" I felt myself in a world devised by Lewis Carroll ... "

Oxcart, Victoria Terminus

A stately oxcart carries its load of bamboo past Victoria Terminus early one morning. Pico Iyer calls Bombay's central railway station "the cathedral of all this mildewed classicism [and a] reminder of the time when Bombay was the second largest city in the Empire (after London)." Pico recounts his visit inside the station:

"When I went inside ... I felt myself in a world devised by Lewis Carroll and translated by Jorge Luis Borges into Esperanto: booth after incomprehensible booth, in room after room after hangarlike room, some offering 'Manual Booking Refund on Pre-bought Ticket,' some promising 'Refund on Reserved Tickets for Trains Leaving on Same Day and the Following Day up to 9:00 hours,' ... and all of them governed by myriad rules both courtly ('Kindly Tender Exact Amount of Fare') and relentless. (When informed of a seat's availability, you must say yes or no in 20 seconds)."


Further chapters of Bombay Bazaar:
images 1 - 11
images 23 - 30