Marco Parenti – Indian Station
When I travel I never fail to set foot in some train station. I usually take advantage of the time that other travel companions dedicate to shopping, a “pleasure” from which I gladly escape. Who knows why this passion for trains and stations, but I have it since I was a child, when taking the train was an emotion for me.
Today I go there to see and photograph life, which is the reason I came to India. So here I am at Jodhpur station, the second largest city in Rajasthan with more than eight hundred thousand inhabitants. It’s a November morning, the sun is already high, the dazzling light contrasts sharply with the black shadows and the temperature is pleasant.
What strikes me is the amazing cleanliness, which one does not expect at a station, especially coming from streets full of waste everywhere. Here it is difficult to find a piece of paper on the ground and the floors are polished by the cleaners (all women!), who tirelessly drag the brush on the sidewalks desperately looking for something to collect. Yet there is no shortage of people, camped on the ground in groups, patiently waiting for the departure next to piles of luggage. Someone sleeps benches with their belongings neatly stored at their feet.
I walk along the overpass looking for the sidewalks with a little movement. There I meet employees who unload huge bundles of used sheets from the sleeping cars, others who fry street food on carts and rows of people just got off or about to get on carrying heavy bags and duffel bags on their heads. Who knows how the more you go down the social ladder, the more the volume of luggage increases. There is a bit of a crowd at the gates and the wagons appear decidedly overcrowded. Some discussion arises between those who are inside and those who are outside. Those who have managed to win a seat look through the windows that, in Indian trains, have horizontal bars to prevent people from leaning dangerously.
Many curious eyes, especially children, emerge from the darkness of the compartments/prison. When I point at them the camera no one protests, someone shields himself, from time to time we escape a smile and the “v” sign of victory with the hand. Some dogs walk undisturbed along the tracks in search of food or doze on the sunny roofs of the shelters.
After three hours I leave, the sun is still high and the temperature has definitely risen.
There is still a lot of time to live today.