Thursday, May 17, 2012

From a Railway Carriage


For a majority of Mumbaiites, the local train is more of a necessary evil rather than a romantic sojourn: come on, there is NOTHING romantic about squeezing yourself inside an already bursting 2nd class compartment, hanging on to the door for dear life AND hoping to be pushed and shoved close enough to the other end of the compartment because the blasted Dadar platform is on the other side.

But to me, who has never traveled regularly at peak hour traffic, the local train still holds some amount of the old world charm.

Like a child, I like waiting in anticipation and craning my neck, standing on the platform, waiting for the train, slightly anxious, hoping that I would be able to board the 2nd-class ladies compartment (and not get into a first class one by mistake, guiltily keeping an eye out for the TT)…

Like a mesmerized Durga in Pather Panchali, I like the way the train majestically halts on the platform, and like a chameleon, changes its colours as a stream of people rushes out, while another stream struggles inside…

Like a seasoned localite, I like planting myself by the window, put my feet up and listen to music, leaning against the dirty wall, idle thoughts running through my head…

Like a cash-strapped teenager, I like browsing through the hairclips and accessories, as the kindly vendor offers me a generous price…

Like a college student new in Mumbai, I like eavesdropping on the random conversations around me, admiring the camaraderie as the middle-aged women share their problems…

Like a wonderstruck traveler, I like to stare away, as the obscure stations pass me by, “Faster than fairies, faster than witches, Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches”…

Like a schoolgirl, I find myself reciting one of my favourite poems by Robert Louis Stevenson,

All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by
.”

Life from a railway carriage is a tapestry of reality with a tinge of fantasy, unconquered, mystic yet alluring

7 comments:

Smita said...

Oh! I alos love eavesdropping in a train! What all we ghet to here there :D

Plus what I also enjoy is reading the ads pasted on walls, total riot they are!!!

Where do you exactly stay in Mumbai? do u ever come to Navi Mumbai side?

~ Mohit said...

For me, a northie to the core, locals have always kind of summed up Mumbai to me. Always on the run, overcrowded, full of informal education on property,stocks, philisophy et al which is something u will never never come to hear in delhi metro if I have to draw a parallel. Metro is dead that ways.
Having said that and refraining from saying that I love locals here (coz I miss the comfort of my car) one thing it has allowed me is to read. And read a lot. In a damn busy life here if I get to read religiously for arnd 2 hrs every day then no complaints.
Comment longer than post alert... Bbye

xibi said...

Never been to Mumbai... :( :( :(

Nefertiti said...

@smita

yes, yes, yes: the ads are indeed hilarious!!! and I stay in powai, so navi mumbai is quite out of the way, but I can go places (literally) for home made food... hint hint!!

@mohit
yea, the locals do give you the taste of the mumbai life, in all its shades. and I am sure traveling everyday when it's more of a necessity than a luxury is a whole different ballgame. but, yea, the reading part is quite true.

P.S.
the disclaimer should be at the beginning of the comment!

@xibi
well, high time you came here. reality is quite exciting when you are just visiting :)

~ Mohit said...

I told u na that I dont write with word limit in mind :-) also, who puts disclaimer in the beginning :-) Disclaimer is not something that is intended to discourage. It is just to educate that you keep doing wat u do,reading et al, but keep in mind such and such ...
*comment longer than post alert again...

prachetash said...

Bombay locals. Churchgate bound. Afternoon sun. Sparsely crowded. College students, stolen glances.Wooden handles, swaying steadily.

Nostalgia washed post. :)

Nefertiti said...

@mohit
i see that twitter has failed to have any effect on you. sigh...

@prachetash
nostalgia for you, now that you are a high flying consultant. for us, regular mortals, it's still the harsh reality...