Saturday, March 12, 2005

Bombay Woes!

Walking on Dadar station is like running through an obstacle course, except that all the obstacles come rushing towards you at the same time!
I’ve to actually go to the Dadar West platform from the Central Dadar station. To do so I’ve to walk a bridge leading to the West platforms. Walking this bridge is no joke, especially during rush hours. I hate it if I’ve to go to college anywhere between 7 and 9 am, because at this time the overhead bridge is horribly crowded, and I hate crowds. All my life I’ve tried to avoid crowded areas. Living in Hyderabad, it wasn’t all that difficult, it’s a small city, expanding rapidly, but is nowhere near the gargantuan size of the monster metropolis, Bombay.
The first time I had to go to college at 7 am, I was first of all pissed off that I had to get up at the unearthly hour of 5:30 am, but hadn’t reckoned on what lay ahead on my ride to college! When I reached the foot of the bridge I ran up the stairs as usual and when I got to the top, the sight of the number of people rushing about immobilized me completely. For a brief second I contemplated turning back and running home, but I soldiered on. It was one of the worst experiences of all my life! I was caught in a sea of humanity! Men, women, children, rushing all over the place, desperate to catch their trains to their respective offices and schools.
This bridge is difficult enough to maneuver at normal times, but during rush hour it was near to impossible!
So now starts the ‘obstacle course’. Not only do I have to keep my eyes out for the board on which the train schedules are displayed, but I have to also somehow twist and turn and plough my way to the Western platform, trying to avoid stepping on some idiots sitting on the bridge floor, and also avoid being groped by perverts all over the place!
Men can be so disgusting at times! I mean what the hell is wrong with them? According to me, men at the station can be divided into three categories: (1) Those seeing a female form will try and brush past her, even if she’s on the other end! (2) Those who will move out of the way (some just jump out of the way!) when they see a woman approaching, (3) And the third kind don’t care who’s in their way, they have a train to catch and will push whoever comes in their way!
At such times all I want to do is round off each and every disgusting male of the human species, dump them in a shuttle and shoot them off to some distant galaxy, where they can hang in limbo for all of their miserable lives!
I usually use my bag as a shield, when it’s too crowded; my elbows too have come in handy from time to time! I must confess that I too have elbowed people out of the way in my frantic attempts to reach the ladies compartment before the train chugs off the platform, especially when I’m running late.
But the obstacle course doesn’t end when I reach the West platform. Now I have to weave my way through the throngs standing on the platform, towards the area where the ladies compartment stops. The obstacle course continues even when the train arrives, as I have to literally fight my way inside! Actually I don’t do too much of fighting, I just follow in the wake of a bunch of women clawing their way in!
During rush hours one would be extremely lucky to even get a foothold on the train let alone a place to sit! It is so, so crowded that there is hardly even enough air to breathe! And I don’t know which is worse, being sandwiched between women who have bathed themselves in perfume, or those with bad body odour! The jury’s still out on that!
I do not like to be touched. It annoys me very much if someone’s hand brushes mine, be it a man or woman. But in the crowded compartment there is just no choice! Ever been sandwiched between a humongous bag and a flabby stomach? Not a pleasant experience!
Once I was literally hanging on for dear life, my arms wrapped around the pole placed in the middle of the entrance of the train. There was just no place to go anywhere further inside! I had even wondered at the platform if I should get on or just wait for the next local. But checking what time it was decided that I just had to squeeze my way in. I was late as usual!
But women have it relatively easier than men; at least we don’t have to travel on the roof of the train! I’ve seen many men traveling on the roof, even though it is against the law. Not only do they travel on the roof, but also hang onto the side of the train! The men’s compartments are always overflowing. The ones right at the entrance barely have one foot in, let alone two!
One day while I was walking away from the train I’d just disembarked from, I saw this old man huffing and puffing his way to the men’s compartment. Just as he reached it, the train started moving. He stood there, disappointment writ large on his face, when some college students reached out their hands and shouted, “Run Uncle run!” The old man looked up and smiled and started running and was caught by the college dudes and pulled into the already crowded compartment! I just dissolved into giggles on the spot! It was quite a sight!


Anonymous said...

i liked the bit abt the youngsters pulling the old man in. always thot the youth were more self - involved than the rest of humanity but this proves me wrong.

:..M..: said...

Hehe. Now you know why I dread visiting! Imagine the inexperienced finding a way through that crowd! I'd say I would've fainted a million times. I've my own little stories I ought to tell you one of these days.

Abhijeet said...

i've beed readings your blogs for quite some time now.
though never commented.
just a suggestion, why don't you try writing a novel. would be a hit for sure.

Phoenix Rises said...

M, I can't believe you'd be shy to face a problem!! Hehe! But Bombay crowds can be very daunting.

Abhijeet, thanks a lot!! You've just made my day! In fact I've always wanted to publish at least one novel in my lifetime. Now I also know that there would be people to read it!! ;)