600=8 when Mumbai=Rain
We had a healthy talk with our manager, healthy bole to the final result was that each one of us was satisfied, at least I was. We then packed our bags and left the office for Curry Road, the central railway station from where I was to board the local train for Mulund. It was drizzling outside. I was observed in the thoughts of how I would impress my manager by getting him big projects and heavy clients as I waded through the pavement avoiding umbrella clashes and roadside vendors. I reached the station at around 8:20 night.
I was startled. There was not an inch space on the station. The cement was nowhere visible. People were standing everywhere. It was a sea and everyone was waiting for the train to Mulund. I was going to be one of them or rather I would cease to exist if I was to be one of them.
The train arrived already overloaded with people hanging like tree leaves outside the compartments. They were already shouting and as the train slowed the people on the platform got ready for the dash. It is always a scene if you are watching such acts of desperation as boarding a Mumbai local train on a rainy day. So we decided to watch. The train almost stops. The shouts agitate. Next I see people mixing just as molecules on two sides of the barrier will mix after the barrier is removed. Some people come out, some manage to get in, some try to come out but are pushed back in by the crowd, some try to get in but prevented by some selfish group of people already on the train. All kinds of things happening and I as you would expect am enjoying the scene. The train leaves taking with it some satisfied faces and leaving aside some disappointed ones.
Now the question with us was how to get to our home in Mulund. The trains were jam packed as very few trains were running on the rainy day. So my companion Thakur suggested that we get on the train that goes the other way, as these are quite uncrowded during evening hours and then board the Mulund bound train from the starting station, CST. A good idea. The next train to CST was to arrive in 20 min. I decided to buy a newspaper. Even the newspapers were not spared. The front page news said that somebody had put condoms filled with urine in the women compartment of the train bound to Virar. It seems lot of free condoms is available with some people to do such things or may be they are not god enough to use them somewhere else! While this answer may not be clear one thing that is clear is that Mumbai local is one of the most interesting place in the world, especially on a rainy day.
We boarded the train bound to CST, got a place to sit. Some people were already seated and before reaching CST the train got almost filled. There are many smart people in Mumbai; we are not the only ones. After 5 min the train left CST station again Jam-packed. The only difference was that we had the inside view this time. Only two or three stations later the train was so full that nobody was either getting in or getting out. Everyone was fighting for ground and aerial space. I was getting pushed from two sides and almost dancing as the train moved.
People on the gate were shouting quite a lot. It seemed that they found this situation funny. They were a group of 5-6 friends and were not letting anyone get down or come in. It was complete dadagiri. Suddenly a guy tried to get out at his station while these people stopped him. A fight broke out and the guy was badly thrashed by these goons. I could here the slaps and the abuses. Everyone was watching but nobody did anything. I would no go into moralities as I was also one among the watchers. These goons got down at Ghatkopar taking the guy with them. God knows what they would have done with him. The trains here sometimes turn red.
I had to get down 2 stations after. The crowd was magnanimous but this is what one usually sees on the Mumbai locals. So I got ready for the mission, to get down on Mulund. I took my specs and kept them in my bag, kept my purse in the bag, tied my bag in front and for some time felt like I was going to fight Pakistan on the border.
MULUND?? ...I asked the person in front. He nodded which meant I had to follow him. The train stopped at Bhandup and people got down and people came up. Complete chaos. I was tied on all sides and after a min found my breath back. Thank god I was getting down after one station.
Mulund came. The people behind me pushed me and in reaction I pushed the one in front. We moved and neglecting small blows which are part of the game while getting down, everything went fine until I checked my specs. I had lost a glass; it had broken in the pressure. It had cost me around 100 rupees for a Rs 8 ticket. We took a shared auto and went to Swad for dinner. As I checked my pocket for money, what the hell!! I checked purse, my bag each of the cases but could not find the 500 rupee note. It was gone from my back pocket on the same local train. Somebody had shown his art and left kangal. It had cost me Rs 600 for a Rs 8 ticket!