Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Railway Chronicles - The Coop

Anyone who has been to Mumbai knows about the Mumbai trains. And for those of you not familiar with this phenomenon, here is a quick tutorial - The trains connect the manpower in Mumbai to the machines. In short, Mumbai runs on the rail.

And like everything else in the city, the train service has some classic rules. As and when a particular one bothers me, you’ll get to read about it. For example, today's grouse is compartment allocation.

Broadly speaking, Mumbai trains are divided into basic service second-class compartments and slightly less basic service first-class compartments. Moreover, since Indian men are an overtly chivalrous lot, we further divide the train into the general (read men’s) compartment and the women’s compartment.

The bee in my bonnet right now, is the first class women’s compartment. The powers who are figured that women don’t have to travel too much, at least not as much as the hard working, bread winning men of the city. So why waste an entire first-class compartment on them? They were however kind enough to spare us a chicken coop styled little carriage.
Ooooh gracious sirs, how considerate and large hearted you are!

Every morning and evening, thousands of women crush themselves into these chicken coop compartments and travel on a prayer. Survivors are decorated with crunched toes and elbowed ribs. Casualties are smothered by fat while attempting to snatch whatever little oxygen might be available.

But of course these are just selfish complains. Nobody has the time for little things like this, not when the nation is plagued with so many 'real' problems. So nothing is going to change. We will continue traveling in a body crush. And for at least a hundred years or so, me and I’m sure a thousand others, will continue to endure on a rant.

A luxurious prelude to the day. A fitting tribute to the day gone by.

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