Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hanging Off A Train in Mumbai

After a short stop back in Singapore, I finally made it to India! The city of Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is everything all at once. Chaotic but colorful, smelly yet fragrant, from the glitz of Bollywood to the slums of Dharavi, this city is full of surprises!

Today, on my second day in Mumbai, my friend Bron and I decide to take the train from our friend’s home in the Bandra West neighborhood to South Bombay for a day of sight-seeing and exploration. Now taking the trains in India is not like hopping on the subway in New York. During rush hour on a weekday, the trains get so crowded that anyone making it on board will have to be content with being pressed against any object or person that is next to you. Fortunately, today is Saturday, and the trains were not nearly as crowded.

Being that this was our first time taking the train in India, we decided to splurge on a First class ticket as the First Class cabins are usually not as crowded. Costing a total of Rs 52 each, we easily navigated the Bandra Station and found our way onto the next train to Church Gate Terminus, thanks to a very detailed hand-drawn map and description provided by our good friend Brian who is living in India with his wife Jenn, both of whom are teaching at the American School of Bombay.

Because the trains do not have air conditioning, and it can get stifling hot in the cars, many commuters choose to stand by the doors, which remain open even while the train is in motion. This makes for a breezy, yet exhilarating ride as we thunder past the Mumbai streetscape.

On the way back, we decided to risk it and get a Second Class ticket instead. At Rs 6 each for a ticket, this was a steal, and fortunately, being the weekend, we even managed to find a seat, and rode comfortably back to Bandra.


Post a Comment