Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rail talk on a roll

President Obama is going retro or going hip, however you wanna look at it, and funding a project worth 8 billion USD to build rail roads in this country. High speed rail roads. So I guess it's not so retro. It's more like the tubes in London or rails all across Europe with fancy locals, enthusiastic tourists and lovely views.

I couldn't help but draw parallels immediately between my only two train experiences outside of India. In Paris ages ago during my first trip, every woman who got off the Metro, from 14 to 45, wore almost the same thing from head to toe. It was winter and everyone was either in black pants or tiny black skirts paired with black stockings. And black trench coats in wool. It was like a slumber party with coordinated PJs. Blue eye makeup was quite a rage and every female eye lid on the train was brushed with it. It was like you'd jumped on a runway accidentally and realized what an outcast you were. When I'd taken the train from Paris to Cannes and Monte Carlo, I'd come across some breathtaking views of the country side. Surrounded by beautiful French people and eating some delectable croissants that I’d picked up from the station, I'd hoped secretly for that train ride to never end.

In LA ages ago, I'd taken the train to downtown on an odd afternoon hour and had found myself surrounded by bums and homeless people. Thousands of people take the train to downtown today and I bet things are a lot better but that one image will remain in my head forever.

US is a car crazy nation and it's going to take me some convincing to imagine that people would really consider this mode of transport for traveling across cities. Plus it’ll never be the magic movie like experience that it is in Europe. On a more realistic note, it’ll offer huge employment opportunities. And it'd be a good change from flying. No wait in crazy security lines, no taking your shoes off, no getting to the airport hours ahead of time.

If it picks up, it could give rise to a whole new set of romance novels and chick flicks set on trains. How cute would that be!

No comments: