I let go of a couple of local trains today because it was so crowded that I couldn’t even get past the people trying to get off the compartment. I also did not want to risk falling off the footboard.
Just a couple of weeks ago a school friend of mine had slipped from the footboard while boarding the train, he suffered injuries to his neck and head but thankfully he survived without any critical or permanent damage.
I could afford to miss a couple of trains and be late by 15 minutes because today was a weekend and I wasn’t rushing to office. I am also thankful that my job does not require me to travel during peak hours and thus avoid crowded trains altogether.
But each day, hundreds of people put their lives at risk everyday to get to work and after working the entire day it’s a risk their lives again on the journey back home.
People crammed inside a train compartments like sardines in tin cans or flock of sheep being herded by the shephard, each struggling for a little space to set the feet firmly on the compartment floor.
Then there are those who are hanging by the footboard, one slip of grip and it is a sure death.
Not the kind of way you want to die, your body destroyed beyond recognition.
Yet each day, there are a hundreds of people who set out to work, putting their lives at risk in order to make a living, to make their dreams come true. After surviving the commute it is reasonable to expect to just go home, have food and go to sleep and get ready for the struggles of the next day. Days turns to weeks and weeks to months and the years have passed and the struggle continues.
How can someone be expected to be creative and innovative, to do their best and be thinkers in their fields when all the energy a person can expend is expended in commuting to work. “Get a job closer to your home”, some might say but with the cost of real estate in Mumbai rising outside the reach of the common man, far out suburbs in the periphery of the city are the only option that most people can afford, barely that is.
I wish there was something we could do to change this? Perhaps bring office to the people instead of having people come to office, but that is not really feasible is it?
Also there are only so many jobs that you could WFH. Hiring Locals or people who stay within a geographical boundary is hardly fair.
How about go on the extreme and banning migrants from other states and cities in Mumbai?
There is no single answer to this solving this problem but that does not mean that there is no answer at all. I hope somewhere; someone far more intelligent than me, much more insightful and resourceful than I am is actively working on solving this problem.