Haveri: Part One.
Up at 3am, looking out of the train window, on my way to Haveri. Most of the world is sleeping except the train people, the ones with the big torches, waving the train on. In the distance, I can see empty fields, the flatness broken only by the silhouettes of trees – dark against less dark. Going to Haveri is familiar now. I arrive at the hotel, and I know the attendant who’ll be the first to wake up to open the door. The giant black fish in the tank by the lobby is still making its melancholy rounds. The waiters in the restaurant have big smiles when they see me and ask if I want my favorites. On my way here to the railway station, an auto driver yelled at me – Wait! I’ll drop this person off and be right there! from across the road. And he was, five minutes later, making happy chatter all the way to the station. As I am sitting here, in my favourite spot at the train station, I even recognise the train people in this station. The Nandini milk guy and his deep discussions with the water guy. The three police men who are constantly chewing pan and adjusting their belts. Heck, even the dogs at the station recognise me now, wagging their tails in greeting.
I am not blind to the problems in a small town. No wifi, for instance. But it is nice to be given an extra papad for my rasam rice without asking. It is nice to sit and write this in a railway station, at midnight, without worrying about my bag or my body. It is nice, once in a while, to fit my song into the rhythm of another town.