Remember this: everywhere in India it is your duty to try to get off, get on, get out, get in, go up or come down first. And it is the norm to stand so close to the person in front of you that you touch them with every bit of your body. This innocent frottaging happens in queues for tickets, queues in shops, queues for the lift (getting in and out), queues in the airport, queues for taxis, queues for the ferry … you get my drift. I must add that I use the term ‘queue’ loosely.
In New Jalpaiguri station, on a sticky pre-monsoon night, I drink sweet masala chai, while fat mosquitoes stab my ankles. My woollen shawl, useful for keeping out the chilly Himalayan air earlier in the day, has morphed into a cushion, softening the concrete slab that supports me and my churning tummy. “Jamie, I think the […]
Kolkata’s South Park Street Cemetery, with its 18th and 19th century monolithic tombs, is full of the tales and tribulations of Britain’s earliest pioneers. I turned into the last avenue in the graveyard, it was darker here, the air damp and uncharacteristically cool for Kolkata. Outside the twenty foot high mossy stone wall enclosure, the […]
As the train pulls out a man jumps through the open door, and takes up residence opposite us. Sporting sunglasses balanced on top of a sharp new haircut, tight jeans and a smart shirt, he radiates style and bonhomie. We smile. He lurches towards us and we recoil as the sour alcohol oozing from his pores hits us.