Every now and then, there come these moments that teach you very important, life altering lessons. These are incidents that you would keep in mind, whenever you encounter another similar situation. You may even pass on these vital lessons to your children when you are old, and they may even thank (or act indifferently) you for that.
One such incident happened recently. I had gone to my friend's place in Nanachowk (a place in South Mumbai). And was about to come back after a good day's work. The time is around 8 PM.
Being the adventurous person that I am, I decided to take the Mumbai local train from Grant Road station to Dadar. On reaching the station, I find a slow train just whiz by. Sad that I couldn't catch that particular train, I see the train schedule and find that there's a fast train reaching the station in a couple of minutes.
The thoughts that go through my mind at that very moment :
Ooh. Fast train! Just one stop and then I reach Dadar! WOOHOO!
Slow train. So many stops to reach Dadar. BOOHOO!
So I run to the third platform, where I see the train coming from the distance. I think "OH YEAH JUST IN TIME!!", and then was reminded of how warehouse operations work in The Mobile Store. (Bad attempt at cracking a joke, na?)
Somehow, it never ever occured to me that this was MUMBAI. The place where there is never a shortage of people. Even at midnight it would take you an hour to travel from King's Circle to Sion Circle (a distance of 1.5 Kms max). Even at 1 in the morning, Dadar station would be brimming with people, eagerly waiting to dive into the next train that comes, as though if they din't, it would be the end of the world.
Dadar station is crowded, 24*7. If God had made the day 26 hours and the week 8 days, it would not have made any difference to the crowd in Dadar station. It always looks as though the whole world gets in and out of Dadar station.
Anyways, on seeing this fast train, I was suddenly reminded of surface tension of water. (You know, where water does not spill over immediately. It bulges out a bit before finally spilling over.) These Mumbai local trains have HUGE, IMMENSE surface tension. People just keep hopping into the train, and a lot of them end up hanging out. But no one manages to get out of the train. And no one spills over, either. So the bulge just gets bigger and bigger, with people hanging on as if their lives depended on it. (On second thought, their lives DO depend on it!)
In life, when you reach a certain doomed position, there is always that small light at the end of the tunnel, through which you crawl to and thus get your way out of.... the situation. Just like that, in this over-crowded train (It's an understatement, "over crowded". There were more people in that train than in the World Cup final held in South Africa.), there was a minute, microscopic gap, through which us mortal beings had to dive into, before the train left the station. I decide, in my usual Dadar "getting into the train" style, to barge into that little teeny weeny gap, pushing away everyone else who was getting in my way, and get into the train.
What I did not know, at that time, was that this fast train had absolutely no one getting out at Dadar. So now I'm in the middle of the train, standing on one leg, with my laptop bag on the top of my head, screaming my head off at the next person to move, so that I could atleast be near the door.
The good thing was, I did not have to hold on to any railing, because all the other people around me were giving very good support to me (IT WAS THAT FREAKING CROWDED!). Even while on one leg.
Another good thing was, these Mumbaikars are very resistant to abuse. It just as though they keep hearing it everyday. They are just immune to it.
In Mumbai :
Me : "!#!!@!@#!# MOVE!! I NEED TO GET DOWN NOW!!"
Other person : "Meh. Wait. hmph."
and helps you out in the best way he can.
In Delhi :
Me : "!#!!@!@#!# MOVE!! I NEED TO GET DOWN NOW!!"
Other person : "!#!!@!@#!# !@#!# !@#$#$%$%^% YOU !!#!@$#^#%"
and thus would start the Third World War. Literally.
So, on one leg, with the laptop bag on my head, I somehow manage to reach somewhere in the vicinity of the door of the train. Then, I see Dadar station. Oh wait... I don't see the station. Just the heads of millions of eager beavers looking on, desparately trying to find their way into this already brimming train.
There was only one thing left to do, if I was to get out of that train in one piece.
(Before the train draws to a halt. VERY IMPORTANT! Diving after it stops means you would just be diving back into the train, because of the sheer force of people from outside trying to come in. It would be like diving head on to a wall!)
Peter Schmeichel and Jonty Rhodes would have been proud of me, had they seen that. So would have Christiano Ronaldo and Arjen Robben, for that matter. There was no fear of breaking bones, backs or laptops because the people in the station would definitely cushion my fall.
It was just like in one of those music concerts. You know, where you are having a nice time, and you just jump from the stage onto the crowd. WOOOOOOOOO!!! No fear.
I told all this to my friend the next day, when I met him.
Me : Oh you will not believe what happened last night!!.... .....
Friend : Oh. You should have taken the bus. It stops right outside your place and my place!
Me : :| (completely speechless)
IMPORTANT LESSON LEARNT
Do NOT, even in the wildest of your dreams, even THINK of boarding a train from Grant Road station to Dadar. Doing that would be your one way ticket to heaven. Or to one hell of an adventure!