Monday, March 24, 2008

Train Conversations

12:38 pm. Kalyan slow local from CST. The first class ladies compartment. After enduring 2.5 hours of travelling, 2 hours of French class and a 20 minute bus ride in the sizzling heat of Mumbai, I get into the train hoping for a quiet 1 hour journey back home. 5 seconds before the train leaves the platform, two ladies with 4 kids jump into the compartment. Any promises of tranquility and peace that the compartment once held were all shattered. Let me profile the two ladies

Lady 1 : Extra fair, a few extra pounds, dressed in a blinding pink/orange dress, LOUD voice, piercing voice, zero manners, 100 % attitude

Lady 2 : Extra fair, a few extra pounds, dressed in soothing beige, loud on some occasions but otherwise soft spoken.

The Scene : Lady 1 constantly (in a very high pitched loud nasal voice) shouting at the kids, grabbing them roughly by the arm to make them sit in one place. Lady 1 eating the chips as if it were prey. I obviously gave a look of quiet disapproval

Now this is where it all began :

Lady 1 tries to throw a wrapper of chips outside from the train window

Me: Aunty, nahi nahi, bahar mat fekiye

Lady 1 : (turns head back, bearing gr8 resemblance to a gunda who has just been insulted) WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM !??!

Me : Aunty, you shouldnt throw garbage outside the window

Lady 1 : WHAT is your problem ?

Me : My problem is that the space outside is not a dustbin and you being an educated person are dirtying my city.

Lady 1 : SO ?!?!?

Me : It's not yours to dirty

Lady 1 : It's not yours either

Me : Instead of being so arrogant you should simply apologize and then throw the wrapper in a dustbin at the station

Lady 1 : What will happen if I throw it out ? What's your problem huh ?!?!

Me : (very angry at this point) If you throw it out, you'll be dirtying the city, there'll be more piled up garbage, more dieases, the plants will choke and die, Mumbai will become hotter, there'll be more floods in the city, people like you will get stuck in them and then ultimately blame the government. Do you need any more reasons ?

Lady 1 : Give me one more

Me : (Thinking how ridiculous the lady sounds) Alright. Why dont you do one thing ? Give me all those wrappers and I'll follow you to your house and together we'll dump it on you floor. I'm sure that'll give you all the reasons you're looking for. How about that ?

At this point Lady 2 intervenes

Lady 2 to me : We're sorry, we'll throw it in a dustbin

Lady 2 to Lady 1 : Pakdo haath mein

Lady 1 to me : You think you're too smart, dont you ?

Me : Yes, smarter than you at least.

Lady 1 : Do you have a problem with me ?

Me : (super-irritated, wondering if thats the only question she knows) Yes, I do. In fact I cant believe you're behaving this way in front of your kids. Imagine what kind of an example you're setting before them.

Kid 1 : (Tugging at Lady 1's sleeves) Mummy, bag mein rakh do naa, mummy....

Lady 1 turns her face away from me muttering curses under her breath. It was Chinchpokli by the time this conversation ended !!!!!

Well, the wrapper didnt go out of the window, at least not till I was in the train (I did keep an annoyingly close eye on her).

I wonder what she did with it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy Commuting !!!

Whether you're a tourist or just someone who regularly commutes from one place to another in Mumbai, here's a little help to make your travel a little better.

The next time an auto rickshaw driver or taxi driver is horribly rude to you, or takes you for a ride, or has an illegal LPG kit in his vehicle, or does not have a proper permit, or refuses to go to a specific destiantion without a valid reason or has a meter that runs faster than light, you can register a complaint with the RTO (Road Transport Office). Here are the 3 simple steps to do so :

1. Take down the number of the auto rickshaw/taxi

2. Call up any of these numbers : 9969854555 / 27650701 / 27650702

3. Register your complaint and provide the vehicle number

I'm not sure how effetcive this new redressal system is going to be, but I'm definitely happy that it exists....

But, here's a little word for all the irrational passengers.

DONOT , I repeat DONOT unnecesarily complain just for petty tiffs with the driver. You MUST have a perfectly valid reason to lodge a complaint. Their job is quite stressful just like yours and they may have bad days at times, just like you. So give them a break.

Happy Commuting !!!