The train pulls out of the Chennai’s station and into the early morning sunlight. I am exhausted, it has been a long night. With my heavy backpack on my shoulders, I sit uncomfortably on a second class seat. There are Indians everywhere on the train; some are fast asleep while others are gazing quietly out the windows. I close my eyes. I desperately need rest.
Soon however, I am awakened by a horrid smell. The stench is so unbearably awful. I open my eyes. As the train, continues to roar down the tracks, I stare with disgust at the fields of waste. There is filth everywhere. It seems like a abandoned dumpsite. I am wide-awake now and what I see next makes my heart sink with pity. From behind the huge piles of trash, I see dark figures slowly emerging. They look like shadows to me.
They are the shadows of Indian society, the forgotten people, the unfortunate, the poor. They live in the slums, next to the train tracks and dumpsites. As I see the slums now, I begin to wonder how many people live in the slums? How dirty and crowded it must be. How hard it must be to wake up every morning, in such an unpleasant environment. With barely any shelter, food, or possessions, what kind of life can one really live? Could there ever be any happiness in living such a life? I close my eyes again. All this is too disturbing for me to see.
However, with my eyes shut, I still cannot stop thinking about the slums and its people. How could the rich justify living happily, when their fellow brothers and sisters are rotting away in misery? Why isn’t the government trying harder to help the poor? Shouldn’t this be the first priority of this nation? Perhaps, I don’t understand the complexity of India’s affairs and problems. But what I do understand is, something is really wrong, and changes need to be made.