India’s Crowded Railways Offer 40,000 Miles Of Different Routes


There are many trains in India, the railways reportedly occupying more than 40,000 miles of routes from ocean to mountain and everything in between the subcontinent’s borders. Still, I’ve only been on an actual train once in India, having one time taken it to Bangalore in lieu of a car. It’s a great way to enjoy the scenery (provided your train isn’t packed to the gills). Nonetheless, there’s a serious Ashtanga train that makes its way from points across the globe to Mysore and to the doors of the Ashtanga Yoga Institute on which I’ve taken several rides. And the train has never been so crowded in my experience as it has been on this, my fourth trip along this particular yoga route. I arrived a month plus into the ‘Mysore’ season, which runs approximately 6 months from October to March/April and the yoga shala is packed. This year, I’m definitely riding the caboose.  I was a part of the 4:30am crew of students by the time I was midway through my last trip to Mysore. My practice time today was…. 8:45am!!! By that hour, a couple hundred students from Europe, the US, South America, Asia and beyond had already gone through their series’. When I arrived there were 20 students still waiting in the foyer. By the time I was done with my practice, I was the last one in the room. Outside, I got the last coconut of the day from the man who serves the post-practice hordes. Actually, I didn’t mind one bit. I had plenty of time to get myself ready in the morning, make a SKYPE call home, write and enjoy a tea on the terrace. The room was spacious, I got plenty of attention from teacher and assistants and there were no shouts of ‘next’ or errant kicks in the head. For at least the next few days, I’ll take it.

Deborah Crooks
Deborah Crooks ( is a writer, performing songwriter and recording artist based in San Francisco whose lyric driven and soul-wise music has drawn comparison to Lucinda Williams, Chrissie Hynde and Natalie Merchant.

Singing about faith, love and loss, her lyrics are honed by a lifetime of writing and world travel while her music draws on folk, rock, Americana and the blues. She released her first EP "5 Acres" in 2003 produced by Roberta Donnay, which caught the attention of Rocker Girl Magazine, selecting it for the RockerGirl Discoveries Cd. In 2007, she teamed up with local producer Ben Bernstein to complete "Turn It All Red" Ep, followed by 2008's "Adding Water to the Ashes" CD, and a second full-length CD "2010. She's currently working on a third CD to be released in 2013.

Deborah's many performance credits include an appearance at the 2006 Millennium Music Conference, the RockerGirl Magazine Music Convention, IndieGrrl, at several of the Annual Invasion of the GoGirls at SXSW in Austin, TX, the Harmony Festival and 2009's California Music Fest, MacWorld 2010, Far West Fest and many other venues and events. She toured the Northwest as part "Indie Abundance Music, Money & Mindfulness" (2009) with two other Bay Area artists, and followed up with "The Great Idea Tour of the Southwest in March 2010 with Jean Mazzei.
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