Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mumbai Local - The Ladies Compartment

The lifeline of Mumbai...I just had to post something on this! 
9.57, 10.03, 11.28... These are some of the train timings which are critical for Mumbaikars commuting via the local trains. This is the fastest means of travel in this city. The train halts at each station for not more than 30 seconds and during these 30 seconds hoards of people alight and board the train. I tried to put a few pictures in this post so while reading you know what I'm talking about :)
Here it is...
The rush to get in...
and 30 seconds are up...

Hanging by the door is dangerous but is fun when the train is empty.

During peak hours it can be hell to get on and off the train if you were boarding from / getting off the stations in between.  For beginners it is a skill to able to get in and then navigate further inside the compartment.  The rush is mostly at the door and they are people who would be getting off.  Here's a glimpse of inside the ladies compartment. Its not so bad once you get on.

Only packed near the door
Such situations provide a good working conditions for the pick pockets and one should be really careful with their belongings.  It does not matter what class you are travelling in, it is the same rush everywhere during peak hours.  The rush hours can brings out the worst in some people and during this time you get to observe human behaviour and its effects on others. After so many years of commuting on the local I have concluded this:

There are 6 kinds of travellers:
1- Rooster - These are looking to pick on people and can't pass up any opportunity of creating a scene, raising their voice and if nothing then they would at least grunt irritably. If people were peeking in to read the paper they had bought they will immediately fold it and start listening to music or just stare out the window.

2- Dove - The goody two shoes.  These are the peace makers when people fight or try to be the big sistas (sic) by giving free advice that nobody wants. Very few of this kind in the ladies compartment. 

3 - Panda - These are the poor people who sometimes get pushed around. They listen and believe when people tell them they are getting off the next station (when they actually are not) and give way.  They don't bother themselves with arguments - live and let live is their way of life. They are sometimes also the ones who peer into the newspaper the next guy is reading.

4- Turtles - These are people with an I don't care attitude.  In a crowded train they stamp your foot (wearing a pointed heel) and pass by without a sorry and best they would just turn around to see who pushed them and then still do nothing about it.  They won't budge and give way, they just don't care - theirs is a every woman for herself world. These specimen are sometime seen yapping away into their phone and oblivious to the rest of the world.

5- Lambs - These are the people travelling for the first time.  They have no idea how long till the station they have to get off or which side they have to exit from.  They get on with great difficulty and it is with greater difficulty that they manage to alight through the crowd.

6-  The Flockers - They are buzy in gossips, in a game of cards or just singing away to glory.

The situations created when these characters clash is different each time.  The time spent travelling on a local can vary from 5 minutes to 2 hours or more. Similar to life which is a journey, people don't always think of the destination but just the journey at that moment.  They sometimes fight for that little extra place to hold on or to stretch their necks out the door.  A little bit more - this desire can push people quiet a lot.

The Author of this post is Nivedita Gopinathan. She is the Co-Author at this blog. She can be reached at http://heregoeznothing.blogspot.com/