nursing the sorest of sore feet due to train naivety (Trademark Kieran) - i’m actually quite lucky to be alive and walking, thanks due in part to a fellow well met named antony, who was my acquaintance on the long train journey to cochin, my ticket was not valid as i was on a waiting list so i decided i’d board anyway, the dust-bowl of mumbai had to be rid of, though the place has it’s own beauty and charm - definitely a brief stay only. hectic would be one word.
without a valid ticket i was removed and shown to the general compartment (indians with less money) a tiny carriage pakt like sardines, battling for space and air for 24 hours, there i met this dear pal, we spoke of religion, girls, and anything in between, laughter the required result of any understood or mis-understood conversation. goa came along and there came the man with the bag of rum, a little inner warmth for the ride ahead…
in general compartment, it’s very man for himself for the slightest amount of space to sleep on the floor. i woke up, antony next to me.. with daylight.. us the only two still sleeping surrounded by passengers standing around us “i’ve never seen this before” one man laughed.
…early afternoon, half an hour until ernatikum(?), kerala.. the naive mistake came.. feet hanging outside train, sssssslap, there goes the croc, up goes my foot, bruising, bleeding, shakey and shocked, mostly shakey, a brief conversation of giggles with the boy next to me and he was friendly enough to bandage my foot up with his sweaty bandit scarf.
we got off the tram and antony helped me to a nearby hotel, sore and sorry and without much sleep i crash, he arranges cheap price on hotel and gets me dinner, gives me pain balm foot massage and we talk of prayers and gratitude for being here and now.. we arrange to meet again at 10am the next day and he departs giving me a ring with mother mary - “when i find myself in times of trouble, mother mary comes to me.. speaking words of wisdom… ..::~let it be~::..
tomorrow brings the ease of some walking pain, enough to battle the day with a bit of bruising.. antony does not come, i have to vacate room… oh well, brothers for a train journey, brothers when in-need and onwards and outwards, brothers in memory.
the long walk to the jetty, sweltering indian summer. soaked shirts, heavy bag, all good - the ferri to fort cochin a beautiful trip weaving through islands, fresh breaze in my face, and a little girl playing with her daddy and smiling at me sits next to me.
fort cochin is a secluded island with little traffic (thanks) rickshaws and goats, the odd truck and car.. the usual rickshaws pass by trying to get my business, shoo’ing most of them off.. one stops with a smile, offers me a free trip to a hotel, commision for him bringing me.. sounds like an alright deal, i get to look and decide when there.
fresh afternoon shower, wash the train-floor clothes.. i wander outward, in front of the hotel is a big grassy/dusty field with cricket games everywhere.. babu sits waiting for me to come out, offers me a lift wherever, free trips to shops to get 1lr of petrol for himself, feed the family, all good.. i sit down and relax, a few other boys hang out, i’ve found a nice peaceful hang out, we sit around smoking cigarettes and talking and laughing, he tells me this is karaz street, shanti - a peaceful secluded quiet place to sit and hang with friends, we smoke some of the kerala botany and shanti some more.
good to be in a place where people feel at home
ps thanks peter for the message, smiled as i read it, soul-brothers on the journey of life hai5