My Affair with #Mumbai Locals

It’s been what 4+ years now in Mumbai, and it’s been a great journey so far. By the way, most of you would have heard the word Lifeline which is synonymous to the Mumbai local trains, right? While I have written quite less about my journey in Mumbai, this time I thought I’d share some of the stories about how much a savior this commute is but more than that it is a friend, yes, trust me.

Mumbai, the mega city, the city of dreams and what not has been told about this place, it’s beautiful, it’s messy and supportive at the same time. Did I tell you that I was like not even 2% ready to move to Mumbai at the first place? All the stories which go around the world about the city had struck me too – You will have to wake up at 4 in the morning and travel 2 hours, you will not get time to sleep, it’s hectic, people will rob you off any time, it’s not safe, to begin with. I am really not the one who’d compare cities because cities are after all places, and places where you go in search of finding homes.

So, not diverting from the topic, I’d just want to tell you about this thing, trains. Anyone who has been to Mumbai, most probably has traveled through these locals, may what the area you are staying in, unless you are in town (winks). No really, when I reached Mumbai, I was new, like new new, you know what I mean? Trains? Cabs? People? Travel? Work? A new life. Things were all chaotic and I wasn’t sure how long I am going to stick around. But it just happened. The city embraced me, and so did I.

The lifeline, it works 24*7, yes I will prefer to say 24*7 because really those few hours of break is not a halt. Those are just human hours when the trains need some service too & the heroes (read the one who manage all the driving around, the maintenance, the cleaning folks) who go back home to dream. While the roads are beautiful and I can write an entire post on them, the trains are just magical. I am sure a lot of you who are from Mumbai might be just rolling eyes & saying: Yeah Right!

Besides the crowd, the humidity, sweat, the long hours, can you think of the good times you have had in the train? Some day when you got a window seat, the day you read a book at peace or listened to music all your journey, the day when you gave up your seat for an elderly person or even those days when you almost fell and got saved by these people who then gave you hell lot of advice while you panicked. These are small joys of life. There have been times when this lifeline is actually a lifeline, if you look at the recent rains & crisis, both the days, the effort was in full force to keep the train running so that people can be evacuated to reach home. For special days and festivals, there are overnight trains for convenience & much more.

Most of the times when I leave early, I see so many elderly people who have made communities in the train, like from complete strangers to a happy community, they play cards, they watch movies, they speak about almost anything from politics to music to expenses to their family life. May it be youngsters, kids, adults, elders, families, everyone has found a resolve and release in this space. Times when we are struggling so much about streamlining the infrastructure, there are millions who are out there just being themselves, making friends, taking care of each other and being a part of this lovely city called – Mumbai.

P.S – There have been times where I have fallen off the trains, felt exhausted, spent time once in a train for 4+ hours when there was a short circuit, went through anxiety due to the crowd, helped people settle there bags with a smile and not a frown (while a lot have the tendency to do so), heard so many people fight & abuse every single day because of the crowd and people hanging out of the train, so on and so forth but today I just wanted to take an opportunity to be thankful because Mumbai locals are really the saviour of this city and with Metro coming in (maybe say after ages, I don’t know), there will always be those local loyals who’d prefer traveling by train.

If you liked this post, let me know in comments what you think, share your Mumbai local experiences with me and share this post across your social platforms, online and offline so that a lot of Mumbaikars & those who visited this city even once or twice can share theirs.

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8 Comments, RSS

  1. Shweta Uppal September 22, 2017 @ 10:25 am

    I’ve been to Mumbai twice and traveled by local once late night from kandivali to Marine Drive and wasn’t crowded at all or I was lucky enough :D..still I’ve heard a lot about this moving family on wheels..thank you Ashu for the insight..I look forward to travel in local and experience the same as you all do atleast once…very well written as always 🙂

    • adodani September 22, 2017 @ 10:55 am

      Thank you so much 🙂 Means a lot.

  2. Shamik September 22, 2017 @ 10:49 am

    This is a lovely post Ashwini. I was taken to the memory lane. Though my trip to Mumbai was short I had experienced the local train every time I went there. I just love the city. I’ll not think twice to relocate to Mumbai if I get a good opportunity… Thanks for sharing this

    • adodani September 22, 2017 @ 10:56 am

      Glad you could relate to this, Shamik even not being in Mumbai. That means something 🙂 Thank you.

  3. Nayantara Hegde September 23, 2017 @ 1:44 am

    I love the trains too. I used to love travelling by train.. it used to motivate me to get up each day and go to work all the way in town. And especially travelling back in the late evenings when the ladies first class would be relatively empty, monsoon and standing in the window.. ofcourse it was a time when stone throwing was still not a threat. Aah i miss that. Thats probably what I miss about not working full time anymore. And Ashwini your photos are excellent.. you make the Mumbai trains look so magical.

    Nayantara Hegde recently posted…Great things happen when women support each other: Being a woman in India in 2017My Profile

    • adodani September 25, 2017 @ 9:15 am

      Thank you so much 🙂

  4. Richa September 27, 2017 @ 11:46 pm

    I can relate to each and every word written here…I have a love and hate relationship with Mumbai locals 😉

    • adodani September 28, 2017 @ 11:13 am

      I am glad 🙂

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