Local Trains in Mumbai are the best thing to happen to public transport. Spread in three divisions – Western, Central and Harbour tracks is the busiest commuter railway system in the world. However, boarding a local train is not an easy task, not everyone can do it. It comes with great practice and dedication that one masters the art of travelling via a local train. The different types of people in Mumbai Locals, listed below –
1. The Ladies
Whoever has said the woman tend to be more gentle and sensitive than men has never traveled in a Mumbai local train. In a local train, there’s no such thing as “gentle”, you’ve got to be strong and hard to travel in one. Thanks to the Mumbai Suburban Railway, there are different compartments for men and women. Women travelling in the local train are no delicate darlings, they’re as fierce as the Amazonian warrior princess Wonder Woman. Nothing gets in between a woman and her 9:06 Churchgate Fast, not even God.
2. The Gents
If you have ever been blessed to witness people boarding trains at peak hours, you know who The Gents are. They are not just the male commuters, but also the most patient, helpful and suffering commuters. A gents compartment in the peak hour has more people in it than the entire population of Dadar. And still, at every station, the population keeps increasing. You’ll see most of the gents hanging outside, and by outside I mean literally flying with just one hand holding the door of the train. Even after all the things they have to endure, The Gents are the most humble people in a train.
3. The Fighters
Fighters are mostly a part of the ladies compartment. They are the people who wake up every morning and note down all the things they will fight for with the other commuters. The most common topics of quarreling are touch, push, hair, people entering a train from Borivali, and exiting a train at Borivali from a Virar train. The sole purpose of their life is to find faults and pick fights with everyone. What starts with a verbal dispute can in some cases turn into a violent one, with moves ranging from hair pulling to deliberately punching each other, which is mostly rare but very entertaining to watch. Quick tip : Don’t engage in fights with The Fighters, you’re just going to spoil your mood and motivate them to pick fight with others as well.
4. The First Timers
They are the most frightened and aghast of all the commuters. As the name suggests, they are the people who are travelling in a train for the first time. Every commuter has been a First Timer, so they can all relate with this. Everything about a train scares them. From the train coming towards the platform, to the ladies around preparing to board the train by tying their hair into buns, to the actual trauma of getting pushed inside the train by strange people, to not knowing which side is Andheri, everything horrifies them. Most of the time, The Fighters pick fights with them, and they usually don’t retaliate. Hence it’s necessary to do all the research of local train travel before entering one. Hopefully someone will write a book on how to board a train for the first time soon enough.
5. The Experts
Every train has three category of commuters – The First Timers, The People who have a fair idea about trains and The Experts. The latter have an unofficial degree in Masters in Local Train Boarding. Yep, that’s a thing! From “Dadar kaunse side aayega”, to “Subah ke time slow train kab hai”, there’s not a train related query they cannot answer. They’ll help you out with train timings, give you the do’s and dont’s of boarding trains, where to stand and where not to stand, Andheri start trains, and Ladies Special trains. And they’re so good at remembering everything, you wish they had a crash course in the same field that you could attend. How to stop one : they are the ones standing in the first row when a train is about to come.
6. The Bookies
This special category of commuters is confined to ladies compartment only. No matter how much the train is crowded, they will find a way to reach the seats and start bidding and negotiating with the already seated ladies. Here’s how the whole thing works – they’ll find someone who wants to get down at Malad, Borivali, Dahisar or Mira Road. If they find someone who’s seated who wants to get down at one of these stations, they’ll ask them to give the seat to them. No this exchange is sometimes done verbally, but most of the times, it’s done through sign language. First Timers, unknown to this, sell their seats to two Bookies, which often leads to intense fights. Crash course is definitely required.
7. The Kids
The most innocent human beings are the biggest victims of train travel. The problem actually isn’t with them, but with their parents who board a train at peak hours. They either want their kids to die or want to punish them for a heinous crime they did by this third degree torture. “Bacha hai saath mein” is the mother of all excuses to be able to breathe in a heavily loaded train. Now because you’ve come with a kid, you obviously get the right for some space for yourself, while the kid is contemplating about life and living his own version of Gulliver’s Travels. If a kid is standing behind you, you try your best, enduring all the weight of all other commuters hoping to God that you don’t kill the poor soul by stepping on him.
8. The Sitters
The compartment may be crowded with the whole Mumbai population standing at the passage, but The Sitters will find place to sit at the side of the train floor. As soon as the Train leaves Borivali and the other commuters move forward to get ready for Andheri, the people standing at the other side of the door clear the area to sit on the train floor. It causes a lot of discomfort to others, but they don’t give no shit. You can keep talking about how irritating people can be, give them angry looks or even get out of your way to tell them to stand up, they just don’t care. Sitters, the train Thug Lives.
9. The Train Friends
There are school friends, the people you went to school with. Then there are college friends, the people you socialize with at college on a daily basis. There are office friends, you work buddies with whom you have beers and discuss work stuff. But there’s another category of friends in Local Trains, called the Train Friends. It’s the people you catch 8:30 Ladies Special with. Now Train Friends are a sort of Mean Girls gang in a compartment. You meddle with any one of them, the whole clan will be after your life. They share their lunch boxes together, laugh loudly (the intensity increases indefinitely especially when you have your exam and try to study in the train), bid each other goodbye everyday when they get off at their respective stations, and play Holi when it’s Holi time.
10. The Conversationalists
Which country is Modi travelling today, how much time does it take to make Palak Paneer and how short was Sunita’s daughter’s clothes at the party the other day, you get to know it all in a train. Again, this kind of talk is usually heard in a ladies compartment. These talks are not just confined to the people outside the train, but sometimes also to the other commuters, about the way they’re standing, or the way they are dressed, or even what all they must be carrying in the bag. There’s no stopping the Conversationalists. Sometimes the conversations head to a completely different tangent, which doesn’t even make sense, but you gotta keep talking until Goregaon comes, that’s the deal.
Dealing with these different kinds of people everyday is tough, but that doesn’t stop us from travelling in a train. And it won’t even stop, because truth be told, it’s the fastest way to get to different places in the cities.
Oh and one last thing,
Are you Bandra?