The Mumbai Local & the Three Lined Spirit !

Three lines. One huge metropolis. The defining element of a capital. The essence of India ! In its warp, weave, hoots & signals, the country moves forward. Three lines. They call it Harbour, Central & Western & boy, they do sing a resilient tune. Everyday.

Yes. This is about the Mumbai locals. The ‘local train’, to the uninitiated ! This post is in celebrating the spirit & remembering 7/11. What started out in 1853 between Bombay to Thane as the first rain connection in South East Asia, has traveled some distance. It now is the lifeline of a millions. Providing livelihood. Enabling a living. And living.

I traveled on it sometime back. The pictures clicked as we approached Victoria Terminus. By then, the compartment was ’empty’. It was only than, i could do something like clicking snaps ! The experience helped me experience the essence of this land.

The station & the queue was a sight. Hindu. Muslim. Parsee. Sikh. Tamil. Marathi. Bengali. Assamese. Hindi etc. Etc. And others as well. Every language can be heard. Every faith practiced. If only you care to listen. If only you are curious about the chap, standing on your toe !

At the station, there stands a sophisticated automatic vending machine. Which doesn’t work. And people queue up. There isnt time to ask why. There are better things to do! There is jostle. There is bustle. But there is movement.

We are out on the platform after wringing our bodies against strangers. The ‘locals’ rush in and rush out. In between the ‘in’ & ‘out’, a small village alights from each bogey and another gets right in. Once inside, a million hands seem to hold a few holsters. Nobody bothers about who you are. They are lost in the newspaper. In music. In chatter. To an ‘outsider’ like me, there is just space limited, perhaps for small organisms to survive! The metropolis and its constituents shrug off the lack of comfort with a lackadaisical shrug (done in a hurry) !

This Photo is Courtesy : Only Mumbai

Stories abound of how people have travelled in the same compartment for years. Traveling with the same companions, year on year. Such communities would have synergistic avatars that are far reaching ! A colleague recounted a story, of how his father fell ill & consequently could not take the train for a few days. And presto, his ‘compartment friends’ were there at home to check if all was well. I got wide eyed, when he recounted that !

The three lines : Harbour, Central & Western are perhaps key ingredien
ts that supply energy to the financial capital of India. As cliched as it may seem, i cant but add a line about the ‘spirit of Mumbai’. And an essential ingredient of that spirit is the quintessential Mumbai local !

So, when the bombs went off two years ago, the terrorists had hit their target well. The heart of Mumbai ! Perhaps what they didnt quite bargain for, was the bounce back. With a tearing hurry and a telling spirit.

A spirit which lives on. Every single day.

On three lines. Harbour. Central. & Western.

6 thoughts on “The Mumbai Local & the Three Lined Spirit !

  1. Carnic says:

    SOunds like a poem!!!!

  2. Jeevan says:

    It’s the vitality bounces people back after the tragedy. It’s worth the three lines, and good experience here reading of train journey.

  3. Hobo says:

    Well wrote paragraph.
    It reminds me Amit jee blog.
    Salute !

  4. Kavi says:

    Carnic : Are you talking about the local trains ? i would agree. Indeed poetry in motion !

    Jeevan : Thank You !

    hobo : Am not sure who this Amitjee is ! But thank you !

  5. Shiva says:


    A vivid narration of the metro. They are the nervous system of the mumbai mass.

    Can’t imagine what would have happened on 7/11

  6. Priya says:

    Life is a train with spirit where u come across masses new and old. Its the life everywhere, and the journey continues to show how people live their lives.

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