It took me mere few weeks to get connected to them in an extremely bizarre manner. Perhaps, the bond established because I never saw the ugly side of them and when I finally interacted with the ugly side, I was already so very much in love with them that I couldn’t feel their wrath.
Well! I am talking about Mumbai’s lifeline- the local trains. I had a year long relationship with them and I simply enjoyed every bit of it. Indeed, they did test my patience from time to time by making me wait for even half an hour at times but they were never torturous even for a day. In fact, every single journey has been memorable to the zenith. Till date, I guess I have been alone most of the times while travelling via trains without any company, but only strangers around me. Yet, the time spent travelling will forever be special to me as they have been the only moments I spent with my thoughts, without any interruptions.
Every morning on boarding the train, I would find empty seats inviting me. But, they never tempted me as enticingly as the breeze near the gate did; hence, I preferred standing near the gate but never hanged outside the gate. And, the next forty minutes, I would endlessly predict the day’s proceedings and blind myself with blissful anticipations. The icing on the cake was contributed by the earphones which always treated my eardrums with my favorite tracks. I even experienced the phenomena of associative nostalgia during these journeys. ‘Associative Nostalgia’ is generally related to a certain smell that triggers memories while in my case, the songs would always transfer me to some place in my past and I would return to the present only when my final destination would arrive.
And, the voyage back would always be unforgettable as it would involve reliving the entire day and the breeze in the evening never failed to heighten the comfort quotient of the entire odyssey. Nevertheless, these train journeys have not always been as delightful as it may seem for there were days when the forty minutes seemed like hours and at times, these trains moved as sluggishly as possible and specially when I would be in a hurry, they would discourteously halt amidst of nowhere for way too many minutes. Often, the thought of jumping off the train and walking on the tracks seemed a faster mode of transport. Honestly, at the same time I would find that thought of mine awfully impractical.
There would be times when after borivali, the compartment would have nobody except for me. Thus, I could have the entire compartment to myself and I can vividly recall quite a few occasions, when a tear or two rolled down gently as I stood near the gate, with a heavy heart, staring out into the space and desperately wanting to increase the length of the journey. These were the days when I would whole heartedly welcome the abrupt halts and never mind them even for once. These trains have seen me through the best as well as the worst of days and never even tried to break into my thoughts and have let me be myself. Ah! Even today, when I travel via trains, I am suddenly surrounded by a startling host of memories and train travel would be a wonderful substitute for time-travelling. :P
There have been days when I had to travel in the quintessentially crowded Mumbai Trains and frankly, I am scared of them to the core. I might emerge out of the train after an hour in the form of a bundle of broken bones. But, definitely I have spent some of the most beautiful moments with myself in sheer solitude confined in those compartments and would love to travel in the same fashion forever.
‘Santacruz to Mira Road…’ : A journey to be cherished forever, no matter what !