(Please note: This is my fortnightly column that was published in The Goan on Saturday)
I come across this situation at least once a week. I miss my morning bus, which leads to missing the Andheri local, and then I turn up late in office. However, I think it’s my alarm’s fault. Why does it even have the snooze option?
In a city like Mumbai, out of the 24 hours we’re benevolently given, I spend a little more than four hours only commuting from Andheri to Lower Parel every day except on the weekends. These are those four hours of my day that are wasted negotiating cranky traffic. With such a schedule, one is barely left with any time for recreation. But I devote this time to either reading or listening to the radio or sometimes, both.
When we say that this city is fast paced, believe me, it is very fast paced. For instance, a train halts at every station for a maximum of 30 seconds. And if you’ve ever witnessed what it’s like to travel during peak hours, you will understand how daunting these 30 seconds are. Many a times, I’ve watched trains leave a platform because I couldn’t place my foot in a crowded train. That’s precisely why I prefer an Andheri-bound train.
Imagine this same scenario in Goa. If you wave out, the bus conductor is more than willing to wait for another 30 seconds for you. Here, you either enter or wait for the next BEST bus. With jamming traffic, even an auto rickshaw makes very little difference.
Some months ago, I encountered this young girl who had come to Mumbai in search of a job. She came from our very own susegad Goa. Believe this; she left the city within the next three months. Why? She couldn’t catch up with the pace. The noise was getting to her, she said. She missed the lengthy lunch breaks at her office in Goa. Here, she’d have to leave her place at 7:30 am in order to reach office by 9:30 am. But when she was in Goa, she left home 15 minutes prior to her work timing.
Another friend who had visited the metro was complaining about the same routine. He happened to board a crowded train and couldn’t get off at his station, which led to him missing his job interview. If only he knew how the city works, this wouldn’t have happened. A minimum of an hour needs to be calculated for any journey in Mumbai. Or else the consequences can get ugly.
For me, if I miss that morning bus, even an auto doesn’t deliver me to the station on time to catch the Andheri local. If I miss the train, I arrive late at office. And when I’m not on time; half a day’s salary doesn’t make it to my bank account.