10 things to know about the Ladies Compartment of Mumbai Locals

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The lifeline of Mumbai. The life of true-blue mumbaikars have had these trains play some part in their life for sure. Students and youngsters and even the oldsters have some story associated with it. The travels with that someone special,  the thrill of standing on the threshold and feeling the gush of air on your face and your hair, the awesome rains of Mumbai splashing on you and that quiet contemplation in looking at the fast paced world. The morning beauty and the lights of night are all a different story when you look at it via the Mumbai local. The ugly part is the rush, the fight to get a foot in and also the yelling, screaming and physical fights as well. It is a bitter-sweet part of Mumbai local life. The kindness, the unknown friends you just wink at, the silent strengths of the visually disabled making their way through the crowd, it teaches you to smile in trouble. The jay-walking, the deaths and accidents are also a part of it. It’s a world in itself, a living breathing world which laughs, cries, shatters and becomes whole again. This article is about the common sights you may see in the ladies compartment of the local. Enjoy the journey.

10. Cookery classes

Cookry classes

Women work, women manage houses and they do it all on their own. The superwomen who earns, cooks, cleans and does everything. How do they manage that? Well the local gives them the much needed gift of time. They use it well. They chop vegetables the cut fruits. They shell the peas and clean the carrots. All this while traveling in the trains. Time management should be learned from the ladies of Mumbai Local.

9. Praise the lord.

Praise the Lord

So the scope of cooking reduces when the crowd increases. What is the second thing you want to do and can’t devote your time when you are all rushed up? Praise the lord! It is pretty common sight on the local. You see ladies with rosaries, Tasbis and the Hanuman Chalisa. They are all into the prayer and the routine have their body clock set to buzz when they approach the destination. The eyes are shut till almost the end and as soon as the station is about to arrive the Godmen-ship is forgotten and they fight their way to alight. That’s the story of Mumbai local.

8. Shop, eat and celebrate

Shop eat celebrate

Another thing you can’t seem to do when you are busy is shop. It’s not the clothes shopping for well we ladies have hidden stash of strength when it comes to that. This is trinkets, odd home appliances, kids’ toys etc. etc. the collection of objects here is so varied and distinct it reads like the things you will most likely forget when you do the groceries. The like of needle and thread, the varieties of knifes, the small cleaning materials, the hair-bands, safety pins etc. You have necklaces, earrings, finger-rings, nail polishes as well. There are card holders, pens books. Now women carry kids and kids need toys so we have toys, alphabet and animal books etc. The vendors carry the wares and hook it on the handles. Within a couple of minutes at least one lady caves in and the sale begins! We have hawkers with delicious and unhealthy food. They frequent in evening for it’s when the shifts ends. Ladies shop, eat and celebrate in Mumbai Local.

7. Tough it out

Tough it out

So the high time here is morning when people travel over 2 hours to get to work. Even if the travel is not a problem, people are. The crowd is tremendous and this makes life difficult. The travel is difficult when four people sit on a bench made for three. It is difficult to squeeze in your leg to get in, fight your way through the crowd to get a breathing place to stand. When a high priority station arrives the mad rush of getting in and getting out is dangerous for if you are in the way you will either be thrown out or pushed in. Tough it out, take your stand and push your way in and out. Ladies local is more dangerous for the frustration of work and life comes out here. You will be yelled at, abused and teased. Take it in a stride; give it back as good as you get.  When tempers flares, the gloves comes off. You may witness a war of words or a real life fight. All the entertainment, only with the Mumbai Local.

6. Silver linings

Silver linning

Crowd can be cruel. In the rush to get in the train humanity is forgotten. When someone falls it’s their mistake and if you stop to help someone, Dude! You will get looks and muttering for the good deed. People will not let you die but won’t help till the last possible second. So where is the silver lining? The person you pull out of danger will smile and make your day. The ladies with kids are protected when they enter the train. Those who are expecting find strangers flanking them. The visually disabled ones usually find a supporting hand.  They are unaware of the other five extended hands, ready to help. The silver lining will warm your heart.

5. Adjust to survive

Adjust to survive

If you thought the Bollywood movies showing the female protagonist standing on the train staring out peacefully is possible, then stop dreaming. Its way more difficult on the tracks. The benches that sit three are adjusted to accommodate four.  The luggage is dragged in and people adjust. People come in to sell their goods and people adjust. People squat and sit on floor. So when you rush in look behind, forward and down as well you may step on someone.

4. Foreigners


When people come to Mumbai to learn the culture they travel via the local. It is the best place for them to learn about the common man. Also it is the best place for the local people to see the foreigners. The African lady and the fair skinned, blue eyed lady have now become a regular scene. The daily wage earner looks upon the foreigners and vice-versa.  It is an amusing sight when the east and west size each other up.

3. Gadgets Gizmos Giggles

A woman speaks on the phone as she stands near the open doorway of a Ladies' Special train

With the evolution of technology we see the world evolving. Every other person is hooked to either the phone or tab. Watching movie or listening to songs is normal. You can see people whatsapp-ing and sms-ing and bbm-ing. You can see colorful earphones and top-notch cell phones. Ladies giggling is another common sight; this is not surprising when you put many ladies together.

2. ‘When will you get down’?

       When will you get down







A quirky habit of ladies local is that if you are seated, be ready to answer the question ’When will you get down?’ a hundred times.  It is an understood question which is now shortened to ‘where?’ Sometimes a movement of eyes is all it takes to know the question. So do not be happy when you get a seat, for you will have to repeat it a hundred times. It may just be better to remain standing

1. The me first Funda!

First me funda

Be it getting down from the train to climbing it, the ladies want it first. It even converts to the walking on the bridge and getting down from it. Even when buying stuff ladies rush to get the best piece. The competitive edge is palpable in the air and this makes the ride interesting. And the field is not leveled for the granny’s compete with teens and it gets loud for they share expletives. It’s fun!  Only on Mumbai local.

If you want to judge women, if you really want to know her, put her on a fully crowded Mumbai local. It’s even touted to be a perfect pre-matrimony test for the anger, patience and happiness will be bared out to you, only on Mumbai Local. Girls watch out, you might be watched.

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  • Anisha Lakhani

    Great Job Sneha Pujani, Realy nice to read your article