If you’ve lived in Mumbai for even a week, there’s a 90% probability of you having travelled in one of our famous local trains. It is, hands-down, the cheapest mode of transportation available in our city.
According to Wikipedia, it is one of the busiest commuter rail systems in the world, with an annual ridership of close to 3 billion. Because of this, it is also the most severely crowded (and I mean, SEVERELY).
Many of us use the Mumbai Suburban Railways to get to work every day. We all have our fair share of train-related incidents (some good, most not-so-much), train friends (the kind of friendship unique to our Locals), the regular bhajan mandalis, the fruit/jewellery vendors plying their wares, etc. But there are a few things, some unspoken rules that make this whole arrangement run smoothly. The following is a list of etiquettes that every Mumbaikar should make note of:
1) Don’t stand at the door unless you want to get down
It’s shameful that this simple fact needs to be pointed out to mature adults. There are more than enough people who need to get through that small door when it’s Kurla/Dadar next. Please don’t make it increasingly difficult for them to get out. Ditto about people trying to get in. Nobody cares about that phone call you’re trying to make to your boyfriend/girlfriend and can’t get network coverage inside the bogey.
2) No peeping into your neighbour’s cell phone
Not gonna deny, I’m guilty of doing this too (so is Beyoncé, LOL). There may be times when there’s nothing interesting going on around you, but try and resist the temptation of looking into the phones of people next to you.
3) Don’t get into a Virar fast if you want to get down at Borivali
If you value your life, just DON’T. Hell hath no fury like a Virar-bound passenger scorned.
4) Refrain from loud conversations with your train buddies
This is aimed specifically at the mandal of aunties I see on my way to work. For goodness’ sake, turn your voices down; your friends are sitting right next to you. Forgive me for not being interested in your kid’s recital or your husband’s promotion. FYI, this picture is for representational purposes only.
5) Don’t play songs on speaker
If only I had a rupee for every time I’ve heard some idiot playing Honey Singh songs on his phone at full volume, I’d be a millionaire. Please invest in earphones; it’s a sincere request.
6) Ladies, avoid getting into the general compartment
Now before someone starts a feminist movement, let me clarify. I know it’s called a “general” compartment and not “gents”, but I’m asking this of you as a basic courtesy, especially during peak hours. The bogies are way too crowded as it is. When a lady gets in, most guys go out of their way so that they don’t touch her even by accident. But this becomes a herculean task when a dude is already leaning on another dude’s…. stuff.
And some women go into the general dabba to commute with their boyfriends/husbands, who then stand protectively around them in a way that is unique to our local trains (if you know what I’m talking about). 2-minute silence for those sisters.
7) Follow the seat-booking “rules”
Not even god can save you from the aunty whose seat you stole.
FYI, these rules are different in different compartments. Ergo, the ones in First Class will be different from the ones in Second; similarly with the General and Ladies coaches.
And even if you “booked” a seat in advance, be nice and give it up for that old grandpa with arthritis or the pregnant lady with a heavy bag.
8) Don’t board the coaches reserved for the handicapped and cancer patients
Unless you qualify for either category, please refrain from doing this. They are reserved for a reason. And no, I don’t care how crowded the other compartments are.
9) Take a shower before getting on
I cannot stress this enough. Really guys, weren’t you taught about basic hygiene in school? It’s not fun for that dude next to you (who’s smartly dressed for work, poor guy), has to spend an hour standing there, breathing in your smelly armpits.
10) No ticketless travelling
Last but definitely not the least. This doesn’t even classify as etiquette but might as well include it in the list. The Indian Railways are providing you an invaluable service. Do your duty and pay for it.
Follow these so your fellow travellers don’t hate you. Have a safe journey! 🙂
Did any of these ever cross your mind? Got more to add? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org