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


      • 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..

        • 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.πŸ™‚

    • 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.

    • 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.

  1. 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.

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

    • 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.πŸ™‚

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