Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bombay local and my stupidity.

I am sharing what 'I Saw and I Learnt' at in association with

Caution:It is extremely dangerous to board or alight from a moving train. Many a people have lost their life doing it and I was an idiot to have done it myself.
Getting into a moving train is as difficult as trying to get a man to wear a rubber when he is on a triple dose of Viagra. I could have also compared the difficulty level to that of trying to thread a sewing machine when it is in motion, being the sew enthusiast that I am. But the sewing example was already used by Roald Dahl while trying to explain the difficulty of getting a man to wear a rubber when he is on a triple dose of Viagra (Blister Beetle) in My Uncle Oswald.

So, anway, the point is that getting in to a moving train is a very difficult task.

Now, you might be wondering why I would wish to get on to a moving train. Yes, like I had mentioned in a post earlier I am a fan of the Bollywood train scenes. Scenes, where the heroine is on the verge of missing a train and then the hero leans of the train with his hands outstretched. She runs with the train, that moment of - will she make it, will she not. And she runs fast; perspiring, finally she manages to grasp the heroes hand and get on to the train.

Sigh! Yes, I love those scenes.

But life really isn’t that romantic when it comes to the Bombay local trains.

The people of Bombay are very warm. No, really, they are. At least they used to be when I lived there. But when it comes to the local trains, they are brutal. They are lethal. There is absolutely no place for niceties there. They are demons.

We all are aware that there are unwritten rules about the Bombay locals. Rules that every one knows and religiously follow. One of the rules is that during office hours, at the terminal stations, people are not supposed to alight first. They have to meticulously stand out of the way till the exodus of people on the platform shoot into the train like all of the angry birds launched out of a giant slingshot together.

These people also look like the angry birds.         

I too was one of them – the angry bird – the red one.

I would shoot myself in to the 8:03 local from Borivali, platform no. 3 every day. There was a way to do it. I had my spot. Everyone there has their spot – the place where they stand to launch themselves as the train crosses the threshold. Everyone has their own style and way to do it.

My spot was about three metres away from where the entry to the ladies compartment would be when the train came to a halt. That was a marked spot – exactly between the station name board and bridge stairway.

The train would be in motion when it reached where I was, but really slow. I would then stretch out my arm, imagine that the rod in the middle of the entrance was the hand of my hero, hold it as the train moved and hurl my self into the compartment. I did this every single day. I did this with accuracy. I got my seat as a reward.

Some of the experts would have already boarded by then; but that was okay. All I needed was a seat. Window seat was wishful thinking. Breeze directed window seats were reserved for people who had fasted, sacrificed and danced upside-down to please the train Gods. I had done none of that.

But with my method I would manage a seat. No, not a fourth seat which can barely manage to hold half of a bum cheek; but a proper second or third seat; a seat around my train friends; A seat which I would enjoy with sheer bliss till Andheri. I would then hand it over to one of the train friends.

That is what you do with train friends. You share your seat and bitch about mother-in-law. Since I did not have a mother-in-law then, I would actively participate by listening to all the bitching with rapt attention.

Well, then came the day when some dumb nincompoop broke the rule – The rule about wait till they board and then you descend.

I was on my spot. I was prepared. I had my bag-pack strapped in front of me. I had shoved my glasses and mobile phone safely in my bag; rolled my shoulders; flexed my arms; relaxed my wrists. Ready.

The train was nearing; the countdown had started in my mind. I stretched my arm to hold the middle rod. And then, just as the tip of my fingers touched the rod, this woman from inside held the rod before I could and jumped off the train.

That was it. I lost my grip, stumbled and fell. I was lying on the platform with my legs dangling under the train. The train had come to a stop by then. The entire platform seemed to be contesting for a hurdle race where I was the obstacle. There were legs all around me – fat and thin; dark and white; waxed and hairy. I had never seen so many legs, ever. And believe me, it wasn’t a pretty sight. No, even if you were a man, it wouldn’t have been an appealing sight.

I shut my eyes, tight, and screamed, and screamed. A lot of them were missing the hurdle and stamping all over me. It was scary. I was bruised but I couldn’t feel it then. The only thing I felt was fear and anger. It seemed to be going on forever.

And then amidst the chaos another thought struck me. What if the train started to move? Damn, my legs were stuck between the platform and the train. No, this wasn’t my dream death. DREAM DEATH! What the hell! I didn’t want to die. I got paranoid then. I started screeching and yelling and shrieking for help.

Suddenly I felt a few hands dragging me out. I could sense my self away from the stampede. I opened my eyes to see my train friends pulling me up and dusting me. They checked if I was okay. I WAS OKAY. I was alive. I felt extremely grateful to them, extremely. They seemed like angels to me. I was willing to give my train seat to them forever.

I got into the train (yes, I did) and began to examine my bruises. Apart from a few ugly scratches there wasn’t anything visibly serious. I got some immediate first aid and sympathy from the people around. (People of Bombay - They are fine when they are inside the train. It’s just the getting into the train bit, which brings out the worse in them.) I got to work and attended to the wounds.

The fateful day was followed by a weekend and that helped me get over the shock. I had learnt my lesson. My life was way more important that the train seat.

Monday, I was back to my spot on platform no. 3. I stood there for a moment and then slowly walked a couple of metres away towards where the entry to the compartment would be.


Caution: It is extremely dangerous to board or alight from a moving train. Many a people have lost their life doing it and I was an idiot to have done it myself.


PS: In case you know my parents, do not ever tell them about this. I remember having told them that I slipped and fell down the stairway at the station.






  1. You explained that scene so well! Now I'll be careful.

    1. Thanks, Soumya. Not careful, you need to avoid antics such as these.

  2. 1. It's very scary.
    2. I really loved the in-line humour in the article.
    3. You should definitely write more non-fiction.

    1. 1. It was.
      2. Thanks.
      3. Thanks, that's encouraging.

  3. No,do not listen. You are quite a surprise pack with fictions as well. Very well written but to get better in scary fictions do not ever try anything like this in future.

    1. Thanks :)

      Oh, I am definitely not trying antics like this ever.

  4. Well done, reminds me of a similar incident when I almost came under a very slowly moving tram-car, I was just careless, but I remember how for half a second I knew something really bad was happening, or going to happen. We should all be more careful.

  5. scary that was n a lesson indeed for all d readers as well.


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