Step Aside, Religion A. I’m Religion B.
by Tejas Nair
As narrated by my sweetheart of a sister, A.
It was a CST-bound train through Kurla which was now chugging towards Kanjur Marg, its next station. A lady boarded with some difficulty and then experienced more of it when the time came for her to find a place to stand. Sitting is out of the question in Mumbai local trains unless you are a shameless superhero, as you may know. The problem was not her bulky frame but the huge blue bag that she was carrying in her hands. And the people who aggravated the problem were the ones who boarded along with her.
I was standing with my back leaning against one of the sides of an entrance which is where the lady and the people had got in through. As the train started moving, shouts and hoots from the people began reverberating in the train car. The case in point: the lady not allocating enough space for the people who would want to alight at the next station, Vikhroli. Earlier, while the lady was trying to find a place to stand properly so that she could also keep her bag safely somewhere near, the people were barging in from behind her not letting her even move, let only scrounge and find a nook. Like a girl would throw in a vibe of interest to a boy that she is interested in, I moved aside a little so as to give the lady at least some breathing space. She took notice and glided in, and the people who were noticing, too, as it appeared, took advantage of the opportunity and accommodated themselves in the little cavity that she had just created, further aggravating the situation. As a result, the lady stood there in the packed car like a TV remote that has slid behind a couch and which is holding itself against the wall unable to fall completely down to the floor nor defy gravity and move up where it got dropped from by that annoying 3-year old boy you have got yourself as your neighbour.
Within seconds, the shouts increased by both numbers and volume. People were bashing her for not providing space for them to move like they were on a cruise trip. Apparently everyone wanted to get down at Vikhroli, which, you should know, is not a famous place if you are not a Godrej employee. She tried to calm them sweetly down by reiterating her situation if it was not clear enough, but the people didn’t budge. I was her only source of sympathy, but then sympathy doesn’t help you when it is something else that it is all about. And she was further criticized for bringing her bag with her, for obstructing way, for not being able to find a good place quickly which moved the argument to her not being from Mumbai at all, and ultimately for being a person who follows, say religion A.
That is the primary reason. That the lady belonged to religion A that the people who belonged to religion B were so pissed about. Religion is the reason why sympathy won’t help. All that bashing the lady sustained was not for being inefficient in travelling in a Mumbai local train on a sweltering afternoon but because of hailing from a sect that practices religion A. Because religion A has no say or place when the train car is filled with religion B.
And sorry, I forgot to mention that I follow religion C and I could detect people of at least four more religions in that train car where this situation occurred. And as is always the case with religious uproar, the people still got down at Vikhroli, and then at Ghatkopar, and then at Kurla because Vidyavihar is a joke. The lady got down at Kurla and everyone went home proudly for having kicked up a ruckus for nothing. Nothing at all.