As each day passes, it seems that the pathetic situation in the local trains cannot get worse. Alas, the feeling is short-lived. The crowd simply keeps on increasing and the rate at which the rush increases is simply astounding. It does not matter whether you travel by first class or second class, it is all the same. The situation inside the crowded compartment in peak hours is so terrible that just the thought of traveling in it puts me off. At any given point in time, my body is in contact with at least four other bodies from different sides. The stink after a hard day’s work on the return journey home is just the ‘icing on the cake’!
What makes me feel more disgusting is the fact that our tolerance levels almost edges at the point of indifference. Nobody does absolutely anything to try and improve it, and it includes me. Oh yes, people do talk about how grave the conditions are but the reaction stops just there. I admit that a group of people cannot just change the situation, but collectively I feel we can. Easier said than done though... I will be the happiest person to get up one day and see all the commuters on an ‘indefinite strike’, refusing to travel in such appalling conditions. Imagine what would be the implications. Even if you ignore the loss to the government’s exchequer, absence of such humongous workforce from work will cripple the entire business of the city! Do you think the administration would then be able to sit pat on this issue? More importantly, will the business houses and companies allow the government to stay put?
If I probe more into the entire situation, I find that the core problem is not just limited to the local trains. It runs deeper into the state of our minds. We are a rotten set of selfish people who are completely indifferent to what is happening around us. This pathetic state of mind gets appreciated by being referred to as ‘strong willed people/city’. Bull-shit! The fact that we travel in such conditions does not reflect our strong will. It exposes our lack of courage to stand up and demand better living conditions. We just don’t have the balls to change things around us. Who would want to sacrifice a day’s pay and run for the larger cause of betterment of this city?
We still have the same old four railway tracks on the central side for decades now. I see some work going around for few months now to increase the number of tracks. But I fail to understand how it would solve the problem. Is this being done to moderate the crowd conditions or to just smoothen traffic flows during peak hours? Laying down additional tracks for long-distance trains separately would not address the former issue at all.
Rather than expanding in width, why not expand in length? How about having double-decker trains like the BEST buses! To my mind, raising the height of the overhead wires would be simpler than laying down more tracks. Of course, the ‘widening’ task can continue but the concept of double-decker trains would address the rush factor more cleanly. At least I believe so.
Having said all this, the practical side of me is smiling sympathetically. I should be happy if all these are seen before my son has to use local trains. The thought scares me. May be, it’s time to float my CV for overseas jobs!