Mumbai local trains are infamous for more things than Paris Hilton. For years I have heard friends, who have been travelling in local trains forever, rant and rave about how pathetic and sometimes dangerous it becomes just to get in it. I have heard the most harrowing stories of how people who have died or even worse, mutilated from falling off the trains, because they didn’t have enough space to get inside the train and had to careen on the edge of the door like superman or woman for that matter.
These bloodcurdling stories were enough for me to readily opt for a “First Class” (which costs more than 3times the cost of second class) pass to travel to and fro from my college, which by the way is in Churchgate and it takes me 1 hour and 15 minutes just to get there by a fast train, longer in a slow one. I have evening classes, which mean (read:I was told) the trains would be fairly vacant, even more so in “First Class”. This thing turned out to be true when I first boarded the train in the noon on my first day to college. I was elated, to say the least, to find that I could very well literally sleep till I got to VT, but this happiness was to be short-lived. My dream of sleeping in trains to and fro from college was shattered to little pieces when I boarded the train at 9 to get back home. To my dismay, I saw women, working, educated, sophisticated and dressed-to kill women, jostling and fighting each other just to get inside the damn train’s tiny “First Class” compartment.
It’s been three days now and I have had to stand for 1 hour and 15mins on the train back home, which is no easy feat. There are times when I think and feel like crying of having wasted so much money on the “First Class” pass which is no different than the Second Class, except that women here will curse you in English rather than in Marathi.
With the amount they charge for the “First Class” the least they can do is add one more “Ladies First Class” compartment to the train which will relieve the effect of clautrophobia that this tiny compartment has on the hundreds of women who try to squeeze into it.
“First Class” or Second Class, to travel in Mumbai local trains you have to be a contortionist. It requires you to bend yourself in the most unusual ways ever imaginable. I can think of one good thing that comes with this though. If you have been travelling in local trains all your life you will save up a lot of money that would have otherwise been used to pay the medical bills for joint pains.