Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Voices of a Commuter

"Kidhar utarna hai? Door kyun block karke rakha hai?"
"Zara sarko bhaiiya, fourth seat pe baithna hai."
"Khaalipeeli machmach nahi karneka."
"Thoda push karo, jagaah ban jayegi."
"Dus ka paanch, gaanvti santra lo!"
"#*%^... #%*+..."

Mumbai local train is not called the lifeline of the city for no reason. It is the heart and soul of the city echoing the most common phrases used almost every day by almost every commuter. The train journeys aren't just from Point A to Point B, but are journeys in one's lifetime from youth to the ripe years. And through these journeys, many commuters make friends for life.

While travelling by a Mumbai local train, if you turn off the music or Candy Crush on your mobile phones, you will definitely learn a lesson or two as you purposely or unavoidably listen to the conversations around. These interesting conversations make you smile, frown or think. Sometimes you end up laughing as a fellow commuter cracks a joke.

But while the train travel is interesting, there is an endless list of concerns. Each day, hundreds of commuters raise these concerns either to the authorities or to the fellow passengers. Even on my Mumbai Local Train blog [], the concerns or advice keeps pouring. I take the opportunity here to bring to light the voice of daily commuters.


1.       Please increase the frequency of trains, especially in the harbour line that is now getting crowded by the day with the Navi Mumbai real estate market getting more attention than ever.
2.       Let the indicators show the correct time of arrival of the next train. It irritates us to see 00:00 when trains run late.
3.       Please make PROPER announcements. At most of the stations, understanding what the announcer is saying is more difficult than solving a tough algebra equation. Seldom, there is no announcement in case of delays that really irks the public.

4.       Putting posters just about performing stunts in trains being dangerous makes no sense as the people performing stunts never get to any seat to even notice the posters. Instead, mention the  helpline number 1275 and urge people to inform about such acts at the earliest.

5.       How about imposing a fine on people who litter in or out of trains? Of course, there need to be many authorized volunteers to report / collect fine on behalf of railways but something can be worked out.


1.       Behave yourselves. Talking politely doesn't cost a dime.
2.       Do not litter. Why can't you keep the emptied wrapper of chips in your bag and dispose off at the bin provided at stations or at your home?
3.       Why did you stop offering a seat to the pregnant, elderly or injured? What happened to the spirit of Mumbai?
4.       Use the helplines. They are provided for a reason. Report kids performing stunts, people fighting, weird people getting in the ladies compartments  or unclaimed bags.

Yeah, we always keep complaining about the irregularities of trains and the system, but shouldn't improvisations start with us? Let's bring out the best in us as a commuter first and then expect the Railways to sort the problems.
What say?

- Anuradha


  1. I enjoyed reading this post. While I enjoyed this post, I would request you to give English translation for Hindi sentences. Not all your readers understand Hindi.

  2. Thank you so much. Will keep your suggestion in mind. For now, I am translating the first part of the post here:
    "Where would you get off? Why are you blocking the door?"
    "Shift a bit, I need to occupy the fourth seat."
    "Don't argue unnecessarily."
    "Push a bit, we'll get some place to move."
    "Dus ka paanch, gaanvti santra lo!"

  3. Thanks Anu. Appreciate your translation.

  4. Oh yes you get to learn a lot while travelling in these locals.
    As for increasing the frequency, I don't think that would be possible as they are doing their best I suppose (trains can't be closer than 3.5 minutes)

  5. Hi , Anuradha nice piece of writing , I am working on local train accessibility for people with disabilities as my phd in IIT- Bombay.. I need your inputs based on ur outlook and experiences with train commuters, is it possible to contact you for the same.


Would love to hear your views.....

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