Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Motormen Strike Down

Thank God that the motormen (train drivers) strike in Mumbai is finally over. It's been a harrowing 24 hours for many Mumbaikars. Yesterday, 3 May, I left my office in Dadar for home at about 7.15 pm. Station is a stone's throw and I got a train (Churchgate-bound) in about 2-3 minutes. Unfortunately, the train chugged its way to the next station, Elphinston Road and just stopped. I waited for another 15 minutes before I lost patience and got off. Other people were also losing patience and we were all getting quite restless. It's just a horrible feeling to get stuck inside a stationary train, I can't quite explain it. I decided to walk to the main LBS road, near IndiaBulls Centre One complex if I can catch a taxi. Buses too, though there isn't a single bus from there that comes to where I live. 

I tried hailing a cab, but taxis were not stopping. That's a surprise. Whenever some public transport such as trains or BEST buses goes on a strike, taxis usually make a killing. Most of them refuse to ply by meter and fleece passengers by charging way above normal rates. I saw one taxi doing that yesterday, but many taxis were running empty and just refused to run. I guess most of them must have got intimated by the heavy traffic. There was a sea of people on the street and it was completely chaotic. Whenever any taxi stopped, hordes of people flocked towards it, like a bunch of homeless people in flood-hit areas gushing towards food packets being air-dropped. The taxi driver would listen to each of them- where each person would like to- do a quick mental calculation, faster than the speed of light (or is it sound?), then bless one of us with the sacred place in his esteemed chariot. Mostly, it's a khatara taxi, but atleast yesterday it seemed like a luxurious chariot to those fortunate few who could successfully hail one. 

Anyways, I could not hail one. Atleast from that area. So I decided to walk. And before I knew it, I was walking on the road that connects Elphinston and Worli. After about half an hour of walking, I came to Worli, Doordarshan tower. There weren't any empty taxis going past by, so I decided to wait at the bus stop. Thank God a bus came after sometime and i hopped in. The bus was not the one that would go to my home, but atleast it would drop me in my neighboring locality. Some 2 hrs, 15 mins after I started from office, I came home. On a normal day, it takes me 45 minutes. 

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