LOVE IT …TO LIVE IT ! My experience with the Mumbai trains!
The smell of mumfali’s in the air,students running down the stairs so they don’t miss the approaching train,chaiwala’s sneaking into the train to get some quick business,a herd of men hanging out of the second class compartment in the passing trains,a lady screaming at another for stamping her foot while finding their way into the compartment,the constant broadcasts of train schedules and the classic sound the train makes each time it halts signifying its entrance,such was the scenario i witnessed while i took on my first train travel experience.So with school and junior college a 15 min rickshaw drive away ,train travel experiences were pretty much non existent for me,but now with medical college not close enough it became a necessity A teeny bit of train fear always found its place in me but we’re not blessed with choices each time so ‘bring it on’ was all I had left.The first day left me freaked out ,’kahan phas gayi?” was all i thought .I wasted 20 mins of waiting at the wrong platform,had myself pushed right through the compartment entrance the moment the train stopped and a few 100’s lying in my pocket became someone’s ‘chori of the day’! *sigh*The running around platforms got me dead tired that day.The first two weeks I kept grumbling and cursing the rickshaw association for being so expensive…..but then as the daily station tamasha started feeling normal i happened to notice those little things that make this simple journey so symbolic in every mumbaiker’s life.I’ve seen People from different backgrounds and completely unknown to each other bond over garam garam poha and Siddhivinayak ka prasad in their morning journeys..these small breakfast conversations over the years make them a family ..a family that meets each day,talks about how smart today’s children have become and how the nosy neighbour won’t stop gossiping about their lives!No,when they meet,you won’t find them just smile at each other and then get back to listening to their favourite music for the rest of journey.My daily travel is pretty long but rarely has boredom struck me during those hours for there will always be either two aunties gossiping about how ‘suneeta’ from work had an extra marital affair and got divorced (yes with the characteristic “TUNE NAHI SUNA!?”) or a young junior college couple having one of their weekly fights…pathetic as I sound sometimes these ongoing events can be entertaining in their own way!
A few incidents left me smiling..how good It felt to see love and care for even strangers still exist.As a group of ladies awaited the next train on the platform an aged lady joined them seconds before the train came …she was obviously one of the last to get in and the pushing and pulling was beyond her scope to manage..but then a kind middle aged woman came out and helped her in ,making sure she even got a seat.On another occasion a girl who got off the train was heading her way out of the station and a pervert around sent across some whistles and idiotic comments …in a moment few good hearted boys intervened and bashed the air out of his lungs.I bet that creep but would think a hundred times before repeating such disgusting behaviour ever again.
Beyond the dirty platforms,the daily fights in the compartments and the robberies, the Mumbai trains tell a story each day..stories of me and you,stories that bring out our lovely city’s spirit.Be it borivali or churchgate….andheri or panvel..no corner does it spare! My fear for trains is now a distant memory…in fact i can vouch for the fact that they’re truly the ‘Jaan’ of this city 😀