Queens of the Mumbai locals

A Mumbai local train is a myriad of interesting personalities. Below are some typical characters found in a womens coach:

1. The forever in love

It seems she is in a new love and cannot leave it off her mind. Blushing as she chats on stealthily in her earphones. Sheepishly smiling and sputtering few words in between. So softly, you have to strain your ears to guess the language. How is she managing to communicate so coherently in a cacophonous train while you have to shout at the top of your voice to get one word across. Does her partner on the other side really hear what she is saying? Maybe that is the secret they are able to carry on so well. Rather than the true intent, it appears she is talking to convince herself, convince herself that they will remain strong amidst clamour, that they will keep muttering to each other even in the nosiest phase of their lives.

2. The santraa waali

This woman can fit herself and her orange tokri in any given space. Passengers are fighting for a place to stand and she happily comes and whams her basket. But everyone cannot remain cross with her for long, since her pushes are soon compensated by the irresistible tang that suffuses the compartment. Orange is definitely the fruit of the locals.

3. The gossip queens

This is a broad category but I am talking about the ladies that just cannot part with their household or office politics. They keep gossiping about a third person, water problem in their area, sister-in-law saying something spiteful, boss being arrogant. They are the saas-bahu(and the recently added, office) drama queens of the coach.

4. The clips-earrings waali

You should have that skill, to not invite her wrath and still be be able to reject her tray of clips. This woman knows how to manage time till the last tick. She has precisely calculated the time she can bargain, time you will take to muddle through your purse for money, and time taken for the train to reach the speed she can hop out balancing those long trays on her head. You are left awestruck with her nimbleness.

5. The students

Are seen in the prime of swag, with a bling phone. On an average three girls huddled together, with obviously one leading the clan. All they do is gossip, tip tap on their phones and crib about the next test. Rarely some of them are seen bending over a book, the studious ones.

6. The daredevils

Even a fly is sitting on the seat waiting for the next station to buzz on, Aunty in the next bay is sleeping on a whole berth, but these adventure seekers have to be dangling on the door like clothes hanging to dry. They will step out on every station and come back in, but wont ever come inside and lead a not-so-thrilling life by having a seat.

7. The disciple

It is similar to counting sheep when trying to sleep. Be assured of a nice doze when this female is sitting in front of you scribbling Ram in her never ending notepad.

8. The manager

This lady knows who is getting down where in the entire coach. Contact her for quick seats, she will be glad to help. She has connections spread across stations and trains and is busy figuring out who will occupy that seat after Mulund and then after Kurla. If I ever plan a startup, I am contacting these amazing organisers.

9. The kitty party

Travelling everyday in the same coach makes some really strong groups. They share tiffins, mithais, gossips and seats. They can make a newbie in the coach feel alienated. Newbies either join the group or make sure they dont sit around them in the long run. These groups have offsites too and some friendships last a lifetime.

10. The first timers

Mumbai locals are not very kind to the new travellers. You know one when you see one. It is pretty amusing to observe them. They are tensed(especially in the old locals which lack both the display and announcements) and are unaware of the accepted and expected flow followed in a coach. Neither do they know the dead zones, where the flow isnt going to move. This ignorance leads to utter confusion and the everyday passengers arent adjusting enough to soak in an aberration. With an incredibly low tolerance limit, they are ready to pounce on anything that pricks them. You can only hope the newbie learns the tricks with time.

11. The observers

Well, it is difficult to find one! 😉 You would never notice them, since all they do is look around. I wonder how many more are out there.

MARCH 7, 2015

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