Mumbai Local

For those of you who don’t know how it is like traveling in a Mumbai local, let me tell you it is an experience of a lifetime. 😛

Before coming to Mumbai, I was very worried about traveling in local trains. I had heard a lot about the accidents, huge angry crowd and bomb blasts. So much so that I felt sick even by the thought of being a passenger in one of those ugly, crowded trains.

But, as they say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. I am in Mumbai and I have to do as the Mumbaikaars do. Traveling in local trains is a part & parcel of Mumbai life… You cannnot survive without it. I was made to travel in the local trains…

These trains are the lifelines of this city. They are the fastest means of travel in a city which is mired by traffic problems. Spread over 450 route kilometers and operation in excess of 2000 daily trains, it is probably one of the toughest to manage kinda systems. It carries more than 6.94 million passengers everyday… Can you guess the scale of its operations?

The importance of every single train is such that if one train gets cancelled on one route some day, then the passengers in the next train in that route are doomed… They would not even have proper breathing space.

Now, there is this concept of traveling with/against the flow of traffic. In the morning time, people travel towards South Mumbai, where most of the businesses take place… which of course is the most commercialized place in Mumbai… People come from the western suburbs, Navi Mumbai and Central Mumbai… So what happens is that all trains going to south are very crowded… And they are so crowded that a person who is not used to traveling here would find it very hard to even get into the compartment. My friend also told me that it is actually worse in first class compartments sometimes…

I thankfully travel against the flow… If I catch a train from Bandra to Jogeshwari, where my office is (before 8:15 A.M.), then the I can sit easily and travel. If I am late by 15 minutes, then I have to stand but it is manageable and I don’t have to smell the deo sweat of others. Similarly, in the evening when I come back to Bandra, I am traveling against the flow because then the crowd is moving upwards in the opposite direction… That makes me like the Mumbai locals. 😀 And why not, they act in my favor.

It is actually fun to travel in Mumbai locals… Put your earphones on and listen to nice songs, all the while, feeling the touch of cool air coming from outside…

Overall, it is not exactly a bad experience… In fact, it is a fun experience… I don’t hate to say this that I like traveling by Mumbai locals.

Aamchi Mumbai!

BTW, I have noticed one thing that people here in Mumbai are always in a rush. They want to get into the trains before anyone else… they take seats before anyone else… Even if the trains are empty and the station is at least 3-4 minutes away, they rush to the door and stand in queue to get down… I sometimes find it strange until I realized today in the morning that I was also doing the same thing. Does that mean that I am actually changing and becoming more like a Mumbaikaar? Only time will tell…