Platforms 6 and 7 are more crowded then usual, breathing and foot space runs thin. People throng through from the opposite direction down the coarse cement stairs, claustrophobia pushes down on you as do the people behind you. I walk in the only direction possible - forward. A train speeds into the station,hailed by loud shouts, shrieks and screams, accompanied by a lot of pushing, shoving, pulling and throwing. The Mumbai rush hour is apocalyptic and deadly. The male to female ratio in the crowd is roughly 6 : 1. I think to myself, clearly the female experience of the Mumbai rush hour is more deadly than the male.

I reach the platform as the train starts to leaves. Moving closer to one of the kiosks on the platform I am welcomed by loud shouts.

Ladki ke saath Batimeezi karta hai ?

“Ladki ke saath bathemezi karta hai, Sharam nahi aati ?” said a man in white kurta. [Translation: Don't you have any shame - harassing a woman like that ?]

A slender hand,adorned in red and green bangles, holds his shoulder restraining him as her other hand has caught on to the other culprit’s hair in a closed fist.

“Kya kiya maine ?” said the man in the tattered blue shirt defiantly. [Translation: what did I do ?]

“Tujhe malum hai tune kya kia”, said the man in the white kurta with anger spilling out of his eyes. [Translation : You know very well, what you did.]

He grit his teeth and in the next few second hands and fists begin to fly. The defiant voice of the man in the blue shirt turns to apology. Some members of the crowd join in this form of street justice. Soon both the culprits are on the floor on their knees. The anger in the air begins to mollify as the man in the white kurta and the girl leave.


As the crowds interest dies so does mine. The talkative attendant at the kiosk tells me “ Kya karen ? har din station pur ek toh aisa ladki ke saath eencident rehta hai” [translation : What to do? Everyday at the station we get at least one incident like this.]

This post is part of the Blank Noise Project's Blog-a-thon 2006

TechnoratiTag : Blog-a-thon 2006

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neha vish said...

brilliant post!

Vj said...

Just loved it man

Akshay said...

neha - thanks, the compliment hold in higher stead coming from a writer of your calibre.

vj - thanks, I looked at your travelogues they're great.

farrukh: copywriter & journalist said...


Well written.

And thanks for your visit.

bharath said...

nice portrait: using both pictures and words.

you referred to GNGL on my blog once. There is a statement drawn from Shakespear: "The fault, my dear brutus, does not lie in our stars. It lies in all of us." seems apt.

D said...

cant believe there are pictures... coz so many times it all goes unnoticed.

Mridula said...

Akshay, how come you take this pictures without getting beaten up? I mean, it is so difficult for me to imagine myself using my camera in such a situation!

arvind said...

bharth: shakespear quote is the way have you seen "good night, good luck"...the same quote has been very well by Ed Murrow the legendary CBS anchor in reference to the Sen Macarthy

Bombayite said...

Dont you think its riskys to use the cam in situations like these and rally's & religious places...

Have you had any bad experience in doing it..

Twilight Fairy said...

OMG! u actually clicked pics!
nice attempt!

BTW the pictures of ruins are beautiful! (came here after you added me in flickr)

Akshay said...

farukh - thank you very much.

bharath - thanks, the statement those ring through very well with the current scenario.

d - I think the lady was travelling with male companion and she raised the alarm against the two miscreants. I guess the incident happened as they were getting off the train, which was leaving behind me as I took the pictures.
Sadly, yes in most cases it goes unnoticed or is ignored.

mridula - Well I took this pictures waist level, a little trick of the trade. They didn't know they were being photographed even though they saw the camera. Also they were too pre-occupied to care.

arvind - bharath, referred to Good night and Good Luch in his comment as GNGL. Thank you for your comment all the same.

bombayite - Yes it can get dangerous, but if you don't provacate them they won't do anything to harm you or the camera. In festivals people are only happy to be photographed.

No bad experience till now.

twilight fairy -
yes I did, I carry the camera everywhere I go so whence I get the oppurtunity - click.
I know I liked your pictures of flickr, thanks for the comment.

sirabhinav said...

awesome post! Bombay is one of those cities where commutes can never become boring or run-of-the-mill.

I got here via you're flickr.

wormtongue said...

buhahaha..:P good one.. yeah i know this happens a lot, and you know this is the trick that girls should exploit.. instead of quietly tolerating eve teasing bastards... just one scream and everyone will be ready to trash the fellow...
okie man! now i know how you manage to take those awesome pics of people. i was told about that way to taking pictures but still found it hard to get the right shot.. especially in trains...

wormtongue said...

i was asked if i could take the contract of knocking off a guy in the train by a gujju group today morning!! hilarious stuff. no matter how much of a pain in the ass a train journey may be.. its never short of a good laugh. :) i considered taking picture of their antics today.. but had to change my mind once they started talking about my camera the moment i took it out.. its difficult when everyone's staring at you :P

Rohit Talwar said...

Wonderfully written!

I like your blog!

Santosh said...

Glad you did not get involved. Really quick/pictures, they capture the scene very well - I can almost imagine the scene enacted out.

Melody said...

Hey Akshay,

It's been a while since I dropped in & it's great to see this post - it shows your writing talent (otherwise my trips here just floor me with your photo-takeouting-skills ;) )

Keep 'em coming, will love to read more!