Riding a train in Mumbai

I’ve never traveled by train in Mumbai, India — all my train trips have been in the south — but if I ever did, my only chance of getting on the train would be to wear a sari and sneak into the ladies’ compartment. Of course, Mumbaikars (or is it Mumbaites?) are used to this, just as New York City drivers are used to people showing them the finger — and not just Jets fans claiming their team is No. 1. Mumbaikars take it in stride and focus on the positives.

Can’t get a seat in the compartment? No problem, I’ll just stand in the aisle. I feel like stretching my legs anyway.

Can’t get into the aisle? No problem, I’ll just stand in the doorway. I’ll get more fresh air this way.

Can’t get two feet in the doorway? No problem, I’ll just put one foot there and hold on tightly. It’ll be easier for me to get off.

Can’t get one foot in the doorway? No problem, I’ll just hold on tightly, suspended in the air. This is going to make my arms stronger and impress the babes at work.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. You are absolutely right, though I remember once I thought I will impress the babes, only to figure at some point in time, I was losing the strength.
    Thanks to some red signal at a station, I got off there…and I am still alive πŸ™‚

  2. The video length was pretty good. One passenger was more interested in catching the cameraman’s attention. The ‘Ladies Compartment’ was a good close-up. If one looked even closer, it was just about possible to locate our friend building his muscles by hanging in the next-door section – surely impressing these babes in the train.

  3. At least somewhere women are treated better! Thank god, there is no other reservation like the famous backward class or other reservation … well, yet!

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