Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why is there a QUEUE...Inside a Train?! #MUMBAIDIARIES02

It’s been over a month and I had already started feeling like I was a Mumbaikaar. I had travelled to almost all places and local train didn’t scare me anymore. I was comfortable…even confident enough to direct other hapless passengers and help them to know which train heads where.
Things went fine and were finally constant. But as they say “The only constant thing is Change”.

Recently I had moved to Ghatkopar where my cousin stays. I was travelling to CST from Ghatkopar and I was happy because there were fast trains that ply in this route. I would be saving 10 whole minutes and I was sure I would be able to travel more comfortably. So that fine evening I got down from my office planning how the evening would be with that whole extra 10 minutes. I got into the train which was proudly standing in the last platform as if it was ready for a race.  I boarded it and stood near the door hoping that the wind would blow on my sun harassed face. People, as usual, started asking where I had to get down. I pleasantly told “Ghatkopar  ” -that far away land which was 4 or 5 stops away. There were quizzical expressions and I was approached again by one lady who told me that Ghatkopar platform is on the other side. Their expression was if I had boarded a completely different train and I had to take a taxi and rush to another station. All I had to do was move about 5 feet and stand on the other side of the train. I appreciated their help and I said calmly that I know that I have to stand on the other side and shall do so in some time. I thought to myself that I am no longer a newbie here and I can figure out things myself.
It was then that I saw that strange thing! A queue of 5 or 6 people standing disciplined near the opposite door. One tall girl frantically came running from behind me, adjusting her spectacles, asked the ladies in that queue something that I couldn’t hear. But I definitely heard the reply “Haan! Yeh Ghatkopar ka line hai”. I was dumbfounded. The train that too a fast one, had not even started from CST and passengers had already formed a queue for getting down at GHATKOPAR. I sighed. Why is there so much fuss and hurry? I thought to myself .It was then that I observed ladies standing next to me were actually arranged in the same linear fashion. That was the THANE queue. At that point I lost it. I was exhausted by the intensely hot and humid day and I decided to stand my ground. I needed some air and I was in the perfect spot!
Came Byculla, I did not budge. Then came Kurla. I stood my ground but so did all the ladies in the Thane queue. Then ensued a fight. Kurla v/s Thane. People who were to get down at Kurla fiercely pushed their way towards the door demanding that they have to….they just got to get down. If people who were supposed to get down at Kurla were shouting that why Thane log have to block their way then it was countered equally fierce by people who pushed them back saying “All you have is this train? Why couldn’t you board another one..This is a fast one!”.By this time around 50 people were standing in that 5 feet of space I thought I will make it.
I got scared by then and decided to ask for help. I whimpered..”Ghatkopar”. A lady turned around and asked me completely shocked “ Ghatkopar”.I had the expression of “Guilty as charged”.Though she was kind at heart she was very strong and tough .She pulled me out of the thane line and wedged me into the Ghatkopar one.
There is one bad thing about fast trains. They are fast. When it reached Ghatkopar station there was so much of rush for people to get down that people who were standing behind me fell over me and I finally managed to wrench back my limbs from the crowd. I thought I had lost my bag. It usually is very heavy and it weighs down my hand. But supporting around 2 to 3 ladies who were leaning forward, now it felt a lot lighter. My lovely bag just dangled weightlessly now. Long Live Einstein and his wonderful theory of relativity.

Mumbai would never fail to surprise me..not even a single day! But I am loving it!

Thursday, April 28, 2016


M-Indicator App, Just keep it open and be ready! You‘ll be able to find the train and the platform and the time of arrival easily. Everyone told me so. But what they didn’t tell me was to make sure that I put my mobile in the bag and hold my bag tight. Once I found the very right train in the very right platform I had to do gymnastics in one leg to make sure I don’t lose my mobile which was in one hand and my bag which was in the other. #MumbaiLocal Journey begins! Though there was quite a rush, the journey was good and quick. CottonGreen, Dockyard Road, Sand Hurst Road ..Chunabatti, Sewri….the names amused me….and then there was Kurla. I think there is one big Mumbai hidden alone in this place. The sheer number of people who get down and get in here, in this station is humungous. Finally I thought I got a seat…I took my earphones out and was about to enjoy a song when I realized it was the last station. No wonder I got a seat.
Mumbai CST,UNESCO world heritage site, probably is the most visited tourist spot. The footfall everyday must be thousands or may be even more. People rush by, there is no time. If it is to catch the right bus in the morning, then it is to catch the right train in the evening. I have always felt that CST terminal is like a point in relay. The trains barely touch it and then they are off at full speed again…back to Vashi, Panvel ,Andheri…and then back to CST. For them it’s truly not the destination, but the journey that matters.
I looked around, searching for exit. I had to stand and look at both directions. The mere act of standing irritated people. You are supposed to either walk fast or run. That’s the norm. I had to dodge people who were rushing left and right. Finally I found the exit and walked out of the station. I had to go to my office which was near church gate. So I took a bus “CST to CST via Church gate”. I had to get down near Mantralaya. Everyone told me “ It’s very easy, most of the buses stop near Mantralaya”. I got in the bus and took the ticket. Something about me, might have been the way I pronounced Mantralaya, seemed strange to the conductor. I ignored it. I was excited to see around CST, apparently the prime location of Mumbai and the most happening place.

The bus route covered almost every place. It went along Marine drive and the morning sea was just perfect. The small dent in my happiness was that I didn’t know where to get down. There were so many buildings and I had no clue as to which one is Mantralaya. Finally I thought I reached the stop and I rushed to get down. Someone shouted at me from behind. “Ye Mantralaya nahi hai”. The conductor was smiling at me. So I sat down. And for all the stops that came by after that, I used to look back at him and he used to shake his head “Nope…No”! I was getting tensed. He came to me and asked me  “Aap ko kahan jaana hai?” . I told him “Petroleum House and its near Mantralaya”. “Petroleum house...” he pondered. He broadcasted my problem to everyone in the bus. Then everyone started discussing.

“She could get down at XYZ stop….” “She can walk from LIC office.” “She had to board the other bus.” “She should get down here…and walk right…then left…then straight…then right...then left…”!!! So much of confusion.  I noticed that even the driver had joined the discussion as he was driving. I was looking at everyone as they spoke and I meekly said that I can check Google Maps. Laughter erupted ,Google Maps won’t help you was the consensus.Finally they all came to the conclusion and they told me how exactly to reach “Petroleum House” .And the kind driver totally invented a new stop and stopped there to help me manage and find my way. And Yes!! …I did find my way and I safely reached in time to my new office!
Thanks to Mumbaikaars… Love you guys!!