All Talk And No Talking

, , , , , | | Friendly | May 16, 2019

(My friend and I are waiting for a train, chatting with each other, when this heavily drunk man comes up and tries to talk with us. He absolutely reeks of alcohol, to the point where I feel nauseous, and he makes sounds several times as if he is about to throw up while he is leaning over us. We manage to scoot out of our seats and move down the platform, leaving him to flop down on the bench we just vacated. We get to another bench further down the track, settle down, and start chatting again, when there is a loud humph from the lady sitting on a bench behind us.)

Lady: *after we turn to look at her* “How rude are you, running away from that poor man? He obviously just wanted someone to talk to.”

Me: “Then why don’t you go talk to him?”

(She gaped like a fish for a few seconds as my friend and I just stared at her, before gathering her things, getting up, and walking off… in the opposite direction from where the man was.)

This Train Will Be Terminating At Your Hearts

, , , , | Hopeless | April 24, 2019

Mumbai, India has two major arteries for its public commutes: its railway lines. They’re overcrowded, overloaded, and held together by sheer force of will and prayer, but they still carry the city on their shoulders. An average intra-city train with a capacity of 1,900 passengers will, on a normal run, carry over 5,300 at a time. Trains are identified by the time they are scheduled to arrive at the station, and even if they’re running a few minutes late, they’ll run the exact same route every single day. Platforms at each station can range from 300 metres length at the shortest, to over half a kilometre long elsewhere. They’re connected using a warren of tunnels and overhead bridges, so it wouldn’t be out of order for commuters to walk over a kilometer or two to reach the exit gates.

I commute using one of these lines. This time, while I was waiting on the platform, an old, blind man, hard of hearing and holding a crutch, was asking if the 12:15 to [Terminus] had arrived. The train prior to that, the 12:04, hadn’t arrived yet, and the passengers around him were saying so. He probably wasn’t getting the answers he wanted, so he kept asking. I gently told him it was the 12:04 next, and I’d put him on the train.

He then asked if he could be helped to board the 12:15, since the 12:04 would mean a walk of over two kilometres from the platform it ended at to the main gates at [Terminus]. The 12:15 landed on the platform closest to the gates. I had time on my hands, so I agreed. The poor guy was so overwhelmed that he held on to me for the ten minutes or so it took for the train to arrive. “My keeper is with me; I have no worries,” he kept chanting. I gave my bags to him to hold, as an assurance that I wasn’t going anywhere until he was on the train.

The 12:15 arrived and I helped him to the doors of the train. People on the train immediately held on to him, pulled him up, and held on behind him so that he wouldn’t fall. A few people immediately emptied their seats for him and he sat down on a corner, trying to occupy the least amount of space. I moved on, finding luggage space for my bags and then a seat for myself, so I lost track of what happened to him after.

When I was alighting at my stop, two halts before [Terminus], I caught sight of him once again. He was asking around if someone would help him alight at [Terminus]. A group of teenagers, heading home from school, told him they would do that. He was still worried and kept repeating his request to the compartment. So, they just created space in the middle of their own seats and got him to sit there safely, telling him, “Uncle, we’re all alighting at [Terminus] only. We’ll make sure you, too, reach it comfortably.”

I alighted at my destination with a smile, realising one thing: Mumbai’s regular commuters never lack empathy. They will give answers to everything you ask, even delaying their own journey if someone is in need. They’ll look out for everyone with more difficulties than them. No matter how uncomfortable the journey, if you’re less able than the rest, we’ll make sure it’s comfortable for you at least.

Unfiltered Story #129876

, , | Unfiltered | December 2, 2018

Our train station got a big make-over. The old station house was demolished and replaced by a new kiosk. Similarly, a tunnel was made underneath the railroads, replacing the rail crossing, like many modern train stations have. By now, signs showing you the way to the platforms and everything have been placed to and the make-over is finished. I hear two teenagers talking on the stairs.

Boy: “It finally starts to look like a real train station.”

Girl: “Yeah, but a really bad station. There isn’t even an escalator!”

So, apparently a station doesn’t look real if it hasn’t got a tunnel and/or signs… And apparently two healthy young people have lots and lots of trouble with walking one staircase!

Beggars Belief How Rich They Are

, , , , , | Friendly | November 28, 2018

(I am a university student, and money is beyond tight. I am walking through the station, catching a train home for the holidays, when a beggar stops me, asking for money.)

Beggar: “Hey, you. I need money for a ticket; can you spare me a tenner?”

Me: “Sorry, I don’t have any coins on me.”

Beggar: “That’s okay; I can easily break a hundred for you.”

Me: “Then you have more money than me, so no. Goodbye.”

(She followed me, cursing at me all through the station, until I detoured past a couple of police officers walking by and slipped away.)

They’re All Just Strolling By

, , , , , | Friendly | November 26, 2018

Since having a baby, I rarely go into the city centre alone these days, and after this instance I remember exactly why.

I was at the central train station, where there are several doors side by side to get outside. The doors open inwards. With my baby sitting happily in the stroller, I approached a set of doors leading outside and pushed the stroller slightly to the side so I could swing the door open.

I guess someone decided that opening one of the other doors was too much of a hassle since I was holding one open already, so they breezed past me outside. And after them another. And another. Until I was kind of stood there, slightly bewildered, with an unbroken stream of people marching out the door.

My baby in the stroller, on the other side of this stream of people, started to look increasingly panicked, with all these strangers suddenly between her and mummy. Not one person stopped and offered to hold the door so I could get to my daughter, or God forbid, get through the door with the stroller, too. I guess I could have just let go of the door and pushed my way through the stream of people, but I was honestly too shocked that this was happening to begin with.

I did learn a lesson, though: I now never let go of the d*** stroller when opening a door. Good luck pushing past me, then.

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