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Gaya Station

Catching a Moment - Gaya Station

INDIA | Friday, 19 April 2013 | Views [348] | Scholarship Entry

Having waited hours on a freezing stone platform, the break of dawn came, and with it an unwelcome tremble in my gut. My final chicken curry, now a distinct smell radiating through my pores. The bitter thesis of my tour of tastes. The night before I had been drifting in and out of sleep, clutching my rucksack to my knees and jerking awake for any passing train. My companions had been a brooding man from Delhi, and a middle aged Canadian couple who nursed a friend of theirs, woman with a broken hip completely stoned on painkillers.

My companions had long since left in other trains to other places, and now, as I sat alone my gut issued stark warnings. I rocked back and forth in indecision, looking at where the tracks converged and my train would arrive in slow-motion while I would be sitting on a toilet, oblivious. Another tremble quickly settled the situation. I shouldered my bag and sprinted through the thin crowds over a bridge and into the first class waiting room, sweat beading on my forehead.

Staring into the bathroom I noticed there was a man already waiting outside the two stalls. I shuffled up to him, trembling. He bobbed his head and gestured me to one of the stalls. I grimaced my thanks but froze in the doorway, immediately seeing why he had rejected it. It resembled trench warfare. For all my desperation, I slowly retreated. The man had since entered another stall. To my right another door was open. It was the disabled bathroom but it was clean. I entered and sat down and leaned my head against my bag, battling waves of sleep.

Whole again, I went to the inquiries office to find out my trains schedule, but something in my pants felt uncomfortable. I shifted my belt around but it was still there. I stared at my pants in complete bafflement. I walked a few more steps towards the enquiries office, stiffly extending my right leg for each step. Something was in there. Pretending to look disinterestedly around me, I lifted the hem of my jeans up to my knee, and tentatively groped around with my hand. And....ah, my gloves. My trusty black gloves, left in the sling of my pants during my redemption on that toilet.

Later, having bought another two tickets and having unknowingly caught the wrong train, I sat chewing coconut with a new companion, Abdul from Spain, also due to catch a flight from Kolkota in the next six hours. I curled up against a window and through my reflection peered at the small passing hamlets, the acres of rice paddies.

Tags: Travel Writing Scholarship 2013

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