Ladies Special Train Time - Kurla Station

All right ladies, the special train to CST (central line) reaches Kurla station at 9:01 am

Now don't push me this easy-to-get-in train ;)

How to get in a crowded train

Getting in a crowded local train in Mumbai isn't that tough really. Of course, experience helps in this case too, after all it's an art and it takes time to master it. But trust me, it's not impossible.

Here are the basics:

1 - If you are thin: Try to be the first one to reach near the door of the train. Others [the ones who are lucky to be much stronger than you] will see to it that you get inside the train so that they are able to.
2 - If you are fat: Hello... why do you think God gifted you those extra kilos? Use them to your advantage. Just push yourself in the train, others in front of you will automatically get in the train. That way, you will do some social work as well.
3 - If you are medium built: Use your judgment. Thin and fat are after all relative terms. Observe the people around you and decide whether you are stronger or weaker than them. Then, as per the situation, choose one of the above categories for yourself.

Hope you board the next train conveniently.

PS - Use the above tactics at your own risk. Don't blame me if you don't succeed. For all you know, I end up boarding the fourth or fifth train that arrives at the station after I reach the platform.

Ladies special local train - time - Goregaon

If you wish to board a ladies special train to Churchgate from Goregaon station, you have two options.

One ladies special train reaches Goregaon station [platform number 2] at 8:24 am. If it's too early for you, you can catch a 9:31 ladies special. The two trains, I suppose, start from Virar and Borivli respectively [not sure though].

The 8:24 train is more crowded than the other one. You have an advantage if you wish to catch the 9:31 train as in case if you miss it, you can take the Goregaon local that starts from Goregaon at around the same time.

If you wish to board a ladies special train to Virar from Goregaon, you again have two options - 6:30 pm and 7:04 pm. Both the trains start from Churchgate.

Do let me know if you need further info on the same.

Main pehle utrungi types (I'll be the first to get off the train)

Perhaps they never won any running race in their school days. Perhaps they were always the first from the last. These people seem to have just one motto in life – Leave the world behind, be the first one to get off the train.

So they move fervently towards the door of the local train. They don’t care if the train is crowded, if their pointed heels offer acupuncture to many a feet or if their WWF champions type heavy weight body crushes the lean mean creatures around. They are dead serious when they decide, “Main pehle utrungi / utrunga” (I’ll get off first), and who knows they might even drop you dead if you come in their way!

But don’t worry. It’s not tough to recognize and save yourself from these types. If you notice any or all the following, you have spotted them right:
  • The train is packed like hell with no scope to move even your eyelids. Still you observe a person, just one person, moving her shoulders.
  • They generally make sounds like – chh…, chh chh…, shhya…, uff…
  • With heavy and big shopping bags, they occupy much greater space than their body’s diameter.
  • They manage to ask each and every person in the compartment, “Where would you get off?”, “Are you getting down at the next station?”, “Why are you standing here?”, “Are you travelling for the first time?”, “Do you have a proper train ticket?” etc.
  • They try to show that they are facing the maximum problem in the crowded train

So, keep these tips handy and have a safe journey. May you not come across the Main pehle utrungi types!

Travelling to Navi Mumbai

It's amazing how all that we feel about our things is so relative. Travelling beyond Bandra until now was like a real long journey for me. And now, when I need to travel to New Bombay a.k.a. Navi Mumbai, this journey in the western suburbs seems like child's play.

Must learn the tricks of boarding and getting off Navi Mumbai trains soon. Any tips?

When the train changes tracks, it affects the blind passengers

The other day I had another encounter with something on the Mumbai local that still gives me goosebumps. I was seated in the ladies compartment of a fast train. A blind innocent-looking man got in the compartment at Bandra and was standing near the foot board. No one told him to take the compartment for the physically challenged perhaps because the train wasn't much crowded.

Now, when a fast train to Borivali halts at Andheri station the platform mostly comes on the right hand side. And the man was rightly standing on the right hand side. I was busy playing golf on my cellphone when, after some time, the lady beside me said that it seems that the man is going to get off. As she said so, she looked on the door on the right side. And then it was all very sudden.

I noticed that the train is coming to a halt and the man is standing alone on that side. All the other females had shifted towards the door on the left as the train had changed tracks somewhere before Andheri station. All I remember are the unclear words of that female, and that there was not a single second to waste. By the time I rushed and reached to the man, he had already opened his blind stick and he was trying to feel the platform and get off...

Thank God and the female who noticed him that I could pull him just at the right time. Suddenly every single female realised what could have happened. Then all helped him get off on the platform, the one which unfortunately was on the other side for him.

Who would have thought that even a train changing tracks can be so dangerous for some. What if the man had been travelling alone? What if no one had noticed?

Few things still make me think:
  • How come the females who moved to the other door didn't notice that there's a blind man trying to get off on the wrong side?
  • Why did the female who noticed it didn't rush to help him?

