Mar 2nd, 2009
Just a quick note before bed:
I just got back from hanging out the side of a train for the last hour cruising around Mumbai at night. It felt fantastic. A blurry flash of completely new city, lights, people, cars, stupid-looking yet still beloved auto rickshaws, buildings, cows in the streets, trash, construction, smells, and rail posts of all varieties that seemed impossibly close to my face zoomed by. My grip on the pole is all that held me in. No railing, no door, and no injury or liability lawsuits cross the mind of planners or tenants of Mumbai’s rail system. It’s 3% of the price of taking a taxi for the same distance (~200 Rupees for a cab versus Rs. 6 for the train ticket.), faster because there is no traffic, and a hell of a lot more fun.
At the risk of sounding cheesy, it was a wind-in-my-hair, smile-on-my-face perfect moment.
A properly executed dismount from the train is done by hopping off the train while it is still coming to a stop at a good clip; preferably into a mass of people that are also trying to hop on before the train stops completely to stake out their own place to stand in the train.
The Indian I was with told me I looked like a kid on Christmas. Probably did. I sure feel good right now.
This would likely be a lot more of a harrowing and less delightful experience at rush hour instead of 11:30 at night. My Indian friend told me the trains are so crushingly packed that you often simply can’t get off when it’s your stop; there’s no way to push through the people.