When I visited Mumbai for the first time during the year 1989 when situation in Kashmir turned volatile, I had a horrific episode with the suburban railways.
This was very new to me because back home we do not have rail net work but had to be dependent on the public transport of buses and even sumu,s were alien to us those days.
When I reached Bombay central,those days trains from Jammu used to have last stop there and had to go to vashi,New Bombay.
When I asked for the quick and easy mode to reach Vashi I was given to known that I had to switch to harbor line of central railways from the western line and catch a train from VT(Victoria terminus) Masjid Bunder.
Those days the central railways had no direct rail link with Vashi but had service up to Mankhurd and from there one had to board bus or taxi and pass through the long bridge passing through Bombay- Pune highway and reach Vashi.
I boarded a cab and reached VT station and catched slow Mankhurd rail service. I was surprised to see the sea of people boarding the train at the same time. The gathering which I found at VT station was a new experience for me as such big gathering we would find back home only when there is any mela or a grand public gathering.
It was a harrowing experience to board the trains at shortest possible time of few minutes along with the baggage as all the people at all the same movement could also try to get in lest they may miss it. Any how I was lucky to get in and train started. It passed through various stations and would stop at each station for a fraction of second and people would get in.
This accumulation of people inside the train who would board at various station has now turn the train into a suffocating box as people would get pressed with each other and breath jointly. By now I have already sweated a lot and would find it unbearable.
The stations would pass by and after passing through many stations one gentle man had pity on me and offered his seat and here I found that people are very much cultured in Bombay. After passing through Masjid Bunder, Bycula, Cotten green vadala, chembur and others I reached Mankhurd. Luckily it was last station so alighting was a bit easy but my clothes had by now already turned wet.
I recollected my breath and composed myself and had a inner feeling as if I had erred by coming to this big city and leaving behind the comforts of my home and my city. Anyway bullet had already been fired and there was no way to retreat.
I had no choice but to catch a cab and proceeded to Vashi in sector 5. I had my residential house at E-1/5,Vash,Opposite ESIS hospital,Bombay and after half hours journey reached Vashi and breathed easily.
I was basically home sick but I had no alternative but to shift base due to disturbances back home as at times frisking by security forces was irritating and at times I would think in terms of retaliating. My family was not happy with my migration and my budding love. my future wife would also feel it disturbing. I somehow ensured that I will come back to my roots.
During the year 1998 I somehow returned back in single piece to my family and to my love The Gazala. The city had by now turned Mumbai and now had a direct train from Vt To Navi Mumbai.
The rest details will follow in nest blog watch and wait.
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