Going Slow in a Fast Train: A Mumbai Perspective


Time is such a fascinating concept. We keep thinking about it all the time.If you chance to  hear a regular train traveller  their talks will fascinate. “I couldn’t catch the 6:15 today and look at how crowded the 6:20 is! No you should take the 9:35 and not the 9:48”. It sounds absurd but we’re so ruled by time and micro managing. I’ve been suspect to that too, reading the paper or a book or catching up with friends.

Well yesterday was different. In what way?? Read on.

By the time I usually leave my client in Fort its dark. And the city looks the same everyday, nothing changes is what I thought. I happened to leave early yesterday, when there was light and people slowly started winding up their work. The breeze was still blowing. I could see the golden sun make its descent in the horizon. The waters gleamed yellow.

I took out the paper to go on with my customary routine of reading the happenings in the Business world. At that moment the sun’s rays came streaming into my face. And for a moment I was lost. It seemed magical and there was this urge to just stand still and watch. And I decided on impulse to take this journey off.

Something about watching the city change from a sunny dress to a dark and sparkling robe captured my attention. And suddenly the paper didn’t look so interesting anymore. I’d not seen the sunset at Marine Drive for a long time now.

The train seemed to guess my sentiments and slowly chugged along instead of pulling me across the city in 40 minutes. I’ve always felt that trains had feelings and they could somehow sense yours. And they made you introspect.

The wind blew against my hair as I saw stations pass by, some we stopped on and some we passed. Yet it felt like every station represented something unique. From the Marine Drive façade at Marine Lines and Charni Road to offices at Bombay Central, the ruins near Parel, the churches near Elphinstone, the Chaos near Dadar and Andheri. From the beautiful victorian remains at Bandra to the beginning of the buildings in the suburbs to the cars whizzing by on the Highway. Even the mangroves and the creek looked beautiful as the lights cast their shadows on it. It was beautiful. This city was beautiful. It was chaotic, unplanned, messy but it was beautiful

We often are amazed when we see a city abroad, those wide roads and the parks and those tall buildings looking so similar. But here, it was like you had different, entirely different parts sewn together somehow functioning like a whole. I only did the western but I am sure the Central and Harbour with their numerous stations, some crossing farm lands and mountains while some on elevated platforms have their own charm.

There was also the beauty of seeing the light sky replaced by a dark blanket and see the lights come on in homes. For a city dweller it is disorienting to see no lights when you look out. Everywhere we passed, slowly lights were coming on, people were home. That sense of comfort that wherever you are you will reach home, was trememdous. And I think its something this city provides in abundance.

Through this whole journey the one thing I could draw comfort from was movement. There was movement all around me. People going home. Its one of the reasons why I love the name of my blog. The grace still amazes me that something so beautiful is the name of my blog. (=iamhomewardbound.wordpress.com). however far we go there is always that one place where we’re who we really are, without the pretenses and the masks. Its where our hearts belong –  ‘Home’

It was as if the crowded train echoed my sentiments. People all eager to go home. As I got off my station to make my way home it struck me how beautiful this journey was.  Going slow in a fast train was definitely one of the best journeys I’d made in a long time.

Cheers!!!