This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 38; the thirty-eighth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "The Woman on Platform Number 10"
Every city has its own unique characteristic. Likewise the city of Mumbai (I prefer to call it Bombay) is a city on the move, a city that never sleeps. A major reason for it being called so is its network of local trains. The locals make sure every citizen reaches the destination no matter what hour of the day they decide to commute. So what makes the city of Mumbai unique, what makes it stand out amongst the other cities of the world? Is it only the locals, or the Marine Drive “Queens Necklace”, or the Haji Ali Darga situated in the sea, or is it the magnificent array of temples dating from the 8th century A.D. and earlier, reflecting the cultural and religious mixtures to be found in the city, or for that matter any other historic monument of the city or is it the diverse cosmopolitanism of the city? In true sense it’s because of the people of Mumbai that the city mesmerizes one and all, their spirit, their love and care for the fellow citizens. This is one such incidence that I came across which gives me enough reason to believe that in this journey in the fast lane, people of Mumbai steadfastly hold close to their hearts the sense of humanity and humility.
My work takes me to different parts of the city and I make optimum use of the “Lifeline of Mumbai” to travel across the length and breadth of the city. I come across a lot of characters in the course of my journey in the local trains, but I have always been curious about this one old woman standing on Platform No.10 of the CST station. She stood there every day with a huge bag with big bottles filled with water. I never really understood why an old lady would be standing everyday on a railway platform with bag full of water bottles. So one day as I was done with the work early, I decided to follow her. When I reached the CST station I saw her standing at exactly the same place where I saw her every day. No sooner a train arrived at the station at the platform no.10 she started offering free water to everyone who wanted to drink. She then boarded the same train and I followed suit. The train was headed to Thane on the central line. Inside the train also she started offering water to everyone who wanted to drink, by shouting “pani lelo, mofat ka pani, thanda pani lelo” (have water, free water, cold water). She also offered me as she saw I was profusely sweating.
Lady: Shirt inta gila kyu hai?
Me: pasine se, mausam bohat garam hai na isiliye.
Lady: Aaram se piyo beta, jitna chaye utna piyo.
(I drank a little water, and now unable to hold back my curiosity I decided to ask her few things and get my answers)
Me: Kya aap roz asehi sabko pani pilate ho?
Lady: bhudi ho gayi hu ye karte karte.
(I was still not satisfied, I wanted to know more and I continued to pester and protrude further)
Me: haa, par matlab aap is tarah kab se pila rahe ho.
Lady: ye koi batane wali baat nahi hai beta, na hi main koi naam ke liye ye kar rahi hun, jaise maine kaha nah buddhi ho gayi hu ye karte karte, ab pata nahi kab tak kar paugi, 65 saal ki ho gayi hun main.
Me: kaha rehte ho aap?
All of sudden she started talking in English and told me that she alongwith her husband run a successful business and after they had earned enough for themselves and their family, she decided it was time to give back to the society. (But she still did not reveal from when she has been doing this.)
Before I could ask anything further she got busy offering water as other thirsty commuters called for her. I was so awestruck that I did not even realize we had already traveled till Kurla, where she alighted from the train and again started offering water to everyone on the platform. Now that lady would board a Vashi local and from there she would board another local back again to Dadar (her home) via CST. (As told to me by a fellow commuter who witnesses this phenomenon every day)
I feel truly blessed to have come across such a wonderful soul, which provokes me to think whether how many of us have bothered to take a break from life in the fast lane, ponder a thought and introspect. What we need from life, is there ever going to be satisfaction to our aspiration or whether it will make us megalomaniac.
As they say on the death bed, a person doesn't see his pay checks or his huge house or the favorite machines, what he sees is the time spent with loved ones, family and friends.
We may not be able to be so selfless as the old lady, but the least we can do is be selfish and make sure we see the best film when the kaleidoscope of our life is displayed in front of our eyes on the death bed.