Yes you had a charm about you. Go on, call me an idiot. But to look at the indicator and figure out whether its a 9 coach or a 12 coach local gave me a minor thrill every time I did it. Especially if it was a 9’er means that you had to go running to catch the last ladies second class coach. That was fun eh?
Guess, you have a legacy of your own. You were the ones who started it all. You were the ones who gave the local trains their identity. You were the ones who bore the brunt of the entire crowd on yourselves. and of course you are the ones who gave way to the 12’ers.
People will look at you with nostaglia. I wish I had known this yesterday. I would have definitely caught one of you to go home and just fulfilled my desire of being on the last 9’er of Bombay.
You guys have been in service since 1961. Thats about 51 years. Phew! long long long time na for coaches. But you have never let us know that. You always came to the station with the same smiling face, same extra one bit same and same large heart to accomodate as many as ever eh?
Every Mumbaikar at one point or the other, has been aboard on you, enjoying the breeze coming in from your old fashioned windows and during the rare empty times, enjoyed those hand bars swinging like the hip of a swaying dancer.
I guess, you will miss most importantly the fact that you were always able to accomodate two more people. It was as if it was magic. As if you could change shapes to accomodate that extra crowd meaning 2 people more get into an earlier train to reach home early.
As if you were made of some sort of a flexible rubber that provided a bit more space. I think, its got to do with your large heart eh? You were ready to sacrifice that paint of yours, and accepts chips on your body just to let some people more get in to reach home early.
You have been through a lot and I think if any of you could write a memoir that would be so wonderful. Taking millions of different sort of people who can give you millions of different stories. Withstanding deluges, riots, bomb blasts, euphoric moments, everything and you have been an integral part of you. You have seen Bombay grow from a nice old town to a bursting metropolis. You have seen Western Bombay extend from Andheri and beyond to Virar and beyond. You have seen Bombay at its worst and Bombay at its best. You have definitely seen it all na.
You have been wonderful 9’ers and I just want to tell you that I love you all.
Always a fan
PS – This article of Indian Express led me to write this one.
Nine-car local trains will cease to be in operation in the suburban section of Western Railway (WR) from Wednesday and half-a-century run. The first nine-car service ran on WR on March 2, 1961. They were being replaced with 12- and 15-car services and the last of the lot, 26, are getting replaced by 12-car services on Wednesday.
Amen to the wonderful 9’ers.