Ever come across a Mumbai resident who hasn’t travelled in Mumbai locals? I seriously doubt that. No matter how posh your lifestyle, everyone at some point in time, may have considered the convenience of travelling by trains, whether to avoid traffic or to save up on cash or may be both. Compared to shelling out more for a bus ticket, or fuel for your car, and spending an hour or two for a journey that would take merely half an hour by train; road travels are definitely ruled out in favour of the swaying rhythm of a Mumbai local. But what makes the local trains in Mumbai all the more special is the fact that no matter how crowded the train, there is always space for one more. How does that work, nobody knows?
As a regular traveller, I have had my share of extraordinary experiences on my daily commute that has made me a firm believer in the fact that anything is possible in Mumbai. And for those who haven’t experienced the rush of a Mumbai local travel, this is something you should definitely not miss out on. Because the things you learn and experience in a local train in the City of Dreams is something, you can never learn anywhere else on earth. To sum it all up, here are some of them to tickle your funny bone.
1. A push is all you need
You see a train arriving, and the crowd is more than you can bear. Do you miss the train in hopes of catching a comparatively emptier one? Of course not! All you need do is simply stand right in the front of the door and wait for the crowd to push you in. You can try the same thing while you’re getting off the train.
2. Life- a race
The train stops at one of the most crowded stations, and you hear the sound of rushing feet – almost like a herd of elephants would sound – and the race begins. The race to claim a seat, and one of the biggest life lessons learnt right there.
3. You finally own something
After every station you cross, you hear the magical words “kidhar utrege?” and you are filled with a sense of pride where you feel that your existence is worth something. Who cares if you don’t own the railways, as long as you are in that seat, it is yours to do with!
Those of you who travel in second class compartments would surely know the joy of shopping from the comfort of your seats while vendor comes right up to you and display their goods. Nothing better than warming the seats while you bargain for a product you aren’t gonna purchase in the end. At least we learn some bargaining skills in there.
5. Latest movies for free
Why spend to watch a movie in a theatre when you can watch the latest movies, reality shows, and serials for free along with the man, or woman, sitting right next to you!
6. Anger management
Hardly a day goes by without some or the other person starting out a fight (verbal or physical) in a local train. While it is a great source of entertainment for some, it could help you to get that anger management training you are reluctant to admit you need.
7. BO Alert
What can’t be perceived even with numerous interactions can be figured out in just one train travel together – body odour. No matter where you turn, you are assaulted by the negligence of people foregoing deos and perfumes. One good thing- you finally figure out how long you can hold your breath without passing out.
8. Size matters
Being an average sized person can be a disadvantage in a local train journey. The tinier you are, the easier you can slink by (or be pushed around) and the bigger you are, the easier you can push the others aside to make room for yourself.
9. Information Overload
Want to know who is dating whom, who cooked what, and what people’s weekend plans are? Just listen in on any conversation around you. You never know you might get a little inspiration to make that delicious and crispy paneer recipe too!
10. Your level of flexibility
Are your yoga positions terrible? Worry not! Just get on a crowded train at any station and unravel your level of flexibility through the various bends and turn you make to let that huge lady pass by. You also get to strengthen your arms while you are hanging onto the train railing with all your strength. Who needs to spend in the gym or on a personal trainer? Not me!
If you haven’t experienced this yet, it’s time to board a Mumbai local!