The New Christmas?

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.

Editor’s Note:
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.

5 Responses to “The New Christmas?”

  1. Geoffon 02 Mar 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Aw, that sounds several kinds of awesome, and makes me sadly nostalgic for the old experience of cruising round London hanging off the back of the old open Routemaster buses, leaping off between stops.

  2. previously.bittenon 02 Mar 2009 at 10:39 pm

    do you really need to hang out the train? If you had – say – a large pack on you, how terrifying would this be?

  3. nanfanon 03 Mar 2009 at 12:51 pm

    I am totally amazed! Plus, I know first hand that Christmas look!! What a happy boy at happy times!! Finally saw Slumdog this past weekend. How does it compare to where you are?

  4. nathanon 04 Mar 2009 at 6:04 am

    @ Geoff: Cool!

    @ p.b: No, you don’t have to hang out of the train. If I was lugging my packs with me, I’d just mash my way in where there’d be something to lean on (or maybe even a seat!). Keep in mind that this was on Mumbai’s intra-city train – if I was going a longer distance or to another city, I’d probably be in a sleeper car. But, all things considered, it probably wouldn’t be that bad with a pack on either.

    @ Fancy Nancy: Well, basically none of the stuff that would make you worry compares to where I am. Not living in a slum, not involved in a gang, have yet to get on TV or mutilate children, haven’t even been to a slum but I have seen plenty of dogs. Do see a few Indians, though, which is cool.

    I’m in a pretty nice area. I’ve asked several Indians what they think of the movie and it gets a so-so reaction. i.e., “Yeah, all that stuff exists here, but it’s not really a part of my world, you know? It’s a good story, though.”

  5. Indian Friend :)on 31 Mar 2009 at 1:40 am

    Delightful Blog!!!!

    Though I can’t see any of the pictures :(

    Hope you get to see much more of India than just Mumbai and the OSHO Ashram at Pune.

    Just heard you applied for sexual healing there – keep me posted!!!

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