I plodded my way at Dadar station, waiting with bated breath for the local to Chattrapathi Shivaji Terminus. The train would be running late, crazy rumors are doing the rounds. I kicked a storm as I tried to put a patient face and attempt to control my hyper self. No, that cannot be. Certainly, not in Mumbai where every five minutes, a local chugs its way. I am feeling drowsy. The craziest thing I can do is sleep on the bench, among swathe of human masses, ever ready to pounce their fist inside the local train.
I heave a sign of relief. Suddenly, a train is slowly approaching the station and shakes me out of my slumber. Get set! Ready! Sprint! Dash inside! The inner self tells. I turn and furtively look around. The station suddenly seems like Wankhede Stadium in Churchgate vying for their slow local, their hero, Sachin. Blame it on the rain that is holding the city at hostage. It’s scary! Today, I lack mental and physical strength to jostle with the infuriated crowd to storm my way inside the jam-packed local. Oh! Lord! Will I ever get inside this crazy train? Incredible Mumbai, you are such a bundle of contradictions, at times!
I have no time to think, gotta be on my toes and ready to fight my way toward the goal post. As the train halts, I focus my eyes on the door, ‘The finish line is that way’. The spirit of Usain Bolt is entering my body and I thrust the back pack, pushes the body and legs as if I am batting at the stadium, my body squeezed like Orange, pushing few homo-sapiens, almost suffering a blow on the back as someone’s elbow reaches my face. I made it in the nick of time, holding my hand tightly to the spec that could have easily landed on the railway track, to be consumed by the fast local zooming its way in full speed.
Like the ping pong ball, I land on the berth facing the window and feel like patting myself, ‘well done, Boy.’ What a fight it’s been and totally worth the effort of battling my way inside the ‘life-line’ of Mumbai. I barely had time to revel in my victory when I felt surrounded by a mass of menacing looks. It got me wondering, ‘Are they planning to kill me or throw me off my prized possession, ‘window berth?’ Better sense prevailed! After all, it’s just the crowd, straggling their way and striving for a tiny space to stand. Finally, the train moves its fat ass towards CST.
I close my eyes and pretend to sleep, the horns blaring loud in my ear lobs like the Shehnai announcing the arrival of the newly wedded couple. Local trains in Mumbai redefine the struggle, the rush and glamor in a new fashion that we face every single day.
Mumbai Local…Mumbai local..Mumbai local….