Sunday, November 07, 2004
Going loco in Bombay
The idea behind the Bombay local trains is, I am told, transport. And yet, my Punjabi friend and I, newly arrived from that other bustling, hustling city called Delhi, which most Bombayites look down upon, stand stupefied on the platform, as the masses of Mumbai maniacs push, pull, shove, scamper, claw, maul, throttle and crush their way into an already over-crowded carriage. Transport, as one can well guess, is the last thing on either my friend or my minds.
Bombayites laugh at this experience of mine, as indeed they are wont to. My friend from Thane, who has been crying for Bombay every moment of her six-month stint in Delhi, chuckles in private glee. This is her way of getting back for the never-ending construction of the Delhi Metro service that, apart from kicking up a major dust storm every afternoon, was responsible for conjuring various traffic jams whenever she was late for an appointment. Which, of course, was quite frequent. So she snorts now, as my Punjabi friend lists his woes with the Bombay city he has plummeted headlong into, and tells of how Punjus like him and Bongs like me always quibble, quibble, quibble, and how Bombay is the stuff dreams are made of.
All's fair in love and city-wars, I am told.
But Bombay dreams are hardly the thing uppermost on my mind, as I stand, squeezed between one man's armpit, and another man's Samsonite, during the twenty-minute train ride from Lower Parel to Andheri. Bombay dreams are not what I think of, as I shove and claw and throttle and maul my own way to one of the two pincers that form the door of the bogey, after ascertaining on which side the Andheri platform will arrive at. Bombay dreams are not what dance before my eyes as I am unceremoniously pushed out of the carriage, alongwith at least ten others, to shouts of Andheri, utro! Andheri uto! even as the train is still chugging along at an even pace. A Bombay death before my eyes - maybe.
Of course, as I write this, I can already hear my late-Kate Thane friend chuckle sweet nothings to herself and her favourite locomotives.
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