As we crossed Howrah bridge, I couldn’t tell whether my feeling of vertigo was due to the diarrhoea-induced dehydration, the violation of my eardrums from the incessant beeping car horns or the elderly quadriplegic man burning his gaze through me. We continued over the Hooghly River from the Kolkata side, towards the red-brick architecture of Howrah Station. The British were gone, but the legacy of the East Indian Railway Company remained through the colonial hubris emanating from this imposing structure.

The train brought us southwards, further inland. There was no respite from the dead summer heat…