Mumbai Local Trains – The Lifeline like no other
Fellow Mumbaikars reading this will agree, nod their heads uncontrollably, smirk and smile and think, “Hey that’s me!” or say, “No no, at least I don’t do that”. People from other cities will wonder, be surprised, disgusted and never want to come to Mumbai or want to travel in this city. Whoever you are, you will love to read next few lines.
- First and foremost aim when getting in the train, is to get that window seat. I think people must be planning a strategy of getting that window, when they leave from home. How they will tackle the crowd, which side of platform will they stand and when exactly will they get in? And if they get the window seat, the priceless look of triumph on their face, and the annoyance that you didn’t get a window seat fills you with an emotion that I have not been able to name yet.
- Only if you are really brave (or really stupid) will you dare to catch a local at Kurla or Borivali at peak hours. This definition does not apply anymore because brave heart or not, stupid or not, it is a necessity to walk into that dungeon. I have opted out of it and travel extra miles just to ensure that I reach home or office alive.
- Everybody has “school friends”, “college friends”, “office friends”, “building friends”. But only in Mumbai can you have “Train friends”. I try so had not to talk to those ladies sitting besides me that I come across as a rude bitch. If may god forbid, you talk to them, you get sucked into it like quick sand. Before you know, you will be carrying cakes, cold drinks, chips, saris, “haldi-kumkum”, confetti, and maybe even fireworks for occasions in the train like birthdays, Shravan, Diwali, Holi, Navratri and the list is endless. Phew!
Image Courtesy: @PeculiarBlend
- Even though the Mumbai Locals are our lifeline, we do not believe that the trains will arrive until the indicator says 1 min left. In Harbour line (for people who don’t know, Harbour line is an extension of Central Line), we do not even have that privilege. The trains are late but there is no way to find out when the train will arrive.
- Nobody and no body part of yours will remain untouched once you get into a local at peak hours. Enjoy the most effective, full body massage for free!
Image Courtesy: @PeculiarBlend
- There is no space in the train to move your butt for even an inch and people getting in at the next station say, “Arrey bhai andar jao. Itni jagah hai!”. And people getting down scream, “Poora train khali hai! Aaramse chado!”. First class ladies compartment is horrible. They ask you to move in when there is no space at all and if you don’t, they squeeze in hurting a dozen women in the process just to prove that there is enough place to fart.
- You can experience how a conveyer belt works just by standing near the exit. You just get pushed out without even trying.
- The most annoying behaviour and I don’t know why they do it; people want to sit badly when the train is packed and they stand at the door when the train is vacant.
- It is amazing how people have no sense of circumference. No matter how fat they are, they want to sit on the fourth seat. And if they are thin and other three people are fat, they still want to sit on the fourth seat.
- 4 stations before Kurla, that is Mankhurd, people line up to get down at Kurla as if they are going to set foot on earth after a long long time. People getting in Chembur would be most troubled because of this. Same is the case in Ghatkoper, Thane, Andheri and Borivali.
- Some people just pretend to have gone to sleep so that no one asks them for the seat. Some are so kind that you can’t sit in their place because they have to get down quite far and they offered their seat just because you are tired or something. I offer my seats to old ladies and pregnant women, no matter how far I am yet to go. But you find all kinds of good and not so good people in the train.
- Late for office? Blame the trains. Who is going to check? Trains are anyway always late. Your boss will buy it!
All I could think of was the struggle and hassle every Mumbaikar faces while traveling, but locals are our lifeline. You deal with nasty people everyday but then there are kind hearts who comfort you even though they are not related to you in anyway. As much as I hate the concept of train friends, sometimes only they and not the family can provide the cushion you need when you are sad and be genuinely happy for you when you are happy. As somebody said once, “You can take out a person from Mumbai but you cannot take out Mumbai from the person.”