Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Miles T. Bird-Riding Trains

From time to time, when we get a little scorched from providing only the hottest jams, we'll drop a dope video or two, with a musical tie-in, clearly. We already brought you one of the hottest cyphers around, so here's something a little more mellow, something to warm your bones on a chilly Cali desert night like this.

I interned in Hyderabad, India this summer, working for a microfinance organization called APMAS. Learned a lot, had a great field visit, and got to travel around India, so overall a pretty good summer, despite what shall forever be known as the "Great Curry Flu of 2009." One thing that impressed me about India are the trains. I took a couple overnight trains, and in some ways they are everything that India is not: usually on time, orderly, efficient, with surprisingly minimal hassle. On the other hand, its hard to think of anything more India than its trains: a sprawling network connecting the biggest of metropolises and rural towns like the backwater Guntakal (try finding that on a map). Entire families offering you food on overnight journeys, chai wallahs walking down the aisles, hollering,  beggars haunting the aisles, looking for change. Although my 6'6'' frame must have been a sight, squishing into sleeping compartments made for men a little shorter and squatter than I am, I enjoyed the rides immensely.

But this post isn't about me. A sophomore buddy of mine was in Bangladesh this summer, working for the most famous of all microfinance organizations, the Grameen Bank, and had a little train ride of his own, something that I wanted to try, but never dared. Him and some friends climbed to the top of the car after it had started and rode for an hour and a half chilling on top with some little kids, kicking it hard (read the full story here). He made an awesome video about it featuring the ubiquitous "Paper Planes" (but still jam and a half worthy) by MIA. If you're wondering why he put that song to a video about riding the top of a train; stop what you're doing, rent slumdogg millionaire, then come chill with us here again. Enjoy the video, because I definitely did. I also added a video of my own where I rented a little motorcyle for a day in central India and rode around. Excuse the poor quality and the weird purple shade, and the lack of cute kids...

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