Shiva Naipaul on "the struggle for existence" …

It is raining hard, streams of water gushing down the window glass. Through the blur I can see there are many more people fighting for admission. Some, in desperation, are scaling the sides of the bus, vainly attempting to haul themselves up onto the roof. Agonizing faces peer at me through the blur. In all poor countries the boarding of trains and buses provokes similar frenzies. Otherwise polite and kindly people suddenly seem to lose their sense of proportion, to panic and run amok. The mood is highly infectious. It forces on one a realization of the horrors implied by the phrase “the struggle for existence.” For a moment or two, the struggle for existence and for admission into the bus or train must become virtually indistinguishable to those involved. Life concentrates itself into a single overwhelming desire; the single, overwhelming fear of being left behind …

North of South: An African Journey” by Shiva Naipaul

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