A lot of articles,stories,books have been written on the subject of Mumbai’s local trains.Even though today’s post is on the same subject,I think it might be a little different because I am writing from personal experience.
When I was in school travelling by train was something I didn’t like at all.I would always ask my parents how we were travelling before we went anywhere and my mood would depend on the mode of transport we were travelling in! But once college started there was no option other than the local train if I wanted to reach for my lectures on time.So I started travelling by train.Not because I wanted to but because I had to.
Even though this was true till a couple of years back,I wouldn’t say the same thing today.That is because I have come to realise the importance of the local train in an average Mumbaikar’s life.It is true that the locals are the lifeline of Mumbai,if the trains stop the city will stop etc. etc.But what is even more true is that Mumbai’s local trains are a way of life.You can’t live with them and you most definitely can’t live without them.
Everyday crores of people travel by these trains,so many lives,so many different situations,so many sorrows and so many joys.Every single person having his/her own identity and yet having the same worries and also happiness in the same simple things.Its amazing when you think about every person as a separate individual in the throng of humans crowding the trains and the platforms.
There are people from different strata of society travelling together in one compartment and hence everyday there is something new one learns about society and about the lives of people from different backgrounds.There are women reading books,magazines and newspapers,there are women sharing their family grievances,daughters-in-law talking about their mothers-in-law and vice versa,students talking about their teachers and teachers talking about their students.There are groups of young girls laughing uproariously on a private joke and old aunties giving them angry looks and discussing how this generation is so spoilt and how their generation had so much more sanskaar.There’s a group of women who are celebrating someone’s birthday,there’s another group who is eating some delicacy one of them has prepared and then there are those who are travelling alone.They are usually either reading,listening to music,sleeping or taking in the scene around them and sometimes wondering things like,’What a nice kurta!’,’Wow,that girl has such nice,long hair..’ etc. etc.
There is also,always,atleast one woman who is intent on getting into a fight.The reason could be anything:not getting a seat,an elbow in the ribs,a big bag,long hair,the list is endless.Some people don’t need a reason to fight,they just like to however trivial the reason maybe.
You get to see all sorts of people in the train.I believe its a great learning experience!
Then there are those who sell all sorts of things,hair clips,hairbands,earrings,lockets,rings,plastic pouches,mirrors,brushes,needle sets,even dresses and saris.There’s an entire market!If you have absolutely nothing to do in the entire journey,this small market provides a lot of entertainment!
Most of these sellers are women,physically challenged people,young boys.The women,many a times,have young kids(who are really very cute).Then there are women passengers and young girls who play with the child,enquire about the baby’s age.Its all very heartening.When you look at these people selling various things and living on platforms you cannot help but realise how lucky you are in life to have everything that you do.
That’s why I believe that everyday there is a lesson in a simple train journey.It depends on how we look at it.
I could go on writing because its a vast topic and involves many experiences.It has become an absolute essential part of my life.I wouldn’t have said the same a few years back.
Thats all for today then.Until next time…..