Now I know, what it means to travel in Mumbai at peak hours. Not that I did not know before, but it had never been so ruthless (atleast with me) and thus I was unaware of the plight.
I have left my office at 6.05 PM. And am standing in a queue for auto which is a 2 minute walk from office. It charges Rs. 15. per passenger. I diligently stand for 15 mins. 6.20 PM. Normally I have company with me and being a blabbermouth, I can discuss any topic which keeps me occupied. But, this fatefull and dull rainy day, I was alone. So, then I began to get restless and despite the rains took out my novel and read.(for those interested I was reading The Devil Wears Prada) This initiative was taken proactively to get myself out of boredom and to push the thought that this queue is moving at a snail’s pace and will take much longer! Umbrella in one hand and a novel in other. 30 more minutes pass by! 6.50 PM. My hands start to ache and book starts to get wet! I keep it inside my almost-drenched bag. 45 mins have passed since I have left office and I am still standing at the auto queue! Apart from being tired, I now am hungry and also been gifted with a back ache. (Free free free! 😡 ) I whine about uncouth autowallas and how bad working here is. Oh! I again get a stab of missing Nariman Point so much. (We have recently shifted office to BKC) Sob Sob! 😦 Apart from the glossy and plush buildings there is nothing sensible here! No food joints and no peaceful commuting!! Aarghhh.
The lady next to me is also venting out her issues! And tells me there is another unofficial pool of people where they gather and pay Rs. 20 and get autos earlier without waiting in the queue. It is because of these educated illiterates, we face problems and have to wait in the queue for endless hours, daily!! I don’t believe her until I actually figure out 8 autos picking them up instead of the hour long so-called official queue! Now I was sure and got a clear example of what educated illiterates are??!! 10 more minutes and I saw the same thing happening again! I went an blasted a couple of autowallas and also the so-called professionals about how unfair they were being! All in vain!!
Where were the traffic cops?? Why ain’t a regulation in place even for such a small issue?? I was now not only hungry and tired but also holding back my urge to piss! It’s over an hour and am standing like a moron with a hurt ego, a bursting bladder and of-a-no-use ethic! After wanting to wait no more, I stormed out of the line and took the auto with Rs 20 fare.I earn enough and spend so much that a mere Rs. 20 is seriously no big deal. But the only reason I wasn’t encouraging myself to travel in the 20 charging auto, was that I wanted to protect my ethical side! But after it cost me a burst bladder, a severe backache, a starving stomach and a bruised ego… I decide to give my ethics a toss and joined the educated illiterate brigade!
So much for a 20 minute ride to the station! And the ordeal ain’t over yet!!! The fight to get in the 1st class ladies compartment and secure a comfortable standing position is something which makes you feel blessed!! (Did someone say a seat!!?? Oh you start thanking your past life karmas if you get a place to SIT and rest your behind after all this travelling!!) Talk about monstrous travelling in Mumbai… Here it is!!!