For most Mumbaikars travelling across the city for a number of reasons is a given. For this, many prefer the quickest and cheapest mode of travel- the local trains. Also known as Mumbai’s lifeline or backbone, the trains start from Churchgate (Western line) or CST (Central and Harbour lines) and ends at Dahanu (Western line), Kalyan/ Kasara/ Khopoli (Central line) or Andheri/ Panvel (Harbour line). The map besides should help you understand how dense this network is.
Recently I remember watching a video where a stand up comedian mentioned that we Indians don’t believe in overcrowding but in adjusting. In retrospect that is true. Imagine after a lot of pushing you get on a train where every seat is full. On spotting a seat with 3 people a first instinct is to ask them to shift in such a way so as to make place for a fourth seater. In some cases we are even able to make place for a fifth person. Of course such a feat in a Virar local can be considered similar to winning an award.
Another way of adjusting is in making way for hawkers carrying wares which range from earrings to food items. While it can be fun indulging in this sort of ‘window shopping,’ especially while having nothing to do, it would be recommended to keep die hard shoppers away for fear of them turning bankrupt.
Of course we all do have our share of fights and arguments. At the same time, we also prefer to do other important work like, it is a common sight to see women tying their hair and applying make-up in the morning and cutting vegetables in the evening. A lot of college students like me tend to plug in our headphones/ earphones and catch a few minutes of precious sleep.
If you are not from Mumbai but end up visiting it sometime, do take a ride on the local. If you are living in Mumbai, well, just catch the train at a station nearest to you!