Just Chatting with Life

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

8:54 Local !!

I must admit that when i had first come to Mumbai, i was terrified of using the locals ! The maddening rush of the mornings & evenings had me sufficiently intimidated. I was always wondering why the hell is this city always in such a huge hurry. The distances were terrificly and frighteningly large. If from Mulund i had to go Colaba, it merited a whole days effort. And that too invloved numerous vehicle changes. Take an auto to the station, then get onto the local, get off the local, get a taxi/bus and reach your destination. Repeat the steps to get back.

And the locals, ah.... the locals !! What can i say !! There is no other experience like the Mumbai locals . The local is so jampacked that you cant even move inside the compartment. An god forbid if you are stuck at the wrong end of the compartment when your station has arrived. There is no human force on earth that will enable you to get off the local within time. And then again if you are at the correct end but it is not your stop, then again god help you. You will be carried onto the platform with the swarm getting off. Dont even think of getting onto the local once everyone has alighted. Of course this does not include the charming experiences one has inside the compartments.

Being Mumbai, of course it is very humid and you are hosting a thousand waterfalls 5 minutes into the journey. If you have the disadvantage of height, then your troubles pile up. Your nose is pushed up against somebody's sweet smelling armpit. You cant see anything besides a thousand varities of shirts and trousers. If you are lucky enough, you can snatch some fresh air from the window. There are a thousand voices babblig all around you. You just wonder at people's ability to carry on conversations amidst such a crowd. But wait, there are more surprises in store........ There is a guy sleeping soundly while hanging on to the bar !! You are astounded and your astonishment increases manifolds when you notice that he is not the only one sleeping. Your eyes widen further when you see an impeccably dressed gentleman calmly reading the newspaper !! Suddenly there is a sound and you jump . You turn around and see a hawker trying to peddle his wares to you. You are close to insanity when suddenly a station comes and you realize that you are in the way !!

You get off ( Somehow ...... ) and do the job you had come to do ! But you have the daunting prospect of going back again. So, with fear written in large CAPS across your face, you reach the ticket counter. Of course you dont have the exact change. So you must face the burning stare of the counter clerk and the person standing behind you. You get the ticket and then are faced with the huge task of finidng the correct platform. You shamefacedly ask a samaritan who then points to the correct platform. But again there is the added complication of a slow/ fast train. And once you get on the train, the ordeal starts again.

So does the Mumbai Local suck ?? NO WAY yaar ...... IT WORKS . Period. No other mode of transport can move you so fast in Mumbai . No other way to avoid the endless traffic- jams. No other way for more than a million commuters who use it daily. No other way for the tens of thousands of jobs it supports . No other way to feel the real ethos of Mumbai . No other way to feel the lifeline of Mumbai . No other way to experience the calmness and serenity of the maddening crowd. And that is why when the locals shut shop, Mumbai Grinds to a halt. And thats why when i think of Mumbai, I think of the local . And i think of the local with a broad smile on my face and a warmth in my Heart !!

Happy Journeys


Post a Comment

<< Home