I am seriously considering to rename my blog to Mumbai Blog. I write so much about this city. The reason is simple. This city has never ever failed to amuse me. Each single day, I experience something new. Each time I step out, I spot something new, lively, beautiful, irritating, thought provoking, annoying but at the end of the day when I ponder about those events, I always find them amusing.
And I have already boasted a lot about my teaching, so I will not repeat that yet again. But I need to mention this - I stay in the suburban part of Mumbai and I have to go to South Mumbai to teach. It is approximately an hour long journey. I travel by Mumbai lifeline - local trains. Now, if you live in Mumbai or you have ever visited the city, and travelled by the local train, then you will agree with me when I say that it is not an easy feat to travel by one especially if you are new in Mumbai.
In my case, I have always been fond of South Mumbai or town as we call it here. When I shifted to Mumbai in 1998, my hostel was at CST (VT then) and college at Churchgate. After a year, my parents shifted to Mumbai permanently and I moved in with them in the suburban part of Mumbai. But my heart was still at town. I completed my graduation and post graduation from Sydenham college and Law from KC law. All these years, I travelled from Suburb to Town by the local trains. First class, second class and general compartments - I have experienced all even during peak hours (and trust me, it requires guts to travel by general compartment at 6 pm!). Trains are so crowded that you cannot even move an inch from first stop to the last stop. Still, people keep getting in on each station, crushing you even more, fighting and abusing at those stamping their feet or maybe just for fun.
Travelling after a gap of three years was no different except for the fact that it was Sunday and trains were comparatively less crowded. Now, apart from the mad rush and crowd, another common site is the Vendors who sell various stuff in the compartments. These stuff include from a needle to comb, from hair clips to cosmetics, from bags to clothes, from mobile covers to railway time tables, from flowers to vegetables - anything and everything is available in the train compartment.
So many times, I have seen ladies selling such things for living even at the time of their pregnancy, or with an infant tied down to her back with the help of a piece of cloth, struggling to earn the bread to feed her child/children/family.
But the worst thing is to see small children selling stuff like that. One side, we are talking about stopping child labour, passing various laws to prevent the same; but nothing helps. Still children have to work. Either those children are compelled to work or they do not have any other option but to work.
I have spoken with many such children in past. But those stories I will share in a separate post. Here is another picture of children, school children enjoying some music on a mobile phone.
Some things have changed so much, while some things are still the same. Life goes on in Mumbai for all - for those who are deprived of education and those who travel from Virar to Malad to study in a Government school as they do not have money to take admission in private schools; carrying a mobile once in a while which is a great deal for them. And there are those children who are gifted a blackberry on their 8th birthday! Such is life!