Travel By The General Compartment In Mumbai Locals….

….is something every female avoids unless its late night or accompanied by a known male!

I have travelled with RD in the general ( gents) compartment and I have had my share of eve teasing and ‘accidental’ brushing etc etc!

I have been stupid enough not to react to it earlier…

However this post is NOT about all that! This post is about how I DID NOT face any issues travelling in the general compartment which was super crowded despite being alone with R!

So on saturday, we had to travel to the south part of Bombay and the fastest way to do that is take a local train. RD suggested getting into a fast train and since it was afternoon we thought it wouldnt be crowded. Only when the train came we realised it was super crowded. However, missing it would mean we would be late!

RD was holding R2 while I had a backpack and was holding R’s hand. Anyone familiar with Bombay local trains will know that each compartment has multiple entrances. RD stood in front of one while R and I were in front of another. I was too far from the ladies compartment. ‘Should I get in?’ shouted RD. I took a deep breath and said yes.

He jumped in with R2. R and I stood near the second entrance, R a bit confused with the guys standing at the door. The guys saw RD jump in with R2. They looked at me for a second and made space. One of them held out his hand at R. She jumped in and he gave me space. I went in and realised there was absolutely NO SPACE to sit. R was worried about R2. I told her appa will manage. There was no way we could make space to reach RD n R2.

Just then a guy standing at the seat backrest (its a very special place and I havent yet seen anyone in the ladies compartment ever give it up!) told me to put R there. This meant he would have to bear all the pushing of the crowd.

Despite being surrounded by men twice my size who were crowding around me, not once I felt threatened or uneasy. Infact, all of them went out of their way to make me feel comfortable. While there was some body contact due to the crowd and the train motion, it was not ugly or threatening. Everytime there was an apology. 

One guy took my backpack and put it up on the rack. Another guy moved to give me space to stand in the side taking all the pushing of the crowd himself. Though I was with my 7 yo, not once did I curse myself for getting in.

Infact, I may have caused discomfort to my co passengers but each of them was wonderful. We didnt get a place to sit but we were treated as fellow human beings. 

When it was time to get off, there was a huge crowd in the station for folks to get in. Anticipating that, the guy ahead of me told me that he was going to lift R and put her down or she may trip and fall. I agreed. He jumped down, quickly caught R and put her down while gave me his hand to pull me down, all the while taking the brunt of the incoming crowd. The man behind me stopped the outgoing crowd from pushing till he saw R n I were safe in a corner. Infact the guy who pulled down R even waited till I united with RD and R2.

Such was the goodness of those folks πŸ™‚

I know there are 100s of females who get touched inappropiately and not everyone is as lucky as I was. But on this particular day, my faith in ‘man’kind was restored!

PS – The folks on the other side were kind enough to give RD a seat to sit since he was carrying R2.

PS 1- In many years of travel by local trains I have observed that in a crowded compartment the men always always make space for ‘one more’ person while the ladies keep blocking the path! 


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28 Responses to Travel By The General Compartment In Mumbai Locals….

  1. Good to read this. I had the opportunity to travel in a Mumbai local many years ago. That was the last time I ever took a local in that city!

  2. Tanishka says:

    I have experienced the same goodness from men in general compartment… While not all of them are good most of them are.. And I think this sort of respect towards women is more in Mumbai then other cities… I am glad you n R made it to your destination safely in time.. πŸ™‚

  3. Lata Sunil says:

    So true.. Mumbai rocks.

  4. pixie says:

    I’m glad you had a good experience. Its the small things like this that keeps us going eh? πŸ™‚
    Did you have a good weekend?

  5. Prachee says:

    Loved this post RM.. So true..good folks are still there.
    Your last point is a thought to ponder…it is always ladies compartment from where sounds of complaints n fights come..! However I have seen both the extreme.. The best ones giving away their seats to pregnant/old/even tired ladies.. And worst ones not even shifting a micron to let the other person pass.. *sigh* Need to learn something from men..

  6. This made me tear up, RM! My faith in humanity is also restored. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you had a safe trip.

  7. summerscript says:


  8. Zephyr says:

    Just in case you didn’t know already, having a child with you brings out the best in men in public places. I am afraid I can’t say the same about women 😦 I have experienced this countless number ot times and so can tell you with authority πŸ™‚ But don’t try it too often. Your nerves will fray prematurely due to the tension!

  9. While it is great to highlight good things in the society and quite important too, it does sadden me a bit that basic civil behaviour that should be expected from all, gets applauded. Sorry to be cynical, but I am really curious to know if your experience was an isolated one or have things actually improved for every female irrespective of her age, traveling with a child, dressing a certain way, having certain physical attributes etc.

    I do salute your bravery though, braving 2 kids in the train crowd madness. I have had a life threatening incident as a child when my mum took me with her in the evening peak hour. Still can’t forget it. That was the ladies compartment by the way.

    • R's Mom says:

      Yes yes I agree…but like I said…with so much negativity around, thought a little positive stuff would be good eh?
      Aiyo! life threatening eh? hugs hugs

  10. Greenboochi says:

    Kind of quite agree with your PS2 RM. Although Chennai locals are not as bad as Mumbai, During the peak hours it gets pretty nasty. For the fear of unnecessary touching, brushing I liked to travel in ladies compartment but in many occasions I have seen men to be more considerate than women, esp in trains.

  11. R’s Mom, great post ! About 30 years ago, i had occasion to replicate the Kajol-SRK scene in a train. Except there was no one I knew inside the train, I had come running down the stairs on to the Vile Parle platform carrying a 2 year old , and was rushing to catch a train , and had almost stepped inside the general compartment somewhere near the stairs. . Two hands reached out to us, and drew us in; an elderly gent shook his head and said I shouldnt be running like this etc, and a bunch of folks allowed us to get further in and stand at a safe place. I was offered a place after some time. When i had to get down at Dadar , there were chaps who stood near the door and ensured that we were able to disembark properly, without being, say, pushed in again.

    Trains are even more crowded now , but I am glad to know that the folks remain as helpful as before.

  12. Smita says:

    Errrr you picked the backpack no?? Sorry but that was the question that came foremost to my mind πŸ˜›

    But yes I know what you are saying. For every bad incidents there are many good incidents specially in the locals. Last to last week I n Brat boarded a local from “KURLA” imagine! Hubby went in the general compartment & I went into ladies. Though getting in was a major issue but a kind lady gave the fourth seat to my brat and had her arms so protectively around him that it was heart warming. My brat who never lets any stranger tough him also allowed her may be it was the vibes!


  13. Jo says:

    Such a warm post RM. I second PS1 with my experience of travelling in train in Kerala. Its the same there as well..

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