Bihar is like a land that no one really knows. I did not. I did not know how poor it is. I did not what being poor means until I came here. Patna railway station at 4:45. It shines with glamorous flashing light lines covering the station (to celebrate the republic day). But once you enter out from your car, you feel like you are in science fiction movie. People, old and young, women and men, sleeping here and there with their beautiful blankets. People walking here and there, looking for their platform, as we (me and my research assistant Alankrita did). I had covered my head so that I would not look so obviously foreigner. Definitely I was the only foreigner. I followed closely to Alankrita.
Eventually, we managed to jump into the right train, right car even, and found our soft comfy seats. You do not want to eat or drink anything, so that you need not go to the toilet.
The six hour trip from Patna to Bhagalpur is a movie. When the sun rises you start seeing fields, beautiful green palms trees. Around the stations the poverty shows up. Brick houses, cement houses, straw houses, houses insulated with cow’s or water buffalo’s dung. Cakes of dung nicely organised to dry down, and later used also for fire for cooking and heating.
Women with beautifully colored dresses and dupattas ( a thick scarves around their head and shoulders), men with brown or black clothes, hats (pipos in Finnish), children with or without their parents. I saw one boy with a huge sack, and he had dropped carrots to the ground, and was collecting them back to the sack.
These pictures might or might not convey the atmosphere. I need to say I was saddened by the poverty. At the same time I admire the resilience of these people who live in poverty. They keep on selling their tea (chai) or snacks, or organising their cow dung, doing their laundry, carrying their water on top of their head, carrying their baby.