28 November, 2020

Then, Now, Thereafter

The road to the Jaipur litfest is lined with dog-ears and missed pages

Illustration by Sorit
Then, Now, Thereafter

New Delhi railway station’s platform no. 2, where the Ajmer Shatabdi is just sliding in, looks more like the India International Centre lobby this morning. Bemused coolies are getting used to a lot of ‘excuse mes’, ‘beg your pardons’ than the usual cries of ‘abe, teri maa ki’. The fumes of Paco Rabanne and Dior battle with the natural 6 am aromas rising from the tracks. But after a lot of ‘after yous’, a polite but firm rhubarb breaks out at seat number 38 as to who the window belongs to. A few heated words fly around, but nothing even remotely veering towards ‘abe...’. The lady next to me is absorbed in her Kindle, reading This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz. The gentleman is hidden in the pages of Guardian Review. Diagonally across, the girl is oblivious to the service guy’s query of ‘veg or non-veg’ as she turns the pages of a thick book (that for some reason is wrapped in brown paper) which could be the collected essays of Edmund Burke (or it could well be the complete...



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