Monday, September 02, 2013

Mumbai Mélange - 2

The Mumbai local, taxis & autos

Second thing that defines Mumbai is its transportation infrastructure. Mumbai is a city where driving your own vehicle can be a real pain in the ass. Hence, you would find huge number of people using trains, buses and autos.

I am sure coming from Delhi and being used to Delhi metro, Mumbai means of transport would not entice you that much but trust me the story doesn't just end there.

Every day going to office in Delhi, I have to haggle with the auto-wala for the fare because they simply refuse to go by the meter. May be that's the reason for the pumped up day I have in office after that. Anyway, so landing in Mumbai and taking an auto from the station close to my cousin's place cost 15 bucks and to my surprise, auto-wala took just that! Ya, no haggling and no keeping the change business!

Now, that was cool! I covered many a distances by paying 15 bucks every time and no frowning expression from the auto-wala even once. Same with the taxis. Wherever you go, you will find those black-yellow Fiats and now many Santros and WagonRs.

Coming on to the lifeline of Mumbai. The local train. Believe you me, you have to take a ride in one of these to experience true flavor of the city. Board it any point of the day and there is a different scene.

I always boarded the ladies coach and it was a world in itself. You see middle-aged Marathi speaking women with kids who are docile and remain seated all the time; a girl looking tired after the day's work boarding the train from Chembur and getting down at Vashi, all the time happily talking to her parents on phone who live in a different city; bunch of college-going girls chirping away; some reading; some sleeping; some eying the empty seats and some just looking around.

Then there are women who are selling exciting stuff in the trains. Exciting, really! Like fried snacks & eatables, hair accessories, earrings, combs etc. They board the train with their wares, put it on some seats or hand it to the anxious, prospective customers and sell! There are fisher-women who board the train in a separate section with their baskets.

And then you will see many women standing at the door of the train and lost in their thoughts. I found it so dangerous but they made it look like easy, effortless and filmy!

There was never a dull moment in the train journeys. Either it were two women fighting for some odd reason or a very enthusiastic little girl selling hair-clips, who flashed that beautiful smile at me.

I found travel in Mumbai a lot cheaper than Delhi. Fares of autos & taxis may be same as in Delhi but they go by the meter and don't overcharge. Local train fares are really cheap and I bought the ticket coupons once which lessened the task of buying the tickets every time.

To me, if you have not used the local means of transportation, you have not experienced the city. I boarded Best bus so many times for a longer distance just so we will get a ride around the city. For example, boarding the bus from Siddhi Vinayak to Mantralya. Amazing views on the way!

So, next time you are in Mumbai do take that train ride. Or board the auto. They are not just pocket-friendly but they show you the city the way you should see it.

The colors in the train compartment. Don't miss those bindi and hair clips hanging on the handlebars!

The ubiquitous kaali-peeli taxi
I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st - 7th September 2013. - See more at:
I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st - 7th September 2013. - See more at:

The famous Victoria Terminus (VT), now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st - 7th September 2013.

P.S They even have a cool app for train timings and everything! And everyone seemed to have downloaded that in their phones!


  1. I've heard a lot about the Mumbai locals... I have a teeny tiny booklet too giving the train schedule, but never used it!! They have apps now too..awesome!

    And yes compared to Delhi it's a lot cheaper and hassle free in taking the autos in Mumbai...just don't understand why Delhi can't take a que...Sigh!!

  2. Ya, I have the Mumbai Local app on my phone too, its amazing!

    You are right, if you have not travelled in the Mumbai Local you have not got yourself the real flavor of Mumbai.

    A very nice post, Naina.

  3. Enjoying a visit to Mumbai through your beautiful pictures and description.

  4. This post brought back so many memories. True, it is amazing to travel in local trains. If I was blogging when we were in Mumbai, I would have had so many Ten on Tuesdays posts capturing the day/time/travel of a particular day in the local train. There is never a dull moment.
    And best is the somehow I always felt safe in Mumbai even if was traveling alone at a late hour.

  5. That one about autos is evergreen in my memory as well. Probably the only city where the auto-meter is invariably used and adhered to.

  6. I love Mumbai and feel fortunate to have taken the locals for a few weeks from Elphinston to Goregaon to do a project in 2009. This brought back floods of memories. Enjoyed it thoroughly!

  7. Aamchi Mumbai - the very best!

  8. Added Mumbai to my wish list in BOLD letters.

  9. Hey it's so true bout Mumbai and it can only be experience in local trains, cabs, rick and of course, BEST Buses. The best city and I adore the city which is still a dream for me. I remember it was a dream, stayed in the city for six years and left. I am longing to be back.

  10. So True. Delhi autovalas are blood suckers. They openly steal from you. I have been to Mumbai many times but hesitant to travel in locals as they are so fast paced & am scared I might stumble upon.

  11. Despite the pushing and the shoving, transport in Mumbai is so much more convenient than other cities! Aren't the trains a microcosm of life in Mumbai? I admire the way you and your sister took it all on so adventurously. :)

  12. Mumbai has always fascinated me and keeps me hooked to itself till date...cant imagine any other city of the magnitude of Aamchi Mumbai !!!

    you can check out my post here:-
    Karan - Grand Mother

  13. Aamchi Mumbai - I have lived all my life in Mumbai and cannot think of staying in any other city. and you have captured the essence and flavours of my city so well that I bow to you. The train travels and selling of knick-knacks and all the details are well captured.

  14. I am so glad you feel like this about my Mumbai :) wish i could have been there to show you my favorite sights.Lovely post...

  15. Thank you for this information. It’s usefull infromation for every one. Keep sharing posting more like the in Chandigarh