Kartography–Shamsie on the train from Karachi to Rahim Yar Khan
Just finished reading ‘Kartography’,written by Kamila Shamsie, it is her third novel published in 2002. There is a mention of a train ride from Karachi to Rahim Yar Khan. Noting it here verbatim.
“The journey to Rahim Yar Khan was an overnight one, and we were booked into two adjoining compartments, though each compartment slept four. Decadent Feudal’s brother pretended to insist that Karim sleep within the same four walls as him, but when Karim slipped next door—ostensibly to borrow a book to read—Uncle Chaperoo (as we had already named him) pretended not to notice the length of his absence until the next morning.
What is it about a train charging down the tracks? Buses, planes, cars, boats—I was blasé about all of them before I even knew what blasé meant. But that evening when the train pulled out of the station, I leaned out of the window like someone in a film and waved madly to anyone who cared to look. And I sang! I wanted a song appropriate to the moment but only ‘Feed the World’ came to mind, so I sang that and didn’t care that the coolies laughed at me and a beggar flung a handful of peanuts in my direction.
Maybe I’d been watching too many movies.
‘No,’ Karim said, flinging himself on the lower bunk and rolling up the blinds. ’It’s not Hollywood association that sets your heart racing. It’s the sound of the train. Dhug-dhug. Dhug-dhug.’
‘Ker-chug. Ker-chug,’ I argued.
‘Well, something Iambic.’