Traveling by local trains is an inescapable and unavoidable part of every Mumbaikars life. It’s no walk in the park as most of you may already know. In my four years of traveling by train to college, I did some scientific-ish research and concluded that most of our fellow passengers fall under one or more of the following species:
1) ‘Boss, seat pakdi hai!’ species: These are highly adaptable, intelligent creatures who have found a way to avoid crush hour pains by making short return trips (e.g. taking a train from Borivali to Kandivli and back and then taking the same to wherever they want to go). Now the cool thing about this technique is that when the train empties out, these fellows have first picks when it comes to seats. Needless to say, they take up all the wind-facing window seats, but what’s definitive about them is that they’ll keep their briefcases, plastic bags, shoes, handkerchiefs; dabbas etc. on the adjoining seats and thereby ‘reserve’ them for their friends who jump in at the first station. If by any chance a passenger manages to rugby tackle his way inside, they make sure that he remains standing, because after all ‘seat pakdi hai na’.
2) ‘Seedhe Khade Raho’ Species: These are very territorial, short tempered creatures. Its common sense that a train where everyone’s packed in like sardines isn’t the best place to be if you like to have your own personal space. None the less, these species remain oblivious to the very obvious fact that you are being crushed by 3 dozen people who are urging you to ‘Pudhay Chalo’ and will promptly threaten you with dire consequences the moment your feet come within a one meter radius of their already crumpled and dirtied trousers. In extreme cases, they may even accuse you of copping a feel.
3) ‘Saath me ladeej hai’ Species: This species is extremely paranoid when it comes to the well being of their female-kind. So much so that they make them travel with them in the ‘general’ compartment instead of the ladies dabbas. They fearlessly risk life and limb (both theirs and they ladeej) and gallantly march into the overflowing ‘Gants dabbas’ with the fairer sex. Here’s the trick though, 9 times out of 10, the other passengers, afraid that they will be accused of groping promptly make way and some way or the other these species always find a seat.
P.S. There is a ‘bad condition’ variant of this species as well (in other words PDA enabled. Don’t ask what turns them on in a crowded train though).
4) Mereko touch kyon kiya’ Species: These species probably evolved out of the ‘Seedhe Khade Raho’ species. But what distinguishes them is that they have a significantly higher female population than males. (Average ages – usually 30 and above). Despite age not being on their side, these aunties…I mean ladeej, still believe that it was just yesterday that they turned 16. Hence, men of all ages are considered as lecherous sexual predators by them, who must be attacked with the nearest heavy object at the first sensation of physical contact, irrespective of whether or not it was intentional.