Thursday, July 27, 2006


Here is my mandatory piece on Mumbai Locals. Any blogger worth the space he blogs on would have written something on it. I am just continuing the tradition.

Mumbai locals are a universe unto themselves. They would form the perfect backdrop for a scary short story by Stephen King, something on the lines of The Trucks or Christine. The trains take on a totally different look when they are desolate. When you are returning late in the night after paying homage to Bacchus, traveling in a local can be totally awesome experience. Sitting by the window letting the air punch you in your face. The handles swaying in perfect rhythm; almost dancing to the beats made by the train as it curves out gently. The very handles which are tugged at by ugly hands, the handles that are desperately held onto by the weak ones, those handles are dancing as they get respite from all the sweat and grime for a few hours. It is almost hypnotic watching them sway. You close your eyes and can see an image of hundreds of people fighting for every square inch and pulling and getting pulled in all directions. You open your eyes and see the swaying handles and calmness in that movement. You close your ears and you can hear the stupid, angry, ego boosting fights. You open them and all you hear is the wind blowing and the train going chuk chuk chuk. It is an experience to be had. Especially if you are drunk!

Let Kurla come. This was our favorite expression in the early days. It is at Kurla that most of the people get down and we get a chance to get a seat. The chances slowly became zero obeying the law of averages. But the expression survived. It is almost mystical looking at the crowd as Kurla station approaches. Most of the people board the train from the right side of the compartment. The Kurla platform is on the right side. Most of the people who board the train beyond Vashi have their backs towards the Kurla platform. You got to visualize this. This mass of people starts slowly turning on their heels. There is no space for maneuver. But slowly and steadily they are changing their direction. Seeing them reminded me of the magnetic dipoles which get aligned in presence of a larger force. Kurla is that force which beckons everyone turns everyone towards itself. The slow movement combined with the mad rush to get outside is an amazing thing to be seen standing at the sides of the train.

My favorite stretch on the local is between Mankhurd and Vashi. Eight minutes long stretch cutting above the sea. It looks beautiful in the evening during sunset. I also like the stretch between Juinagar and Nerul. Lush greenery on either sides of the track; the waterfalls on the hills to your left; the strong wind refreshing you after a long journey. The best part is that I get down at Nerul and go home. Home.

What is your favorite stretch on the Mumbai Local?


Blogger Chasing said...

Ah, The God blogs!

29/7/06 12:33 PM  

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