Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mumbai Diary I - Life at Mumbai Local

It’s been more than 6 months of stay in this most bustling city of India though have been here many times. But these 6 months have been a new experience altogether as I have seen this city closely ranging from strange experiences while traveling on trains, pub hopping, tasting food at different restaurants to going through the trauma of being in a city which has been a frequent and soft target of bomb blasts.
I intend to write a Mumbai diary, don’t know for how long I will be able to write on this but let me start at least.
If I break the time spent per day in Mumbai, I would say that I spend a minimum of 20% i.e. 2-3 hrs per day of my day in traveling by trains to reach to my office and other places in Mumbai. The scarcity of wide roads and affordability makes most of the Mumbaikars to travel by local trains to their work place on a daily basis.
People make friends on trains, even some become couples in love and share joy and crib about the government. It’s really surprising to see that people who take the same trains daily meet each other, talk among themselves but they don’t even remember each other’s name. That’s what is Mumbai‘s life; it is about being together but still maintaining each others privacy.
I am sharing few anecdotes from my travel by Mumbai local which would give a glimpse into the life and culture of Mumbai.
Anecdote 1
It was a tough evening for me as I reached Andheri station late and had to catch up an evening train going to Panvel, as I stay in Vashi. I boarded the train’s 1st class compartment just seconds before the train started and was sad to not to get a place to sit in the train.
Poor me, I have to travel one hour long journey by standing in the train. All, I could do was crib within myself. I stood just near to a sitting gentleman who seemed to be in his late forty’s and by looks, bag and clothing looked like a government servant. To drift my attention from the pain of standing in the train, I started to read his messages on his mobile phone screen. The man totally unaware of his invasion of privacy was busy in reading the messages and writing message to a recipient called “Kiran Vashi Train”.
By the name of the recipient, I could guess that the recipient seems to be a lady and this person must have met her on the vashi train.
What amused me later was they this person send an adult joke to the this lady on which the lady replied by the following message “ hahha..its good , but tu marwayega mere ko aazkal bacche bhi maa ka mobile dekhthe rehate hai” .
Well, the message meant that the lady said that the joke was good, but you will get me screwed as my kids also check my mobile”.
All, I could do was to smile and forget the pain of standing for long in the train.
Anecdote 2
I took a late morning train from Vashi to CST station and was sitting in a seat near to a gate. There were lots of people in the trains, but there was one couple who boarded the train from Vashi who seemed to be different.
The female was a young lady in her mid twenties with a healthy figure and the male was a middle aged guy in his early forties who was frail , had long curly hair , dark in complexion and truly unattractive though was wearing branded shirt and pants with no watches.
At first instance anyone would think them as may be father and daughter or may be two colleagues. Well, the cat didn’t hide for long as they soon started talking in frequent English and I could hear that she really had a great time at his house.
The lady soon took out a chocolate and gave it to the guy. The guy bit the chocolate by his lips, fed to the lady and then fed to himself.
The train was crossing the Vashi creek and it really becomes windy and romantic while passing the creek. The couple suddenly got themselves very cozy against each other with the guy touching her hair and holding her shoulders.
Yes, they were a couple in love who despite their age difference were very frank to flaunt their affection and love in full public view without thinking of what the on lookers would say about them.
And to the typical Mumbai style, no one really cared for what they were doing. This is the most liberal city, I could ever be in India; I thought.
Anecdote 3
Well this is the shortest of them, though I have so many to share but may be in the part II. I was crossing the foot over bridge to get on the other side of the platform at Dadar station when I had to suddenly cut my pace for few seconds.
I saw a young college going couple who seemed to be boarding different trains stopped on the foot bridge and kissed each other passionately for few seconds in the middle of the way.
It seemed really amazing, as from back I could see people passing by their sides and this couple standing in middle and kissing in full public view. I don’t know should I term it as obscenity or may be the free and liberal culture ; but all I can say is that after staying in so many cities in India, the culture and life in Mumbai is very unique compared to the all other cities.
Hoping to come out with more parts!