From a Delhiite to a Mumbaikar,DNA India,August 23, 2006
From a Delhiite to a Mumbaikar
What started as disgust and anguish, turned to tolerance, surprise and finally, joy. No, the transition was not quick but it sure was pleasant. We went through a gamut of emotions after shifting to Mumbai.
Initially, we used to miss Lutyens Delhi and its open spaces and greenery. We used to curse our profession and then ourselves for landing in Mumbai. Discussions invariably focused around positives of Delhi like - better roads, more open and green spaces, now also a Metro. Our friends from Mumbai used to lament that though Mumbai pays the highest taxes, Delhi gets all the development.
Initially, we travelled by local trains and fresh from our brush with the Delhi metro, the contrast could not have been starker. We were amazed to see people hanging from the doors of trains. One of my friends remarked that it was not because the train was full but because the hangers wanted fresh air.
As we slowly adjusted to Mumbai, we understood the vibes of the city, and that the local train maintains its hustle and rhythm.
Once as we were travelling on the local, my wife noticed some people on the adjacent train. She commented on their happy faces — people crammed, beating the harsh summer sun, but still smiling. They seemed to be enjoying travelling on the Mumbai local. We carefully looked at the people around us. None of them seemed to be stressed or disgusted. We looked at each other and wondered if we were the only ones stressed out. We realised that the frustration lies within. From that day, we started looking at the Mumbai local differently. I now prefer the train to the car.
We finally got our PhDs in the Mumbai local train travel and people who travel on the western line will attest that. We were planning to meet our friends in Kandivali and had to travel from Vashi. We took a bus to Bandra and reached there by 7pm (the rush hour on working days). As we waited for a fast train, the Bhayendar Fast arrived and without thinking twice my athletic wife and I somehow got into the jam-packed second class compartment.
We were greeted by pushes, shoves, hostile glares and above all surprised stares. A guy standing beside us was watching us keenly and asked, "Where are you from?" We replied, "Delhi."
He said he had guessed as much. No person in the right mind in Mumbai will ever dare to get onto a Bhayendar Fast from Bandra and then hope to get down safely at Borivali.
Thankfully, the same guy helped us jump off the moving train at the right time and we landed among a sea of bodies on the Borivali platform. Till date, our friends laud us for that unimaginable feat. Amidst all this, I remember the kind gentleman who administered us the necessary skills to travel the Bhayendar Fast. I am sure these skills will come in handy.
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