It was a matrimony grand and lavish by middle class Indian regulations:
the henna, the bridal shower, ladies’ night out, wedding-alert,
much music, singing, screaming and jubilation;
the bride’s salon visit before the earliest lark
to look drop dead gorgeous, and certainly not a tart.
A huge gathering, about three hundred,
palatial hall, a music band, the great Indian curry feast,
fifty different dishes, fifteen different liquors ,
the music band to which all danced several hours
sealed the perfect celebration deal.
But honeymoon! That plan remained tentative;
we’d thought to go see the Taj Mahal, of eternal love it was representative.
Adventure was on our mind and impulse helped a wee bit—
On the third day after wedding,
much to family and friends’ chagrin
we requested to be dropped at the local bus-stand.
Saying adios to the last family member,
we went to the counter o’ the ticket vendor,
“But Sir”, he quipped, “it is ten in the night,
no bus to the land of white Dome
’til the Sun shines bright.”
Adventure running high in our veins,
we took a taxi to the rail station,
what’d be more fun than railroad a la old times
and sparking the hour more
with travel of the yore.
“Hello Mr.”, the window man said amused,
“there isn’t a train until five, where d’ya live, what keeps you mused?”
Bent not to return home we decided to hang on to the platform—
gaze at the sky, the stars, Moon and the Night in every tone and chrome.
Time passes quick whence matters are aplenty to discuss,
the worriless hours or the just attended gathering
that gives wings to the imagination of young buds.
Truth remains, the locomotive arriv’d
and we desir’d to crash prostrate within matter of minutes.
And what a train did we select for the journey to the blissful city
of the edifice love-enrolled
‘Chhattisgarh Express’ it was called.
quaint name, yeah, but we weren’t appalled:
quainter the better, we thought,
did it matter so long as to the destination it brought.
But boy oh boy, why ticket this we bought;
three hours max from point A to B,
is what in geography class we were taught.
Not with this train… no, never, not. Naught!
This thing was less mobile and more the variety of static,
for every chug forward, twice it moved backward, or so it seem’d—simple ‘rithmetic.
The new husband held the sleep he could’ve caught,
poor guy worried what if we missed the stop?
Sleepless and zombie from the window he gazed out
although help was extended from the guy on the berth atop.
All said and done
some six though several seeming hours later
the Chungking pushed on to finish the catwalk.
No points for guessing who first disembarked.
But before heading to a hotel and shower,
‘twas appropriate to book a ticket for return
and avoid a tortoise ride after ‘proximately four days of sojourn.
The man spoke matter-of-factly, horror and terror,
“The trains remain on strike next week,
but if you must leave there is one I refer,
the Express called Chhattisgarh.”
Several years later I do still clinch,
but don’t mind taking journeys several a thousand,
with you and only you as my husband.
(The sketch is made out of pen and crayons)