Saturday, July 13, 2013

Prove the following - In Mumbai : Rains + Trains = Strains + Pains

Prove the following:

In Mumbai : Rains + Trains = Strains + Pains 
Rains in Mumbai has lost its vigour, it had during the initial two weeks. Mumbai had welcomed me (who had came in here for the 'Water' course) with 40% of the total average rainfall, clouds bursting out in the first few days of the monsoon itself. After that havoc, its strength has reduced considerably. But that doesn't mean it has lost its ability to slow down the usual pace of the city for a day or two. Last Friday was one such a day. It had started raining from early morning. It was gloomy outside when I woke up in the morning and I was sure that I will have to carry umbrella. I hate carrying umbrella(even during my school/college days in Kerala and mild drizzles of Bangalore, I seldom carried it), unless it is really needed. It is difficult to carry it, difficult to keep it and easy to forget it. The thought of travelling in local trains with umbrella makes it more haunting, here in Mumbai. I prefer getting drenched in rain, than carrying this cumbersome device. I could sense the rain's "ability to slow down" Mumbai during morning train commuting itself. The crowd was much less in the stations and I got a seat in two out of three trains, I travelled during the morning rush hours. This was first such instance over the last one month. Thus it was a travel in the "Business Class" and I had felt blessed. 

Soon after the classes, there was a fun event organized by the TISS Counselling Team "Celebrating Mumbaiya Rains", where in there was a Mela, some games and also a Rain DJ. Most of the students enjoyed the concept of rain dance with many dancing to the tunes of the DJ drenching themselves in the rain and others viewing it from the balconies. It was a very well organized event, though I felt the selection of the songs could have been better. There were usual "Balma", "Munni Badnam Huyi", "Ringa Ringa" and few Punjabi beats, which kept on boringly repeating. Dinesh, Deepesh, Anubha, Vivek, Akhil, Apoorva were some of the fellow dancers. "Tip Tip Barsa Pani" was the only song related to rains, which was un-danceable number for an "below par dancer" like me. I too tried my usual steps(Jai Salim Kumar) in what in Kerala we call it as a "Koothara" event. After "celebrating" the rain, I decided to return back to Malad. My aunt had called me in the afternoon and had informed me that many trains had got cancelled due to heavy rains and hence to start early from TISS. I forgot that warning as I got too involved in the event. Now the question popped up as to "How to reach back to Malad?" It was around 7pm. Called up Elizabeth and asked her whether she is planning to leave. She accompanies me to Govandi railway station last few days, from where she catches a train to Nerul. Elizabeth was relishing the Kulfi (another Mela product) along with Nidheesh and her other friends(Anupa, Brinda, Aswati). Soon Nidheesh, Elizabeth and me left from there. Elizabeth and Nidheesh are from Public Health course and both are jovial Malayalees(conspiring regionalism :-)). Nidheesh stays in TISS hostel and before parting ways, three of us got involved in a discussion. The discussion was on the topic "Caste Reservation" with each having interesting(controversial?) views, that we stood there on the side of the main road under the umbrellas(yes, it was raining still) for around half an hour and debating on the topic. Elizabeth put an end to the discussion stating it's almost 8pm and that it is getting late. After saying bye bye to Nidheesh, we walked our way to Govandi station, got tickets to Nerul and Malad respectively. I was eager to check whether trains are running in the "Harbour Line", which is usually the one which is worst affected and the service gets cancelled in this route, in case it rains heavily in Mumbai. While on the ticket queue, found a train plying and I had a sigh of relief. My mobile had 2% charge. Called up my aunt and conveyed to her that I will be boarding the train and my mobile is about to switch off. She said as it was 8 pm and she will expect me to reach by 10 pm. Another train came just after getting the ticket, as the ladders were wet and slippery (and since the trains were aplenty) decided not to rush to catch it(Ahankaaram). Elizabeth's train came soon (train to the opposite direction) and she was fortunate to get into the less crowded ladies compartment sandwiched between fully packed "gentleman's" coaches. Usually there will be a digital time table of the next train as to where it is going and the expected time in all the stations and it works efficiently on all "normal" days. But whenever there is a delay or cancellation of services, this digital device always shows the timing as 00:00 which in a way states you are doomed and the train could arrive at any time or even not arrive. I got a non-wet seat after some search in the platform and waited for the train to come. My phone had dead and there was nothing much to be done rather than waiting for the train. Rain was pouring outside and the railway station speakers blared something in Marathi. From the message I could only sense the apology from the railway authorities, which I assumed to be because of the late running or cancellation of trains. The railway station slowly began to get crowded and I started to feel restless partly for not risking to catch the previous train. To make matters worse, 4-5 trains went past in the opposite direction. . At last after about half an hour wait, a train came moderately packed. The crowd outside was enough to make it fully jam packed. Got down at Kurla station and the situation was similar in the "Central Line" too. Trains were cancelled and the digital clock time table showed 00:00. Waited there again for 15 minutes. Train to Dadar was a relief and I got a seat to sit. Now the last part of my daily train expedition, the "Western Line". Here too trains had been cancelled. Here the digital time tables were not 00:00, but it showed a time one hour back. This digital time table also shows whether the next train is a Fast or Slow train. All the trains were showing up towards Virar that too Fast trains. Few of these trains stop in malad, where I need to get out. It was getting late and taking my chance I rushed into a Virar Fast and thought even if the train doesn't stop in Malad, will go and get out at Borivali, two stations after Malad and come back from there. I got a seat in the train and thought the drama for the day has unfolded. The train reached Andheri station. From here the train has to go slow(means have to stop in the minor stations, of which Malad is one), in case I want to get down at Malad. But soon the speaker blared that the next stop is Borivali. 