Everything boils down to the same thing - we need to be more alert and careful while travelling, for the benefit of ourselves and our fellow passengers.

Graffiti is back

My last to last post spoke about all the goodness in the local train these days. Not any more this time. Saw the bad graffiti and phone numbers scribbled in many compartments recently. Grrr... Literacy is good, but some use it only for such stupid things.

See someone around you feeling sick? PLEASE HELP

If you ever see someone fainting or feeling sick or someone who just met with an accident, in your train or on the road or just anywhere, for God sake don't simply think, "He'll be fine" and walk away. I urge you to raise an alarm or do whatever you can do to help without wasting a single second. Last night, perhaps a woman could have been saved if people around her had come to her help before it was too late.

We talk about the spirit of Mumbai all the time... when some people saw a woman in a train last night and she was just not well, I hear they simply went and sat somewhere away from her. I heard she got in the train at Elphinstone Road and it was only at Andheri that some nice people, as soon as they came to know about it, pressed the panic button and helped her out. And I must tell you, thanks to the men who got in the ladies compartment when it became general compartment at night (and of course also a few nice ladies) at least some effort was made. What happened to the others who were watching her since Elphinstone Road? For those who ignored her... she is no longer with us, may be she could have been saved. Let's be nice people, we are humans with a heart and soul, right?

Mumbai local trains - graffiti

Enter a ladies compartment of local trains and you would generally notice lewd graffiti scribbled wherever your eyes wander. However, the other day, I was more than impressed. There were green patches painted over what earlier used to be embarrassing and irritating words! The railway officials seem to help us out and make our travel a little bit easy.

Not just that, on the same day, at the same time, in the same compartment, a policeman too was present. Wow, now that's what I call a safe and pleasant journey. Hope that we don't come across lewd statements in railway compartments anymore and there's a policeman / policewoman to ensure our safety during late hours. Unless, of course, we all learn karate so that the police attends to other important tasks.

Train travelling with good old friends

Life's busy. Or at least we think that it is. So how do we catch up with friends when life moves at the speed of light?

It's kinda unspoken understanding, but me and my sweet friend Varsha try and meet up while travelling back home. Of course, it takes a lot of coordination (it's rare that we both reach our respective stations to board the same train every day). But then, those 15 minutes are spent happily chattering away just the way we used to do during our college days! Somehow, those 15 minutes seem to pass away n times faster as compared to any other day of train travelling. After calling it a day at work, mostly very hectic with enough topping of stress, those moments act as a sure-shot stress buster.

And when I get off from the train, wave her good bye and start climbing the bridge, an effortless smile comes to my face only to hope that we meet again soon.

I love and owe our local trains for this!

Local train at midnight

This Friday, we friends made a last minute plan to go for dinner. Bandra seemed comfortable for all of us (after much argument of course) and so it was selected as the destination. Obviously, as it was a weekend, we went to dinner a bit late as each one of us was working that day. Late - considering that I was the only girl and had to go back home alone as the rest stay in South Mumbai.

We finished our indulgence in gluttony a rather too late. And then there was this thing about Mrinal must drop me home as it was almost midnight. How I hate being a girl 'dependent' on others when it's pretty late for women to travel in Mumbai! So we decided to take a local train as that would be the fastest mode. However, the gents’ compartment was too crowded even at almost 12 in the night, that forget me but it was impossible even for Mrinal to get into it. So I hurriedly jumped into the ladies compartment just as the train was about to leave the station and bid goodbye to my sweetheart.

Surprisingly, at midnight, the ladies compartment of the local train was 50% occupied. So I felt very comfortable. For once, I felt that it's actually not 'too late' for women to travel alone. Perhaps it was an exceptional day, perhaps not, perhaps 'late' is just hyped... I'll only know when I travel more frequently at such odd hours. Anyways, so here's a list of all those who might give you company if you happen to travel in the western line around midnight:

  1. A police constable (at least he was present that day)
  2. Women, in groups, who are either vegetable vendors or labourers. One thing's certain, with them around you, no one will dare take any panga
  3. Women travelling alone, but confident and comfy enough as that might be a routine for them
  4. Women travelling alone, not very comfy as it's not a regular travel time for them. They will either be already busy on their mobiles or receiving constant calls of "where have you reached?", "don't get so late next time" and so on
  5. A little mouse completely active and wandering beneatch all the seats. Perhaps he's sent by Lord Ganesha to ensure that each one of us stays wide awake and alert ;)

So that's about it. And one important tip:
If you need to travel very late in the night, please catch the last ladies coach that's meant for women 24 hours. It's generally occupied and you'll feel safe.

Little bit relief in trains... at least for the women

Finally! The timing for the ladies compartment to become general has been extended. Wow! What a relief. So now the 'hungry to jump into the ladies compartment at 9 p.m.' men need to wait till 11:15 p.m.

For us, the ladies compartment is not a crowded fish market between 9 and 10 p.m. I thank the authorities responsible for this improvement.