Tamil Nadu, India
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By Mitul Kapadia
I spent the summer working on developing a community-based rehabilitation program in rural Sargur, in the state of Karnataka, India. Following my month of volunteer work, I did some traveling in the state of Tamil Nadu.
As we approached the train station, we saw the wrap-around lines at the ticket counter to buy our train ticket. Fortunately, we had arrived well in advance of the departure time and had bottles of water to quench our thirst in the 100-plus degree.
Once we had our tickets, we decided to try to board early to get a good seat. Only then did we see that literally every square inch of seats and floor space was occupied. There were even people lying in all the baggage shelf space.
Left with only one option, we claimed the steps onto one of the trains as our space for the next three hours. This ended up being quite a blessing in disguise — we got free “air-conditioning,” some fresh air, and got to see rural life in India in its uninhibited glory.
Before we knew it, our feet were dangling over the Laccadive Sea with the most breathtaking sunset. Immediately, I grabbed my camera and captured this moment of serenity in an otherwise chaotic trip.
Mitul Kapadia, MD, MSc, is an Assistant Clinical Professor and Clinical Director of Pediatric Rehabilitation at UCSF.