Bombay in ’90
I went to Bombay in ’90 to do my graduation and started my work experience in ’94 at Bombay. My work had shift timings – (First) 8:00am to 2:30pm, (Second) 2:00pm to 8:30pm and (General) 10:00am to 5:00pm. The work timing for the individual, used to change every month. During the General work timing reaching office used to be a mammoth task. Distance from Home to Office was approximately an hours time – Walk from home to King Circle railway station – Local Train journey – bus from VT Station to Nariman point – walk to the office. Simple, Isn’t?
During peak hours from King Circle station to VT, part of Andheri Harbour line, we get to keep one leg on the train and are allowed to hold the centre pillar. We can’t dream of ‘getting inside’ the train. So few members used to stand on the window and hold the bar, while some keep a foot on the window and hold a bar that is on top of the train. Most of the time local train journey is safe and quickest to reach your destination. Generally, I used to go opposite side – from King circle to Bandra and take the harbour line train to VT. With this, it’s little easy to ‘get into the train’ – get a place to stand in the corridors.
From King Circle to VT, the router for the train is, it takes an overbridge and crosses the line such that the Panvel harbour line train can pass through beneath it and reach Wadala road station. Since both the trains reach the same platform on Wadala road, there would be a signal in the middle of the overbridge.
When it happened
Life would be dull when things go as planned. One day couple of trains were cancelled during peak hours. So the king circle station was crowded and chaotic, it became difficult to do to opposite journey to Bandra station. So decided to take the train from King Circle to VT. The place to hold the central pillar on the entrance of the train wasn’t available, had to stand straight on the window and hold the bar. The train started moving…
On a normal day during peak hours the signal would be green at the overbridge for the trains coming from King Circle. But cancellation and the late running of trains had the signal on red. And there I did something which otherwise wouldn’t do. From that position, I looked down. Standing on the train window and at the overbridge signal. I sensed the importance of life. I just closed my eyes and held the bar tight. Was just waiting for the train to get down the bridge and reach Wadala Road station. As soon as it happened, got down and went to a corner of the station.
Didn’t take a few trains. Allowed the adrenaline to settle down. Realised how fickle life was. Reached office very late. Never ever have I travelled like that again. Leave early, take the train where I get ‘to go inside’ the train and travel. Nothing is more important than living.