Thursday, January 13, 2011

Another Train Story

You are probably all sick to death of me rabbit on about the trains in this part 
of the world, but I find them rather amusing, so I thought I would tell you of my story from a couple of days ago.

For those familiar with Mumbai’s suburban train network, I was travelling from Jogeshwari to Goregaon. The two stations are about 5 minutes apart and so despite it being 6.30pm (the height of peak hour for commuters) I wasn’t that apprehensive about my journey.

I have learnt by now that it is important to be near the door when you are about to get off the train so that you can in fact get off. It is not uncommon to be asked if you are getting off at the next station by someone behind you so they know if they need to get closer to the door than they are.  Hence, I made sure I was the last one to get into the carriage at Jogeshwari. Much to my surprise, there was actually a small amount of floor space visible, which meant that while still being packed, it was possible to breath. I took up position about a metre away from the door, ready to alight at Goregaon. Now, Goregaon is a fairly popular station, so there are usually a few people who will get out of the train and its always good to have a few people doing the same thing you are in a crowd so I felt relatively safe.

As we rolled in to Goregaon, I was about to step out of the carriage when I was hit by a wave. Not the earthquake tremor startled wall of water sort of wave, but a wave of Indian men who all wanted a spot on my carriage. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to push your way through a crowd of people, but if you want to experience this, then stand just inside David Jones on Boxing Day, as the doors open for the end of year sale, when the clock ticks to opening time, try to get out and see how you go.

The mob of commuters had decided that no-one was getting out, so as the train left Goregaon I was now 5 metres inside the carriage with little prospect of getting out. As the announcer said we were approaching Malad Station, I felt it was time to make my motives clear. I held my backpack above my head and started barging. If any of my Indian counterparts from that journey happen to be reading this, I apologise for the elbows you received in the back of the head, but I was getting out! There were many shouts from disgruntled locals and many voiced their objection, but I pushed, tripped and fell out of the carriage at the platform, dusted myself off, took a video of the train (see below) and crossed the tracks to catch another train back to Goregaon.
The good news is that I got back to my room by about 7pm local time, so I only missed 18 minutes of the socceroos v India game I was watching on the net.

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