The Mumbai Local Train Saga

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We all have heard the phrase, “Survival of the fittest” on various occasions. Herbert Spencer, was the first one to use it after reading Charles Darwin’s, ‘On the origin of species’. Many have read or have a thorough understanding of the Darwinian evolutionary theory. But Mumbaikars are the ones, who truly know how to employ it in their daily routine.

The local trains being the lifeline of Mumbai, is the medium of athleticism of almost every human species living in the city. If you have ever travelled in a local train, you will precisely understand that it’s a different world of its own. It’s buzzing with so much of activities that even Ibiza won’t be able to match the crazy vibe. If you are new to the city and eager to blend in the Mumbaiya feel, I’d suggest you to travel in a local train at least once. From unclejis enjoying the item songs out loud, to the millennials being all cool with Grado on their ears, you’ll see them all. Few minutes of travelling and there you are, already learning the Bambaiya lingo. Once you are well versed with that, you are ready to become a real survivor.     

You can tell the difference between the passengers by judging them heavily by the way they speak and the way they smell. There are mostly two types of passengers, one’s whose armpits will be shoved in your nostrils, where the smell will be so sickly that even Wolverine will feel nauseous. And the next type will be the ones, who are well dressed and smell like exotic Burberry.

Reading a newspaper in local trains is a group activity, as you’ll find three to four heads struggling to peep in the same page. And it’s the duty of the owner, to patiently wait for the others to finish reading and then turn over. Live concerts and libelous speeches, are very intriguing. If your luck happens to be good on the particular day, you may even get to enjoy the MMA with your fellow passengers, who are already hyping up the on-field wrestlers.

The ladies compartment, is no less than a daily soap with high TRP. No matter where they come from or what they do, once inside the compartment, they are all in the same boat. If you’re travelling alone and want a bit of storytelling, all you have to do is, sit next to a group of aunties, who’ll be busy discussing the important issues transpiring in the society. You’ll get to know who fled with whom, along with the comprehensive data of their respective families. You won’t feel the need to open up your YouTube and watch the makeup tutorials, as you’ll always have two to three young women exhibiting their inner makeup artists, with numerous eyes gawking at them.

Credit: Times of India

Witnessing the culinary skills of the in-house master chefs, is another fascinating sight which may either leave you inspired with awe, or irk you with the de trop out-turn. The ambience of the compartment can go from, ‘We are soul sisters’ to ‘Roll up your goddamn sleeves!’ real fast. You can either be Lisa Simpson with ethics and back off or storm your maniac rant, like that of the Mad Max: Fury Road’s cars. It is all up to you. And that is how you get to experience the diverse range of events, all in one place.

Though the Mumbaikar’s go through this daily hustle and bustle, the local trains will always be an integral part of their lives. From fighting for your space and dealing with the irksome situations to enjoying the company of the strangers and lending a helping hand, it teaches us all. It is truly a lifeline in all manner of ways.

Till then, all we need is somebody to lean on….

– Sneha Parab

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