Thursday, September 25, 2008
High "Local" Spirits
18 minutes left and still not a single autorikshaw in sight, will again be late today. Finally one rikshaw. Asked the driver to drive as fast as possible(when running late I assume my three-wheeler will take the speed of Formula1 car). Ran through mud, water, gutkha packets, plastic bags, left over food, slipped in between. Oh! by the way that was the station subway. Somehow managed to get the 7.51a.m Churchgate Fast Local on time. It was entering the platform. Am prepared!! Dupatta properly tied around my waist like a kisan, my purse held close to my chest, absolutely alarmed not to miss a nano second to jump and grab the rod of the door..2,3,1..Jump, take right,push ,window seat, yessssss…finally am inside the train and on my coveted seat as if that’s my only calling in life. Now I look around, the train is full even before I cud bat an eyelid. People who are yet to practice on their long jump are standing. All they have to do is stand strategically near the door and the wave of crowd will place them inside the train. That’s the way to alight the train also:-)Some trying to sit even on half an inch of seat, God knows what comfort they derive out of it except for the fact that they have a place to “sit” where 85% of their body mass is outside the seatJ, some are still fighting for the “fourth” seat meant for three people. In between all these some are reading novels, some newspapers, some prayer books and some are doing what they like to do the most…..gossiping, In a hours time you will know how Mrs. D’souza prefers to bath her dog, Mrs.Gupta settles her scores with her monster-in-law, how Priya changed her boyfriend for the nth time, how the new lady in the office is wooing her boss and how they hate to talk about others!! You must give credit to people who travel by local train in Mumbai for the sense of angle, space and endurance they have. There will be eight people standing in a row meant for four in an angle that they don’t push each other even if that means standing on one foot!! Then there are birthday celebrations, verbal cooking classes, discussions on Big Boss nomination, Sonia Gandhi’s sari collections and antaksharis. There is also brisk business going on for vendors selling kiwi green hair clips to Chinese made hot water bags. In midst of this chaos some people manage to sleep peacefully and they will get up exactly when their station comes!! The day starts like this for me.. and for thousands of other ladies in this city. Traveling in Mumbai locals is in itself an ordeal but when the train reaches Churchgate Station all you will get to see is through professionals who mean business, all charged up to face a new day, Ladies who have left behind their kids and a well managed home to give their best to their career. Their enthusiasm and energy level is contagious. Theres no time to stand and brood and complain. Only one mantra..lets get on with life. In the evening they again become mothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends, daughters. They can discuss sub prime crisis with as much concern as they can discuss their “train-friends’” personal woes. That’s the spirit I love about this city. We have every reason to complain about how we waste two hours commuting one way every day in the least comfortable scenario but we bring back home smile and cheerful face for that home waiting. I cant help but salute these women for their courage to live life to the fullest. They are the real winners reporting victory every single day of their life. Way to go girls. Mum-baaies meri jaan!!
- Pallavi Ghosh
- I am a die-hard optimist currently staying in Mumbai , working as an Investment Banker. Lately I discovered writing is like therapy for me. It works every time I pen down my thoughts. I am a believer of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism and have discovered that the true essence of our living is happiness. So if you ask me what do I do. I would say I am trying to be happy. As they say its Pursuit of HappinessJ I like to read books, every type of books as long as I gain something from them. I love to travel and plan to see as many places as possible. I love to spend time with my family. Nothing gives more joy than coming back to a loving family and I love adventure be it adventure sports or backpacking to an unknown place. Life for me, is unfolding all limitless possibilities.