Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Munght or: Merry it's too damn hot Day

Luckily, I did not get too homesick on Christmas day. It doesn't really feel like Christmas because it's hot, I haven't been plastered with ads for two months straight and it's pretty hard to find an evergreen in Bombay. However, people still get the day off work.

I took the train up to my friend's place for a nice Christmas dinner and a few drinks which actually dissolved into delivered dominoes and budweisers. Anyway, I have never been on a train this full. That is not a statement I make lightly. It felt like the stateroom scene from the Marx Brother's A Night at the Opera:

Here are some stats:
The Wall Street Journal estimated that the Mumbai commuter network's rail tracks carry 20,000 passengers every day for each kilometer, or 0.62 mile, of rail, surpassing Tokyo where the comparable number is 15,000 people per kilometer. During peak hours in Mumbai, 550 people travel in a carriage built for 200 with a total of 6.1 million passengers traveling daily.

With all of this crush, I never saw the people so happy. With no work, everybody helped each other even more than usual. I kept yelling "I Love India" to a bunch of Sikhs in the Indian Army. They laughed loudly with big open mouths and wagged their heads. They frowned disapprovingly at the old pickpocket who I put in a headlock after he made a clumsy move for my wallet. Nobody talked that much but we all looked around with big grins to laugh for no reason. The crushing train ride became the highlight of Christmas Day.

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