A Second Train Journey

During my Surat visit, we had also gone visiting some places around Bharuch. On our return, we took a train from Bharuch back to Surat. We were in a Second Class Unreserved compartment. It was packed to more than twice its capacity. I didn’t got a place to sit, and so I came standing for the 60-minute ride, which eventually became close to 90 minutes. Abhishek was hoisted up on the upper berth along with his uncle, aunt and cousin. Bhavana squeezed herself onto a single seater next to someone already seated.

Standing there and looking around, I couldn’t but help think that this was a mini-India right in there. People of every age and from every class, caste, community were there.  And ‘adjusting’ without asking surnames.  This is a moderate, accepting India. This is an India that needs to ask for more, that deserves better. We need to more aspirational – perhaps that is easier said than done giving the reality of the situation across India. We are, for all practical purposes, still a poor and underdeveloped country.

Many of India’s ills cannot, unfortunately, be cured by efficient private enterprise. It needs a government that works and delivers. While there is hope that UPA 2 may do it, I am doubtful. India needs disruptive change. People who got us into this mess cannot be expected to pull us out of it.

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