Mofussil Junction


A piece that I wrote on trains while traveling in a train. It appeared in Northeast Review:

My son turned four the other day. Every night I read to him and sometimes we read together a picture book about trains. This is a book my son likes very much. The pictures show trains in bright colors from many different countries, and often these trains have a different purpose. Most of them carry passengers, of course, but there are others that carry freight, or they clean rail-tracks, or plow snow. There is only one picture from India. The picture looks dated. The caption beneath the train says “Timber Train.” Its steam engine has a sign on the side “Insular Lumber Co.” The palm trees in the background suggest the picture was taken somewhere in south India, maybe Kerala. My son, who was born and has grown up here in the US, unfailingly asks the same question: “Dad, have you traveled on that train?”