The Ladies’ Guide to Mumbai Locals

By a traveller who takes the first class ladies compartment (occasionally second class – enough to write about it) between Borivali to Andheri every day between 8 to 8.30 in the morning and between 5.45 to 6.45 in the evening… Valid only for Western Railways and not for Central railways (‘they’ function different from ‘us’ I think so..)

I am a regular at the mumbai locals; Unfortunately not regular enough to have a train group because I am not consistent in taking the trains – mainly because in the mornings my train timings are dependent on when R’s daycare teachers arrive and in the evening on the Andheri East’s traffic and the BEST bus drivers ability to honk, snarl, fight the traffic. I travel like a typical suburban Mumbaikar, in BEST bus, local train and rickshaws. Below are pointers which I hope will be useful when you travel by Mumbai’s local trains…based on everyday experience and travel between Borivali to Andheri but mostly valid for throughout the Western local journey (and some tips for other routes too…)

 – There is always an east and west…while travelling from Borivali to Andheri to your right is west and to your left is east (Trust me I have at least 4 people in a month asking me where is east and west) 

  • in the mornings, peak traffic is towards Churchgate from Borivali and peak hour in the ladies compartment starts at 7.30 and ends at 9.45…try boarding any train between these times, and you will become a pro in 5 days.

  • Sad but honestly, never try to be nice to people when you board the train, you will end up missing trains for the next 2 hours.

  • NEVER..I repeat..NEVER board a Virar train if you want to get off at or before Borivali either ways unless you want to travel all the way to Mira Road or want to be reduced to tears with all the taunts and shoves and scratches and pinches 

  • Remember – even if the train comes in the morning into Borivali and it’s the last stop,except for 3 ladies, no one else will move their butt because most people travel ‘return’ meaning that they board the train at Malad or Kandivali, come all the way to Borivali and go back to Churchgate..this basically ensures a seat for them.  

  • The concept of ‘fourth seat’ exists in Ladies First class compartment even though it’s not there in the gents first class compartment (Yes hubby, we do have four people on one seat contrary to what you believe)

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  •  – Keep your mouth SHUT even if someone is shouting at you, or poking you – for yourself and for others around you. No one wants a fight early in the morning while going to office or while coming back tired from a day’s work (or you can just shout back and give everyone a free entertainment filled 10 minutes!) 

    • There is absolutely NO DIFFERENCE between the first class and second class compartments for ladies..except that the swear words are in English in the first class compartment. 

    • While getting in at Andheri in the evening, remember to jump…seriously – otherwise you will be stuck for hours waiting at the platform.

    • While you can be reasonably nice to pregnant and old ladies, don’t let the young and the able take advantage of you…for the disabled, there are disabled specific compartments which are pretty empty.

    • Always go back if you want to get off last and don’t stand in the middle because at Goregaon you will be crushed by the outgoing and incoming crowd. 

    • Ensure you stand at one side letting the other ladies come in; otherwise be prepared to be killed. 

    • Keep your bag in the front. It’s most irritating when most ladies pull themselves in and then their bag gets stuck and they don’t let other people get it (feel like whacking those kinds!) 

    • Tie your hair.  

    • DON’T talk on the phone while boarding or getting off the train. Your chances of losing it are high and it is really irritating to other people who are trying to ask you to move ahead while you discuss your life problems! 

    • Often people who travel beyond Andheri book their seats in advance, so confirm that if you are trying to sit on a seat, it’s not already ‘booked‘ by someone. 

    • Travel light and I mean it… 

    • Don’t wear Gold jewellery..and if you wear it , be prepared to lose it!  

    • Get off at a station and re-board the train in case you are stuck on the doorway. If you try and stand there, you get pushed out and the changes of you getting under the train are high! 

    • In case you have forgotten your book or ear phones at home, don’t despair! Eavesdropping on conversations is often the best form of entertainment here (Hey don’t look at me with contempt, if people do want to discuss their problems loudly, one can’t help overhearing okie!) 

    • If you are going for an important meeting or an interview, keep a spare shirt, some deo and comb handy, because no one gives a job to a bedraggled person! 

    • Always, I repeat ALWAYS ask the person in front of you if they are getting off at the same station; invariably I have found ladies NOT asking and then there is a huge hue and cry and  people not getting off at the right station 

    • Remember that Borivali trains can be 9 coach or 12 coach so you need to figure out where the ladies compartment comes. If you don’t understand ASK – anyone will help you 🙂 

    and all in all, enjoy the train travel it s a part of Mumbai life and it eventually grows on you. Of course there are days when I have hated the travel and cursed myself for staying here, but also remember, people often make friends for life in this mode of daily transport!


    About the Author

    Rs Mom

    R’s Mom is a working mother in Mumbai trying to balance work, home and baby. Learning the ropes of new motherhood and wanting to spend more time with baby. Running to catch up with read more...

    30 Posts | 141,658 Views

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