Monday, September 1, 2008

A day in the life of Mumbai


Nerul, Juinagar, Sanpada…

Stations flashed by as she straightened herself. Soon Vashi would come, bringing along a dreadful rush of people, pressing on from all sides. She backed herself against the walls and compressed her belongings. Her umbrella by her side now was pressed to her hips and her handbag hung not elegantly from her hands, but from her throat. People clambered in even as the train slowed down and soon the train was whooshing over creek.

Mankhurd, Govandi, Chembur…

She clenched her teeth and pushed a fisherwoman away. Feeling her surroundings tentatively, she kicked. Aah it hit someone. As the offended foot backed away, she spread her feet into the crevice. Chembur next. Saroja would get in. She idly wondered what Saroja would be wearing.

Tilak nagar, Kurla, Chunnabhatti…

Saroja had pushed and managed to weave her way all the way across from the other door to her side. Time passed gossiping, cursing bosses, talking of sexless husbands and errant kids. She was in a position of minimum volume now, she and Saroja entwined like participants in a pagan orgy. Saroja’s hair strewn across her sweaty neck, with those irritating flowers she wore, her wet umbrella dripping into the folds of her saree. Her own handbag was not seen, only felt somewhere in the deep recess between her and that fisherwoman.

GTB nagar, Wadala, Sewri…

Conversation still flowed freely, like oil over a jar of mango pickle. Soon Wadala came and Saroja got off, her flowery hair brushing past and nauseating briefly. A sudden view of the city blurring outside as the fisherwoman shifts her leg. A brief look at the time. Plans for what to do in office.

Cotton green, Reay road, Dockyard road…

The train rose and fell across bridges. Plans were made, plots hatched, some discarded, some to be implemented. Gently shoving the fisherwoman away she reaches for her mobile phone and texts her daughter, reminding her to have lunch outside today. She amuses herself trying to text a romantic message to her husband. Futility and bad network conspire and in the phone goes.

Sandhurst road, Masjid, CST.

All the fisherwoman are bustling now. Some make the exchange at Sandhurst road, but the majority get off at Masjid. So do three burkha clad women. She hastily gives way for the latter. The train slowly pulls into CST. Tired, weary, crumpled and disheveled she sighs. Disembarks. A slow walk at first, a brisk trot and then a full fledged run to catch the bus, waving on the way to her train friend from the middle compartment.

14 comments:

sthitapragnya said...

First to comment! Yay!! Anyway, well summarised Mumbai train ride. Who's Saroja btw? A destination of a flight of fancy or someone you know? And my salaam to - "she and Saroja entwined like participants in a pagan orgy". Waah! What a way to describe a person's position on a crowded train! Mumbai train ride is an pseudo-orgy indeed! I'm glad I commented on it before someone else did! :P

sthitapragnya said...

sorry! galti se mishtake ho gaya! make that 'a pseudo-orgy' not 'an'!

buddy said...

thanks da.. and i will ignore grammar in comments, its ok :)

Coconut Chutney said...

Great post. The only time i took the famed mumbai trains, I was lucky to be in a ladies compartment without too much of a crowd. I came back in once piece :D

Great post!

Liberal said...

BRILLIANT...you know i mean it or I would not have capitalized the whole word...had some mani ratnam kinda flow to it! (Maybe I went overboard with compliment)

buddy said...

@ coconut chutney: Thanks :) Whats the use of coming back in 1 piece? go back again 9.17 Thane CST fast I say!

@liberal: thanks pa...my biggest critic, ur opinions are valued.
ur mom and my mom would do a better job of describing this any day! wot say?

Elusive said...

shrewd execution! dunno if intentional or not, you caught the crusty aura of the whole travel, the metaphors, the analogies do their job excellently to portray the journey..

buddy said...

@elusive: Thanks

maxdavinci said...

wah! wat metaphors lajawab!

nostalgia travelling from churchgate to chembur....

buddy said...

Nandri. Thank you
despite all the shit, I love Mumbai locals!

chocoliciousgal said...

I agree with the "mumbai local love" ;), very nice post...very true..somehow ur posts always remind me home:) :) ...and inactivity seems to be suiting u :)

maami said...

Just watched 'Mumbai Meri Jaan'.
And now this. Good track? On the right track? I swish my green flag for this!
Cheers

buddy said...

@chocoliciousgal: thanks divs. inactivity suits me? maybe thats cause people wont hang out with me!

@maami: thanks maami

swatimala said...

funny 1...reminded me of my everyday life