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The Tumdla Train Station

INDIA | Wednesday, 20 May 2009 | Views [837]

Never heard of this place? that makes three of us; you, me and God.  Now, we all know God is a busy, perhaps anthropomorphic entity, perhaps nebuluous shaped diety, who takes its time in returning messages and, of course,rarely picks up when you really need to talk, a god who overlooks much chaos and occasionally responds to crises when god is in our neck of the universe - it has much business elsewhere since we know from science that the universe is expanding and we know from religion god created everything thus we can deduce that god is off in other parts creating more parts for us to later find and categorize and potentially explore and potentially use to reproach religious folk for believing in god since we used science and only science to discover everything about the world and unverise, but the religious folk cite our unknowingness of whats beyond the universe and why its expanding and how it expands and, for that matter, how we can't discover an elemental partical and all we can do is hypothesize about string theory - oh yes, and how did eye's come about? - to prove that there must be a god, and, im now lost.  Anyway, in his haste, with broad brush strokes, God sent someone a vision of how to create this town and how to build its train station.  God overlooked a few details or perhaps expected his will's recipient to fill in the rest.  Perhaps god misfired and sent the idea for this Tumdla to a lazy person or a dyslexic or a cow for that matter, they are sacred.  The person or people or cows responsible for this place forgot to give it a soul.  Every good architect and designer of sorts must make sure to instill soul into his or her creation less it be seen as monstrous, less it have no energy, no self, no appeal.  Whether it was God's omission or misfiring or human omission, this train station lacked a soul; to compensate - it must have been a film enthusiast in a past life - it borrowed from hitchcock, heavily.  It had no soul.  Instead, it was filled with birds.

Hundreds and thousands of birds.  If I could imbed pictures into this blog more easily, i would happily do so in order to convey this fact more quickly into your brains.  Alas, you will have to click on the album to see.  I took a very shaky and poor quality video and managed to capture, in miniature, the essense of the station, the droaning on and on, the moving walls, the stained white floors.  This station was a monstrosity.  It must have been built by something monstrous to serve it's monstrous purpose and monstrous angst since no human could have created a beast of steal-exposed guts, rotting, infested, colonized.  I bet the facade, the exterior, what gives things their pleasantness - the skin - melted away, liquidy with the first monsoon rains like the deliquescence of the Wicked Witch of the West, leaving only hat, cape and broom, in this case only tin, steal and concrete.  It was quite an inhospitable place, yet the locals braved it with quiet bravado. they seemed accustomed to its gape, its bulging now-exo-skeleton, its massive belly filled with birds, and then the occasional late train.

Late the train was.  Hours.  We found one room, one comfort, the last uncancered organ of this wheezing beast.  The first class waiting room where all lizards and a few people took refuge.  1 hour. we waited.  2 hours. we waited. 4 hours later, our escape arrived, but not before we witnessed an indian man, accustomed to the heat and humidty, the torment of the birds, shower no less than 4 times.  Had I known the train would be 4 hours, I might have showered bi hourly.  But, information was scarce, perhaps hijacked by the birds, so we only knew every 15 minutes that the train was late and would arrive in the next ten.  Always coming in 10 more minutes.  the birds did not care.  they chirped and sang and chirped and sang and chirped until nothing filled our heads but bird calls and day dreams of freshly uncovered worms.

The birds cawed and stirred and swooped and squacked and hopped and chirped and pecked and squeecked and fluttered and cawed again.  Every 25 minutes or so when the power drained out of the complex slowly until there was dark, the birds grew silent.  maybe all they wanted was darkness, was some rest? perhaps this was the insomniacs convention and we were the ones intruding with our lights and bags and restless shuffling to and fro.  WHen the lights went out, the birds went quiet, daring only occasional peeps and whispers less the beast be disturbed.  a few laxatives and the beast might hve been a little more spritely.  the birds seemed to intuit this and quieted when the lights went dim, when the beast focused inward.  Then, whooosh, the lights flickered back to life, the beast was distracted, and the uproar began again like applause after each act of a play.

Oh the heat. the humidity. the birds!  alex was being driven mad with angst and worry.  I began to bark and growl ferociously at the voeyeurs who became hyenas before my eyes, waiting for the moment when we were distracted to rob us of our meat, our bags and their innards.  I growled and barked at the friendly old man who asked one too many questions, wondering when i would be done grazing and whether i always kept such a watchful eye on my yung fole.  Actually, he asked which car I was on and what my seat number was.  this made both Al and i suspicious, so we moved down the platform to get away; the old man had seemingly brought over a few young lads, all of whom were circling us, watching, seemingly waiting for a moment to strike.  "what is goin on here>?" I wondered aloud to alex, completely taken in by my story of robbery and betrayal i erected starring the characters around us as bandits and we as hapless tourist dupes.  we moved down the platform to get away. they followed.  I flipped out. caused a scene.  yelled at each person. made it know that i wasnt to be robbed of my belonings while asleep on the train. and what about those damn birds!? "why dont you people do something about these birds?" i asked rhetorically, gesturing wildly in no particular direction - in ever direction, really, since birds oocupied all available unused space - after chasing away the hyenas with a gnashing of my teeth and bucking of my hind legs.  Relative, im a rather big zebra, elephant like in stature next to the thin, half starved, indian hyenas.  they miscalculated.  I drew sympaty from some onlookers.  made allies.  the hyenas moved down the platform, acting indignant like they had no idea wht set me off. no idea?  the birds didnt tell you? had you no idea you wre circling us and staring? asking probing unecessary questions? didnt you hear the incessant cawing of black, beastly birds, dinosaurs with feathers, posed terribly with beaks agape, wings half spread, claws crooked and sharp? a near miss from a dropping and a wondering roach moved us again.

The train finally came.  We were soaked to the bone with our sweat.  we left the birds behind and settled in to a mostly sleepless 14 hour train ride filled with waking life moments as every 20 minutes or so I stirred in anticipation of catching one of the hyenas attempting to make off with my bag.


The birds. The birds. Did the convention end? do they still nest there, endlessly talking, day in and ou?  Was that station a rip in space time fabric through which souls left this phase en route to the next? The birds were perhaps undertakers, transporting and readying the dead's old energy.  A train station seems a befitting place for such a portal, particularly one of such ferocity.  Come to think of it, it may have been a gateway to the underworld. black birds to us, common folk, demons to visionaries and the charmed.  Whatever it was, it acted also as train station for us, propelling us forward to our next destination. Varanassi.

caw, caw. nevermore.

 

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