For the benefit of the uninitiated, arrivals in India will encounter a deluge of offers, entreaties and unexpected, labyrinthine connections that will leave them reeling, or laughing their heads off. I heard that J.K.Galbraith described India as ‘functioning anarchy’ as depicted in the postcard I found in Goa. I also heard a description I particularly liked, which is ‘5,000 years of poetry and no two lines rhyme !’
Over the years I travelled many thousands of miles through India by rail, mostly hauled by diesel engines, but when I first went there, a lot of venerable steam engines were still in daily service, a honeypot for rail enthusiasts and history buffs alike. As is often said, the ‘Golden Age’ is never the present one; would one see the age of steam as being a golden age for India, or is that just for the hard bitten nostalgic ?
Train to the Afghan border. The big adventure, the first of 1985, began the next day, on Weds 2nd. We’d had the idea to go to Chaman, a small village about 70 miles away, very close to the Afghan border. We’d heard various exciting stories, including one from a young man we met in the shami kebab stall, about Afghan rebels, all kinds of guns, pistols, rifles, stenguns at very cheap prices, smugglers and thieves ! Read more . .