December 11, 2006


One can avoid claustrophobia by reserving a spot at the door. I always try to pleasantly make my way through the crowd flashing the Dahisar tag like a badge before anyone who wishes to get off after me. Soon, I only have to worry about being pushed out from where I perch myself. It's rare because the crowd getting in form the other end rarely 'combine forces' to make more room but moreover, the ladies already standing in 'files' are obsessively possessive of their space and will not allow encroachment of what is considered rightfully theirs for the duration of the train ride. They guard it with frightening grimaces even.

This must be routine in a local train. And yet, nothing had prepared me for this particular incident. It had been a few hot and sultry days. But it was sundown and I moved in accordance to the plan described above, so that I was finally at the most favourable spot on the train. Right at the door. It was breezy because the train was moving along. Bandra station arrived. The train halted. The stillness of the air became palpable. The train proceeded and quickly picked up speed. That's when it happened. It hit me just like physical violence. It was the stale air from the next compartment which was full of men. It was as if I had traveled into a cloud that bodily smacked me. It doesn't sound probable but it happened. It wasn't just the smell. It was possible to actually feel the warm dead air. Air that had been breathed in before by several others. Air that was dispensed with moisture laden particles of sweat and other fluids that a perspiring human body regularly produces in a hot climate. It happened at every stop till Dahisar.

For those who think winters in Bombay are a myth.


shreya said...

winters in bombay are a myth.

and do read for an entirely different train "experience".

oh, and this ain't spam!

vaidehi vishwasrao said...

fabulous non-spam reference...

And its not meant to compare with siberia (or toronto, right?). It's just infinitely easier to travel during the cool(er) weather.

We the people of Mumbai take immense pride in our winters. It's when we get our woolens out(we actually own some) and every street sells monkey-caps and sweaters.