Mumbai: the city of dreams, celebrities, and the famous railway network — fondly known as Mumbai Local. It’s the lifeline of Mumbai with 2,300 trains and a staggering 7.5 million commuters every single day. Whew! That’s a lot of overcrowding.
But let me place the bare truth out. Unless you live close to your workplace, train travel in Mumbai is inescapable. No matter how affluent you are, you have to take on the ride to reach places only these 12 boogies can take you to. Plus, they save you a lot of time.
So if you find yourself hopping on to a Mumbai Local, be prepared to meet a melee of people from all walks of life and have myriad train experiences: funny, frustrating, and amusing.
As Virar to Andheri traveller Nikhil Jain (23) recalls, “Once, I was travelling during rush hour and the train was jam-packed. I was sandwiched between two people.
“The one in front of me started humming a Bollywood song, and the one behind me followed suit and sang the same song. The first one turned to him and said: aye, tera khud ka gaa na!”
Such are the stories you’ll hear from the frequent travellers. But no matter which train you take, you’re sure to come across these 10 funny characters:
(1) The Window-Seat Hoarders
They are the first ones to race towards the nearest ‘window-seat’ available. Their faces are always on those dirty grills, breathing in that ‘fresh’ Mumbai air, blocking most of it from others.
(2) The Hangers
You are bound to find people who simply love to sway from the straphangers in trains. Oh, and there are those who love the vertical poles and just won’t let go. Idhar chala main, udhar chala…
(3) Fourth Seat Pleaders
They are the ones who always come up to an already-occupied row and plead for you to scooch in, so that they can rest their bums in the little space an ant would fit in.
(4) The Rugby Players
The roughest players around — they are the ones you better be careful of. They will push and nudge you if need be, to take that seat or even to get on to the train. The rugby aunties are the worst; they will spare no one!
(5) The Ones with the Resting Bitch Face
Every compartment has at least one. These people have a judgement look you just can’t ignore, as they analyse you from top to toe. Hope you’ve got your pedicure done?
(6) The Chatty Ones
They are always on phone — always. If the call drops, they will call back and continue the conversation with gusto. Plus, some of them are really loud. Ouch.
The second type in this category are the chatty conversationalists. They don’t care who you are and what you do, they still want to strike up a conversation with you. And you thought you’d catch up on some sleep? Ha!
(7) The Creepers
Ugh…these guys will stare, lech, sing or pass comments. You can choose to ignore them, or get together with your train sisters and give them a piece of your mind. Don’t worry, they can be taken care of by the railway police too.
(8) The Makeshift Mummies
Now we all know that moms are multi-taskers, so it isn’t surprising that they bring their work to home and their home to the train.
You’ll find these mommies chopping and peeling vegetables and knitting on the train, getting on with their chores, and expecting fellow passengers to join the jam.
(9) The Sweaters
Winter? Summer? Spring? Fall? They will sweat it all. And then comes the odour, which if you’re lucky, you can escape. #SorryNotSorry
(10) Forever Confused
This one is yours truly! People like me (especially if new to the city) are always lost in the crowd, totally confused as to which side the platform will appear on, where to get off, etc. Luckily, the people of Mumbai are always happy to help.
How many of these characters have you encountered?
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