A guest post (actually a comment) from Ruth Fernandes, my colleague at Daksada, and a human being I am glad I met! As a true Mumbaikar, Oops! Bombaywalli, she updates me on Bombay’s suburban train culture. (Re: Of suburban train culture – here and there, then and now…)
Mini, I can promise you it’s still the same.. the only difference is that you don’t have to shout at the friend who is on the other side of the compartment.. you simply whatsapp a message to her. People are on their phones chatting, playing candy crush etc, but there is always one eye on the passenger next to you, lest you get pick pocketed, or someone jumps into the seat that is intended for you. We Mumbaikars are very smart.. the first question you ask a sitting passenger is where they are alighting. You then book that seat and then you tell the others that, that particular ladies seat is yours. In other words, don’t you dare jump into it, even if I am on candy crush!
Fasts & Festivals, needlework and other craft, shopping for nick -knacks or preparing the veggies in your bag for a quick ‘sabzi’ for dinner…. are all still the same. Exceptions though, are some good ones… your fisherwomen are forbidden from entering the ‘ladies’, ( you cant learn fisher folk swear words anymore!) vendors have far more exciting things to sell, like salwar khameez materials, saris, Chinese decoration items and the ubiquitous plastic covers for fridges and washing machines… you cant find these in Dubai, can you? Well, take a flight to Mumbai and jump into the ladies compartment of our Bombay Trains, or the Women’s Special which is a train painted in Pink, all for ladies… Only, fakth aamcha!, and shop for the uncanniest things possible.
And yes, what really bugs me, in Dubai, above all, is when people stand at the entrance of compartments, even though they do not want to alight… I always tell myself they are not aamchi Mumbaikars! Oops, Bombaywallis! We have learnt, it is now in our DNA.. ‘dont stand by the door, you will get thrown out!’