Wednesday, December 1, 2010

40 minutes of SOLITUDE

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 !


  1. whoa
    same here
    its indeed great when you alone and the breeze and music .... indeed great feeling
    if you guys haven't try it its worth it
    thx for writing aru
    i relived my memories :)

  2. wow!!! nice one yar.... evn i do d same thing.. travel alone, bt u have framed d ideas on papr amazingly.. :)
    btw my central railway trains hardly stp in btwn stations.. :P

  3. I feel the same. I remember my Mum being scared to send me via trains, but then it started well, and its been a wonderful journey till date, and would continue for a long time. Oh yeah, even I was alone a lot many times, while reaching Borivali. Even travelled at 12am, the fun to feel the breeze and equally feeling scared of being alone with some male passengers, have a huge impact even today. Loved this one, Arundhati. Its one of the BEST, I have ever read. :))

  4. i supa dupa liked it...!!!
    i love mumbai the way it is...its d spice of my life...!!!

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  6. Very wel said Arundhati...totaly agreed wid u..luv u n ur writings :)

  7. :) :)
    you know you need to experience Mumbai trains in order to actually connect to it... It's truly diff from any other city...!
    :) :)

  8. Hey it was a wonderful post...
    There are such times in my life too when I've welcomed the solitude that the journey provided me..travelled at all hours 4 o'clock in the early morning when I din want that nite to come only and shed tears...peak hours where you fight to just secure a place to stand...and even the odd hours late in the night guess that was 11 o'clock in the when I felt oh so lonely just like the moon...tears do roll down my eyes...many more memories are there, if I start penning down them here then the comment wud fall short :D

    Trains are something I love a lot..glad to know you wrote something on this and it turned out so beautifully !!

  9. @ griffen... so true..even i am reliving some of my local train memories...

    @ anupam.. I so enjoy it when the train doesnt stop anywhere between andheri and the way..its strange but at times suicidal thots to enter my mind n i thot off jumping off..but obviously i do not try such a thing ever...

    @ tanvi...haha same here... i guess everybody travelling in those empty compartments feel the same way...

    @ nishith...
    Exactly..recently, i travelled during the peak hours..and i have kind of got used to it now... it's fun !

    @ fatima...
    it was on my mind for long and actually i wrote it somewhere in november...
    i know exactly what u mean...
    :) :)

  10. hehe finally u wrote damn true....people who use the "commuter friendly mumbai local train service" regularly are bound to like this......:)

  11. beautiful post...and beautiful thoughts very well wreathed. it was a pleasure reading this one!

  12. i sooooooooooooo love this one!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Wow you are a serious author now!

  14. beautiful ! loved reading it : )

  15. travellin by mumbai locals is a school fo me...every day ders sumfyn new to learn n observe...


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