Mumbai locals, a life within a life!
I’ve travelled to a lot of countries and have often used their public transport. However there is nothing like the Mumbai locals. There is a connection that is made here beyond words. Faces that become a part of your daily life.
It’s love and hate relationship with the local, one day you love a face, that helps you find a seat or gives you their own. And the next day you are displeased at their no acknowledgement.
A lot has happened in my life during in these few months. The local had become an inherent part of our life. I travelled with my three year old son by the 10:12 Ladies special from Mira-Road to Churchgate. I used to board this train to take my son to school.
It was definitely a challenge. It was a battle that I was fighting not only in my personal life but even in my commute.
Obviously it was hard carrying a toddler, as early as ten o'clock in the morning. The toddler was cranky and would want to be carried. And with my back ache, climbing multiple bridges and holding him throughout the journey was extremely tiresome.
A few women started watching me everyday, and since it was the crucial office hour everyone as in a hurry to get on with their day. In the first class, (the middle F.C.) I was asked why was I carrying my child and where would we go everyday. Initially I tried to ignore these questions, but I couldn’t hide the sadness on my face and the school bag to go with it.
The questions stopped at once, and in that one day we made some friends. Some smiled, some didn’t, some expressed their kindness and some showed their indifferent attitude. However I had to continue the commute.
It would upset me when young girls couldn’t squeeze in a small child, pregnant woman or an oldie. I am one person who would never sit but with a child in your arms standing for 40 minutes does get tiring.
Sheryl, was a middle aged aunty. She was the first one to become friends with my son and keep him entertained. I can’t explain what a blessing that was, and that my son was actually laughing in spite of all our pain. She told me how life was a test, and though she had a great husband and a life. She couldn’t have kids. She told me to stay strong and it was her kindness that I needed. They were many few others who were around, who never bothered to acknowledge the child and a few that were always offering.
But I saw pregnant women who were pushed. Old women who weren’t respected and children who weren’t cared for. It took a lot of courage to not tell off people because I was dealing with my own baggage. Yet once a while I would put some girls to shame. I felt that was really needed.
You are a woman of today and you talk feminism but do you really feel it?
You don’t smile at the lady passenger who sits next to you. You don’t give up your seat for the woman with a bump. You push the one carrying a child and you don’t reply to the old woman who asks for directions.
May I ask why this rudeness?
You may be having troubles in your life and so do I. Yet I don’t feel right seeing what I saw.
Then how do you feel good doing it?
Frustrations and fatigue can be stories, but is it so hard to be nice to a woman who is pmsing.
She is going through a rough time and I know you can’t take that away.
Is it so difficult to show some decency to a fellow human?
Women are fighting and pulling each other’s hair and clothes. Educated or not, they are ready to bring the other one down. It surprised me when I overheard men saying, that this mostly happens only in the Ladies compartments. And I was saddened because this is not what one woman must do to the other. We raise other women, not decrease them.
I want to urge the Railway ministers to close all the doors when the trains run. Every life is valuable and teaching manners to a population of 80 lakh is beyond possible. Small measures can be taken and those people who hang on the doors and windows can be protected.
I don’t know how many of you will ask for change. Although I really hope you are the ones that make the change. Being soft as a woman won’t bring your spirits down, it will lift up someone else’s life.
Be the hand you can count on...
My love and dua to the ladies on the 10:12 special. I hope you all are in that happy spirits that made my travel memorable forever.
Love and Luck,