Saturday, September 29, 2007

Perils of participating in seat booking

We looked at how to handle getting off the fast train. Hope you have been getting better at it. Instead of maneuvering the fourth seat while we shall get ourselves acquainted with pros and cons of seat booking, a phenomenon peculiar of Mumbaikars.

It so happened that I always got into the train very early on at Khar a good 6 stations before the real good crowd pours in. On settling down for the third seat from the window I assumed that there was just about enough place left for a three year old. Once we reached Kurla, a crowded suburb in eastern Mumbai, a rush of women got in as though that was the last train for the day and began booking their seats. Unaware of the trouble that lay ahead, a collegian booked my seat just around the same time that the fourth seat occupied by a rather tiny lady was vacated at the station that I was about to get out. Now imagine the scene that erupted when two seats were up for grabs at Chembur. The altercation that broke out between the young collegian and the other ladies around for the third seat were a sight that would give anyone a sore eye. Well the fourth seat… who cares about that one anyway!

The next time you let someone book your seat, make sure you lay down the rules!!

Rules of train travelling

Have you ever traveled by fast trains during peak hours, be it by the first or second class and felt that your feet aren’t really moving but you are getting off the train anyway? If not, then read on and be prepared for the ride of your life, which could be more disconcerting that a ride in Essel World’s roller coaster!

Now you must know that I am yet a novice at train traveling and I am slowly learning the ropes. So I figured that I would be doing some social service to those uninitiated who will soon be taking their first train ride in Bombay.

I have had the opportunity of traveling by the Virar and Bhayendar fast train from Dadar station and my first life saver lesson came from these trips. Now listen carefully and please be with me while I relive those few moments while alighting at Bandra station which is the next stop once the train leaves Dadar. The key is to know when to get off the train. Now you may say, well that’s easy… get off when the train comes to a halt at the station. However if you don’t register the smaller nuances of the system you could very well get off at the next stop- Andheri! Let’s back up a bit and learn how to get it right. Step one is to survey the sea of humanity when the train starts slowing down at the station, just so you know what you are up against. Step two- very important one, is to take your position at either of the ends of the door and if possible merge into the interiors of the train door. Next when the train completely halts, hold your breathe and let the throngs of women jostle their way in. Under no circumstances should you get off before they get in or engage in any altercation with them directly. Avoiding eye contact would help in going a long way. Any action of the sort can cause serious injury. As they say, hell hath no fury as a bunch of women scorned in a local train. Here’s the finale. Once the women have gotten in and are comfortable, you may get off just before the train moves to its next destination.

Hope you have had a grip over the scene by now, if not, do not sweat. We will go through some more of these life saving lessons in the near future. Next lesson will deal with the perils of the fourth seat! Till then happy traveling