My only ambition

Because my father had been a train inspector, we could travel free all over India. Eleven human beings my father could take free: two servants, one cook and eight members of the family.

I used to enjoy riding on the train so much. The trains were long, with many seats inside. In those days they were not so crowded. Now they are very crowded; there is no room. Indian trains were like bullock carts — twenty, thirty miles per hour.

My only ambition was to become a ticket collector or inspector like my father. He started out as an ordinary officer of the Assam-Bengal Railway. Then he became head inspector of the whole line. But God didn't fulfil my desire.

Whenever we went on the train, everybody in the family used to fall asleep during the trip, but I could not wait to see the next station. There people used to carry things on their heads, and they had a peculiar way of shouting, "Tea! Betel nut! Ancient Indian cigarettes! Real cigarettes!" and other things. My mother, brothers and sisters all used to sleep, but there was no sleep for me!

Life is nothing short of a joke! Who ever thought in those days of having trains in my name? Now there are two Sri Chinmoy Peace Trains. One runs between America and Canada and the other circles Mount Etna in Sicily.