Bustling among foot steps, it seemed hard to ignore the flow of human beings everyday through the bridge at Andheri station. It had become my daily routine to cross over from platform 1 to the east side, sleepily and involuntarily dragging my steps towards my office.
I realize its weird but I take immense pleasure in announcing that I was obsessed with traveling through the crowd at the bridge every morning. If one strained to notice , the flow of humans would keep changing in character with time and day. For instance; the morning session would exhibit steady and quick movements, one could see the late defaulters running and dodging through the crowd. And you have committed a crime if you are slow, for you’ll be pushed aside towards the “fence of danger”, people would give you looks that make you shrink to a spec of dust. Worst case scenario is when you are physically assaulted by men and women both, for none can tolerate any slow movements during the mornings. Contrary to this, it becomes an understood fact during the returning hours when everyone is respected for taking their own sweet time on their bridge to home!
Talking about weeks , Monday to Wednesdays, one notices the increase in pace of the steps and excitement .Men chat loudly on their phones deep into their mobile offices while women take care whether their ‘dupattas’ are not trailing on the ground or if some blindfolded fella doesn’t step on their ‘chappals’. However, this cycle reverses till the end of the week.
There is one more important part of this bridge story. It’s the beggars and vendors that attract a lot of attention too. The articles to be sold change with season and you enter a world where they give you personal attention and make you feel privileged. The style of selling is beyond what’s taught at the B schools , for with every umbrella or wallet that one buys , he/ she feels proud without realizing that there is cash flying out of his/her pocket!
I am sure most feel a lack of novelty in the motion picture I am trying to paint here, but mind you there isn’t another place on earth that can have the same environment possible. Believe me, the reasons lie in the place. Maharashtra is may be the only place where kids are born with the discipline of traveling in local trains , and switching from rickshaws to taxi’s to travel a distance of 10 Kms. The travelers walk fast not to reach early but to avoid getting crushed in stampede or get stuck in the traffic. And thank god for the attitude of the Marathi’s towards stepping on else’s foot. Just one look from them, murders your insides if you step on anyone’s walking tool- their foot! Apart from that the daily news in the city is not the opening of a restaurant or tumbling of houses, but the areas stuck with traffic jams and caving in of roads.
My point in highlighting the hustle bustle is not to promote the lifestyle in Mumbai but to acknowledge the fact that the basic mind set of people at a railway station for local trains can attract someone’s attention and lay some Bridgestone.