I hate tunnels.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Especially the under-passes built near railway stations or under flyovers, for teeming millions to cross over from one side to another. There is one near Sealdah station in Kolkata, and one under the Western Express Highway in Malad, Mumbai, which I had/have to familiar on a daily basis. And, in this case at least, familiarity breeds contempt. Ugh!
They are dank, dirty, musty and crowded. There's water dripping down walls and from cracks in the ceiling, and I shudder each time a cold drop falls on me. There are rodents and cockroaches scurrying along the drains at the side. There are pushing, groping crowds hurrying past in the permanent semi-darkness.
And what amazes me most are the tenacity of the vendors who have made these tunnels their workplace, staying in these claustrophobic surroundings for hours on end, like denizens of a nightmarish nocturnal hell.
And they sell spinach and bananas, garlic (to ward off vampires?) and knick-knacks. I always feel too suffocated to buy. The walls seem to close in, the ceiling seems to press down upon me. I rush as fast as I can, tripping on the uneven tunnel floor, ducking the leaking water, holding my breath to avoid inhaling the stale air.
The sunlight at the end of the tunnel always seems a bit too far away for my liking.