In my last post Irritation-hood of the Travelling Pants I mentioned somewhere that the local trains are the lifeline of Bombay. This is one hundred percent true. Millions of people take the train to work, school, home and everywhere over and above and under and inside.
Having said that, I have to share that there are some rules and prerequisites you should abide by if you are an outsider and considering riding on a train. Every aethist will start praying if these aren’t followed. It’s hilarious, nerve wracking and adventurous (sometimes scary I would think) all rolled together.
- Wear your adventurous hat before getting into any train for the first time.
- Forget about personal space. It doesn’t exist on the trains.
- If you are claustrophobic, you ought to be forbidden from riding on trains.
- DO NOT try to ride on a CST bound or Churchgate bound train at peak hours. Somewhere between 7:00 a.m and 9:00 a.m to anytime after 5:00 p.m Monday to Friday.
- It’s absolutely impossible to get in without having your own group of friends who will pull you in or give you even two feet space (literally your two feet to stand on).
- In a space for three people to sit, four people will squeeze in. Even if it means sitting on a quarter bum.
- Train gangs will prevent you from even entering if you are trying to get in on a Virar fast.
- Be prepared to be heckled and manhandled if you get down at Andheri or Borivali if you are on a Virar fast.
- However much deo you use, you will still smell sweaty and dirty and stinky.
- You can buy anything from utensils to hair clip and combs to trinkets and handkerchiefs to snacks and drinks. The cheapest you might find.
- People love to hang out of the doors even if there is place inside. On that rare occasion.
- There will be groups on the trains who will reserve a place for their own friends boarding two or three station away. DO NOT MESS with them, if you care about your life.
- Indicators are frequently incorrect. Wait on the overhead bridge and then make a dash for the platform once you see the train approaching in the distance.
- There are different compartments for men and women!!!
- If you are of the feminine gender, get into the men’s compartment. You’re treated like a queen. Try no such stunts during peak hour though.
- If you are a man, DO NOT EVEN TRY TO GET INTO THE WOMEN’S compartment. You’ll be heckled and slaughtered.
- Old ladies are anything but the quintessential sweet dames you’ve seen in the movies. They are absolute b?/#%€*. They will first tell you how you have no manners and treat the elderly badly. And then go on and give you the choicest of swear words.
- There is never a ticket checker during peak hours. They get scared because of the crowds which run into millions and billions. If you are a human-phobic, don’t even attempt travelling by train. This is not for you.
- Having said that, if you are a regular you will definitely find someone or a few who love you and will do anything to make your journey comfortable. They classify as your train friends. (Don’t ask, Indians have school friends, child hood friends, chaddi buddies- friends you’ve knows since you were in your diapers, college friends, work friends, train friends, taxi friends, bus friends, walking friends, yoga friends….oh gosh, the list is never ending).
- When you try to get out, just wait at the door. You will be automatically be pushed out. Basically, DO NOT stand at the door until just before your station.
If you have any funny incidents while travelling on local trains in Bombay, please write down your account in the comments below. I would love to read them. Not to mention there will be a discussion of its own if there are a few.