Moments after this, there was some sort of confusion in the entrance, where in I saw a person coming in to the train and getting out with a bag from the baggage section of the train. The train just about at the same time started moving and another person rushed towards the door exit crying that it was his baggage. People standing near the door prevented him from jumping from the moving train. He tried to pull the chain but the fellow passengers said there is no use getting out as the person who took his baggage had disappeared into the crowd. The next stop being Borivali, the passengers began to circle round the "victim". I too went near to the person trying to console him and discuss what could be done. Some said to check the other person's baggage. All the passengers took their baggage and the one that was left behind was a pink plastic cover. I got particularly afraid while they were searching the baggage as two day's back I had that "Bomb"ay incident and aftermaths. 

Two or three searched the bag and found that it has some spinach in it. Soon the discussions followed. 

Pass 1: Arey, woh tho yahin pe khada tha. Door ke aas paas. 
Pass 2: Woh chalke phir aaya, aur bag leke nikal gaya.
Victim: Mera purse, company id aur laptop uspe hein . (Frustrated, busy trying to call someone through his mobile, but couldn't get them) 
Pass 3: Ab kya kare. 
Me: RPF ko phone laga sakthe hein na?
Pass 1, 2 and 3: Usse kya hone wala hein. Woh chala gaya hoga.
Pass 2 to Victim: Chehra dekha aapne?
Victim: Nahin.
Pass 1: Meine dekha tha. Woh yahin pe khada tha. 
Pass 1: Aap bhi na. Kyun yeh purse, id card sab uspe rakhe the? 
Pass 2: Laptop bhi hein. Aur kyon baggage vaha pe rakhe. 
Victim: Meine andhar he rakha tha. Kisko patha kein ki utaake le jaayega wahaan se?
Pass 2 to victim:(Trying to console) Bale aadmi hein tho call karega. Uske andhar thera number hein na?
Victim: Haan. Sab kuch hein us mei.
Pass 1: Nahin tho samjho gaya. Lekin woh kyun bag leke baagega? Uski tho yahaan pe ek cover hein.

This conversation continued and Borivali station came where I got out. (Hope that guy got his baggage back). 

Borivali station was again crowd sea. So many people waiting for trains. The effect of delayed and cancelled trains was clearly seen as the clock struck 10:00. Here too the digital time table was running 1 hour late. Soon I realised that the same problem which I faced in Dadar was in here too. All the trains that were coming were Fast trains, means they wont stop at Malad. Miser in me prevented from going in an Auto to Malad from Borivali. I had crossed the deadline given to my aunt, ie of 10:00 pm and with no mobile charge to call her up, I was sure about wrath There was another person who seems like a food vendor, an old man who also wanted to go to Malad. He was conversing to me in Marathi as he found me also bound to Malad. Though I couldn't understand anything he said, I just nodded my head to everything he was saying. Two or three fast trains went past. I was getting restless and decided to board the next train whatever it may be. 

In the digital notice board, for the next train it was mentioned as it will stop in Malad in one side and it won't stop in Malad in the other side. This added to the confusion. I decided to try my luck once again. Boarded into the train. The old man kept on asking me whether it will stop at Malad, but I didnt had an answer. I just said to him: "Dekh lethe hein, nahin tho Andheri jaakar, wahan se vaapas aa jaayenge." He rubbished me in Marathi and went on to ask others the same. Later I recognised that he had his vessels with him which would be difficult to carry if in case he had to get down and board another train. The train was not going to stop in Malad only for me and thus, I shuttled back to Andheri. I had to wait another 10 minutes there. There were many dogs lying around and I fondled it caringly. It was almost 10:40 pm and atlast a slow train came to Borivali. Slowly but surely, it reached Malad at around 10:55pm. There was a shared auto waiting for a person. Got into that and I reached my aunt's home at 11:15pm. They were surely tensed and I didn't describe all this to them to make matters worse . Was feeling horribly hungry after all this ordeal and hence gobbled up the delicious, home made dinner and went to bed.

Thus In Mumbai:
Rains + Trains = Strains + Pains 
Hence proved.

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