Unless you are a Mumbaikar travelling in a local train, so that you can head to your workplace, college or sneaking out for a day out, while your parents think you are attending JEE classes and will be the next CEO for Google (kudos to Sundar Pichai). So welcome..... here's your ultimate survival kit.
(Statutory warning: If you are a tourist and want to experience Mumbaiâ€™s lifeline, it is highly advisable to avoid travelling in local trains during rush hours, is like 24x7, except when India Pakistan match is going on.)
As we wait to board the train, which is as usual late, we will go through the â€˜Rule Bookâ€™ which you ought to memorize as your life depends on it.
Thou shalt always beseech for fourth seat. Itâ€™s your birthright.
Thou shalt never derst board a Churchgate-Virar fast train.
Thou shalt always carry thy headphones, to save thine ears and brain from constant chit-chatting of folks
Thou shalt never durst stand in midst of a doorway if thee not getting down at the next stop. It will be THE END for thee.
Thou hath to bequeath thy seat two stops before your stop hath cometh. If thy station is Thane, make those four stops.
So Tie your dupattas; gird your bags and place your phone in your chor pockets as we prepare to board the Mumbai local
1. Welcome Aboard!
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome aboard Mumbai local. We are currently running 10 minutes late, but that is how we work. We ask you to fasten your dupattas and secure your baggage. You can now use your phone while the people besides you shoulder surfs. We sincerely hope you have a happy journey. Enjoy.
The first thing you do after you board is hunt for a vacant seat. If you donâ€™t see one, then the next step is to ask every person seated in your vicinity where they are getting down and book a seat. You may have to face the following situation: this could be the only time in you entire existence you hear a woman admit that she is FAT! I mean literally hear the say â€œIâ€™M FATâ€ while the other two women beside her nod their head in agreement. The only reason they say this so that they wont have to make place and give you a forth seat. Now if you are lucky enough to get the 10 inch wide fourth seat it is YOGA time. It is your duty to make way for vendors, hawkers and a whole lot of people to pass through the alleyway. In this process you will have to bend your legs up; down; sideways; split; do stankyleg. You would be surprised to know the ways in which you could bend your leg, you can beat Baba Ramdev in asans with you moves.
2. The Supermarket.
You will find dopest jewellery and nail art stuff with the vendors here in local trains. And hell ya! FOOD! From Idlis; Samosas; Dhoklas; Bhelpuris to Chocolates, they bring everything up in here. They even sell clothes here! And to the delight of people heading home from work, they can buy vegetables in the go. Can you find such walking whole sale market anywhere else? Nah ah. Even when you shop in the fanciest malls and supermarkets, you have to drag your carts through the crowd. Whereas here, you can just squat in your place and do all the shopping like a BOSS! Such awesome stuffs at cheap prices #ProudMumbaikar
3. Train Hommies.
I have travelled in gentsâ€™ compartment. It is so silent. Guys busy playing games, some reading newspaper and some crazies hanging by the footboard. But the situation is completely different when you come into the ladies compartment. Most of the trains have a group of women; it is very easy to spot them. Their group would comprise to about 10-20 members who would be continuously laughing and talking, while they show each other the new jewelry and clothes they bought for themselves. They will be like Sisters from other mothers and you will be left thinking like â€œawww, how sweet! The must be friend since high school or work buddiesâ€. But let me stop you right there. Let me make this clear that they â€˜met each other in a train journey, while the commute to work everydayâ€™. Like some of them live several stations away from each other. But it doesnâ€™t matter, because when they are together this compartment is their â€˜HOODâ€™. So if you find yourself in the range of such groups, all you can do is put on your headphones and pretend you are sleeping. Because they are like the Kardashians, hate the love them but you canâ€™t ignore them.
4. The Thugs and Shoulder Surfers.
Some people in local trains are like thugs. They put on their headphones and get lost in their smartphones, not giving a damn what going around them. From playing candy crush to chatting on whatsapp, or secretly reading the Fifty Shades OF Grey series (heyâ€¦ I can see you.). But in a like local trains where the concept of personal space is long extinct, your stuff isnâ€™t personal anymore. You could be going through your instagram, checking out the pics of that hot guy and deciding whether to double tap it or not, while the person sitting besides you is staring in you phone and eyeing you suspiciously. And what you are talking to your boyfriend or girlfriend would be the topic of discussion for the ladies sitting two seats next to you. Those hearts and lips emojis you send are getting delivered in your neighborâ€™s eyes too. Is this public transport or Bigg Boss?
5. Prepare For Landing!
You have to get ready for war now (follow last rule). As you get up from you seat, brace yourself to face the Spartans. Your only support is the handles hanging above your head, so hold on to them like your life depends on it. Trust me, it does. As you do this, ask the ladies standing in front of you whether they are getting down at next stop, if they say no give them a nasty look (JK!) and go ahead of them. Now its time for free massage! If you are having backpain, leg pain whatever, the people around you are obliged to take your pain away. They thrust their elbows on pelvic; pull your hair and stamp on your foot. As you station approaches, its time to start pushing and if you think you canâ€™t do it, the just make this statement looking at the lady standing behind you.
You: bahut gardi hai, lagta nahi utarne milega.
(There is too much rush, I donâ€™t think so we will be able to get down)
Lady behind you: arey main dhaka dungi piche se. donâ€™t worry
(I will push you from behind, donâ€™t worry)
# Sisterhood (sniff)
Now all you have to do is push! Push like you are having a baby. Push like you are running a marathon. Push as if Zayn Malik is waiting for you with outstretched arms. HUZZAAAA. When you get down donâ€™t look sideways and run towards the nearest exit and praise the God you made it alive!
And that my friends are my tips on how to survive in Mumbai local. Jokes apart, Mumbaikars are amazing because they hustle and travel through these locals everyday. This article is dedicated to all you awesome Mumbaikars. Thank you!