Our journey began with taking the GT Express from Madras to Delhi:
Full of excitement, anticipation, we are waiting on the platform, clutching on to our bags in fear that putting them down will end the journey. We are waiting for someone to unlock the doors of the train. That’s when we hear a song. Full bodied, guttural sounds bouncing around the wet floors, the fish smell, and the fast moving bodies. For a moment it feels as though the railway station is a large being and the music is echoing in its chest. The echo accentuates the base notes while the high timbre of the jalra plays hopscotch on the earthy sounds. Our first guess is that it’s a group of pilgrims. We move towards the sound only to find it coming from inside the locked train. Looking in through the window, we see about 20 men in uniform, standing in the pantry car singing on top of their voices and praying.
We didn’t pull out the camera.
This photo was taken the next day. This particular group is one of the most cohesive groups we have ever seen on a train. They enjoy working together. Which is possibly why they are the jolliest pantry car guys you can imagine. Even during the day they come in humming or singing or cracking silly jokes with customers. We didn’t film any of this.
Something about music in the workspace, although surprising, seemed so natural a fit that it never occurred to us to film it. A year later, we are making a film on how people manage to bring music into their day to day lives.
For more info on the Uramili project, please visit http://www.uramili.in