banno, dhanno and teja in bumm-bumm-bhole-land

thodi si lift kara de

When you have a near-death moment, you want to talk about it again and again.

No one else wants to hear about it again and again. Even the first time, their eyes glaze.

People are more interested in what happened, than what did not.

One leg in, one leg out of the train, fallen down, screaming and squirming out, I thought of losing my leg, my slipper, my phone.

Standing on the platform, trembling with shock, I thought of losing my life.

Teja hugged me at home.

He was a bit angry. He has told me several times not to take a Virar local.

But I had got beguiled by the women sharing cake and giggling, ‘It’s Valentine’s Day’, in the morning.


At night, some other women, turned ferocious.

The next day, I could stay home and nurse my bruises. Or I could go back and catch a train again.

This time, I walked even slower than I usually do.

I climbed in not after the last person, but much after the last person had sat down.

The train in response, though ostensibly fast, became slower than a slow one.

A girl next to me complained several times. We both complained to each other.

I thought when I get off at the station, I will say bye to her.

She got off the train without saying bye.

I walked slowly out of the station.

She had a cab and was driving off. She waited for me.

The driver said he had to pee. She said she was late. The driver asked, “Should I die then?”

He missed crossing a signal. He crossed it the second time.

But the road was jammed anyway.

She was late. She had to go to college and dress up like Ravan for her farewell. “Iconic villains is the theme”, she said.

The driver stopped in a quiet by-lane and ran off to pee. He came back and washed his hands with two bottle caps of water.

The girl and I looked at each other and tried not to think about it.

The driver was tall, loose-limbed and had a big red tilak on his forehead. He would make a good Ravan, I thought.

He was from Banaras.

A tourist car slowed down beside us. A foreigner rolled down his window and asked the driver how old his taxi was.

The driver said, “No English, only Hindi.”

The girl and I translated for him. He said, “How would I know? It’s not my car.”

He said, “We see Fiats only in Bambai. Not in my place. Not one.”

The traffic continued to be what it was.

He said, “What to do? This is our Karmabhoomi, we must move on.”

It began to rain. I gave the girl 50 rupees for the taxi. “You are much younger than me”, I said.

I got off, and walked in the rain.

rainy day

2 minutes and Light of Persia.

light of persia

I had burji-pav and asked for an extra sachet of Nescafe for the milky concoction. The old man gave me 2.

burji pav

Later, there was laughter, talk, films, tea.

I took 2 lifts, and gave 1, and came home by road.

* Thodi si lift kara de – Lift me a little

*Karmabhoomi – the place where one works

* Burji- scrambled eggs with onion, tomato, chilli

* Burji- scrambled eggs with onion, tomato, chilli

21 comments on “thodi si lift kara de

  1. Anu Warrier
    February 18, 2014

    Banno!! (((Hugs))) What a scary experience! I’m glad you are alright. Have a filter coffee on me.

    • Banno
      February 19, 2014

      Thank you, Anu, I will.:)

  2. dipali
    February 18, 2014

    How terrifying. Thank God you are all right.
    What lovely interactions! I saw Sur’s film yesterday: all those taxis resonated with your post:)

    • Banno
      February 19, 2014

      Dipali, ‘Bidesiya..’? I have a day in Delhi on 19 March, any chance of organizing a private screening of KAPHAL? Don’t know where and how.

      • dipali
        February 20, 2014

        I have a friend who has an amazing space- let me check with her.

  3. Violet
    February 18, 2014

    Glad that you’re fine.. I haven’t really traveled in local trains, but have heard many interesting stories which make me want to.. not this one though!

    • Banno
      February 19, 2014

      Violet, you just need to learn the ropes, and not get complacent.:)

      • Violet
        February 19, 2014

        Thanks Banno.. what I need is encouragement. My husband dismisses me so easily, says I cannot travel by trains. I don’t think it can be THAT difficult.. just becoz’ I am from Allahabad..

        • Banno
          February 20, 2014

          Violet, no, it is not that difficult. The sight of the crowd and the noise can be overwhelming, but that is all over Mumbai. You need to start travelling at odd hours, to get the hang of it, you could also start by going in the opposite direction to rush hour traffic. Do it, it does wonders for your confidence.:)

  4. dustedoff
    February 19, 2014

    Oh, Lord. You scared me. That must have been a horrible experience. Please stay safe, Banno.

    • Banno
      February 19, 2014

      Dustedoff, Yes, scary for a few moments. But there are many other good experiences in trains, that wipe away some scary ones. And it’s my stupidity for not being more careful.

  5. Unmana
    February 19, 2014

    I have heard scary stories of Virar locals! Glad you’re okay.

    • Banno
      February 19, 2014

      Yes, Unmana. I am fine. There are much fewer trains going to Virar, and it’s a long distance, so yes, things do get pretty intense.

  6. ??!
    February 19, 2014

    Whenever people start waffling on about Crossfit and parkour and calisthenics, I tell them, just travel by Bombay locals at peak hours. Full-on fitness training. Added bonus of chameli tel everywhere.

    I see LoP still hasn’t switched to using ‘akoori’. Buggers.

    PS. Glad you’re (relatively) unscathed.

    • Banno
      February 19, 2014

      ??! Yes, unscathed.

      And travelling by train IS a good workout, walk, cross bridges, plus jostle, shove, push, be pushed, and full body oil massage.

      I like ‘akuri’ too, makes the burji taste a little bit different,:)

      • ??!
        February 19, 2014

        Not the mention the poking, tugging, and hurdle-jumps.

        • Banno
          February 20, 2014
  7. sukanyabora
    February 25, 2014

    Trains can be so so dangerous. Glad you were safe. Hope your bruises are healing.

    • Banno
      March 15, 2014

      Sukanya, yes, am OK. They were not much, the bruises, just the scare of it all.

  8. bollyviewer
    March 14, 2014

    That sounds scary! Bombay rush hour train journeys are meant for the bravest of brave. Hopefully you are all recovered from the experience, now.

    • Banno
      March 15, 2014

      Bollyviewer, yes, rush hour journeys can be pretty harrowing, but if you are sensible, and lucky enough to work out a first station to last station commute, then they are manageable. This happened, because I got on to the Virar train, when I had to get down at Borivali.:)

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This entry was posted on February 18, 2014 by in Banno, of local trains, of rickshaws and cars, real world and tagged , , , .

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