Ever had a day which kind of went off tangent? A day that you had planned out in meticulous detail but which kind of got away from you? No fault of yours, of course!
Well she did have such a day. Yes, I am talking about the venturesome and valorous day of a teenage girl, Mia. I am taking about a girl who traveled alone for the first time in the local manner in the busy city of Mumbai. Something that was to be a smooth ride somehow turned into a mega block. Interesting isn’t it? Well, read on.
People of Mumbai would know that train rides have an essential role to play when we talk about local transport here. So, let’s start the narrative from here.
Mia walked alone. A little scared but with still some confidence in herself, knowing she could do it. At noon of a summery day, the sun shining brightly over head, Mia decided to take a local train to Bandra. She wanted to go to a book store, something she wouldn’t have ever thought of doing in the normal play of things. But, today was different.
She boarded her train. The sheer mass of humans squashed together & the suffocating heat made droplets of perspiration trickled down her spine. She got a hold of her sipper and drank a refreshing gulp of chilled water. Feeling slightly better and refreshed, she glanced at the people around her. There were six people adjusting on a four seat bench! Dear Lord! They were randomly greeting each other and even talking to one another. From their manner it did not appear as if they knew each other yet they appeared akin. Mia was bewildered.
As soon as the train halted at the next stop, an influx of passengers began. It was a veritable mob that shoved and jostled to get in.
Mia saw a young boy selling a variety of accessories (earrings, hair-bands and such) in a plethora of hues. A lady was bargaining with him, trying to get a cheaper price. Mia got up and went to stand close to the exit as the next stop was hers. The exit was jam packed with ladies, all squished together like sardines in a can. Mia was sandwiched in between these ladies and it was probably the first time the young teenager had no choice but to let the personal space be intruded. Finally the destination arrived. Mia struggled her way out through the mass of humanity and finally disembarked. She gulped in a breath of air and breathed a sigh of relief.
Then, came her final test. Poor girl had to flag down and catch an auto rickshaw to her destination, the book store. The address of the book store seemed very elusive for even Google maps wasn’t being specific enough about the location and no one seemed to know the way to Gandhi road, where the book store was located.
Did I mention it was a hot day? Well, it was and the sun was sapping out all of Mia’s energy. The heat began to frustrate her. To add to the adventure (or rather mis-adventure) the auto drivers were being quite picky and choosy and they ended up trumping their noses at her and rejecting her request for a ride. Bah! More frustration.
Poor girl! After asking every vacant auto for a ride, finally Mia found an auto. The kind driver agreed to take her to her destination but only after about a thousand entreaties. Mia felt triumphant. But damnation! It was a shared auto and Mia was wedged between two stout ladies. She struggled to find a comfortable position. She kept thinking how inconsiderable and discourteous humans can be to not even offer enough place to the other human all throughout an auto journey.
Well, thankfully the ride did not last long. Soon she reached but guess what? The book store was SHUT! God was surely testing her! Why else would he be so unkind?
Dejected Mia made her way homeward. She was debilitated by the time she reached home. It had been a tough day.
Back in the comfort of her home that night, sipping on a cold coffee, she pondered, “How do people travel like this every day? How do cope?”
THANK GOD THE DAY WAS FINALLY OVER!
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