 2015
Prompt: Billgncs @ dVerse Poets asks us “to think back on our life and write about trains.”
- “smokestack cinders“: Back in the day, the Indian trains on which I rode were coal driven with sparks flying out of their smoke stack. See my story here in prose on my other blog.
- “Bharat” is the Hindi word from “India”. It is what Indians call their own country.
- “kurta and pyjamas” are the traditional clothes for Indian men — which I wore constantly.