The Twenty-Sixth: On Journeys and Local Trains

I take a train to and from college every day. Two hours out of my twenty hour day are spent getting smashed and squashed in a train compartment. Along with thousands of other people who take the local trains (22 million everyday), I have now grown used to a lot of things. Cat-fights, Fourth seats, stinky underarms, oily nausea inducing hair, everything is just blasé now.

My first train journey to college was accompanied with hysteria and lots of paranoia. My parents had told me a few horror stories about the trains, where belongings were robbed, limbs were cut, and lives were lost. I was in constant fear that I would fall of the train and meet my end. People told me I was too thin and weak to fight my way onto the train, but I knew I could do it. I was determined to go to the best college for Arts in Mumbai. Not even the threat of dying or getting squashed could deter me from that.

For the entire first term of my first year in college I went an hour early to college, sitting in the library and reading or finding people in the arches and chatting. I took a train from Borivali, which led me to get up an hour earlier. I was punctual and didn’t want to bunk lectures.

Come from the second term I was tired of wasting an hour when I could be sleeping. So I finally got the courage to do what my friend does. Take a Virar fast from Dahisar. Yes, it’s crowded. Yes, I hung a few times but nothing very dangerous. I will miss my lecture but will not threaten my life by hanging to my death. Now when anyone asks me where I study and I answer them, after their initial, ‘so far nah,’ I proudly state that I am used to train journeys. Its fine now, I barely notice it.

My friends called me paranoid during the first term. I barely went out of schedule. On the fourth day of college, we experienced a strike and I had to come back in a Virar slow and let me tell you, if you survive that train during peak hours, during a strike, you can survive anything. No, I’m not exaggerating. My friend and I had to be pulled out by a policewoman at Borivali, the train was that crowded. My feet had six different footprints on it when I got out.

Now I can’t think of life without trains, they are an integral part of my life and its routine. Everything I do, whenever I get out of the house, everything is centered around trains and their absurd timings. When should I leave from home, when do I leave from college, everything is determined by the train timings. It’s weird, but life is like that now. And, it’s pretty cool in a way.

I think life is something like train journeys. First, the journey is tough, and you’re scared and then it gradually becomes easier and you learn to enjoy, appreciate and be grateful for it (rarely), because you get used to being squashed. And, then it offers you plenty of amazing opportunities, like a seat at Andheri or meeting a friend at the station. Actually, everything in life can be used as a metaphor for life.

Train journeys are filled with lots of standing, fighting, sitting (very little) and majorly adjusting. And that’s what life is also about. You adapt, you adjust, and you win. In the train, it might be a seat, in life, probably something bigger. Personally, if you can survive a train journey on a Virar Fast, then you can cope with anything. In fact, you should be able to cope with anything! You’re a Virar Fast survivor!

So I leave you with this post, about train journeys and life and all the other things in life and about life.

Have a good day / night!

Until next time,

Nia.

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