Here is a special sneak excerpt from the newly released essay collection Train Friends – Bombay Roots, Parallel Track, Shared Journeys. Specially for Mumbaikars!!
The Hussainsagar express train dropped me off at Dadar station at about six in the morning. I carried my light bag to the local train platform, determined to prove to my parents that I didn’t need to be escorted home. I was, after all, a Mumbaikar and everyone knows that Mumbai trains are a safe option, even at that early hour.
A group of college students were the only evidence of life on an otherwise deserted platform. They talked and poked each other in the ribs, laughing aloud at their inside jokes. I was transported back to my Agarwal class days, wondering if my group had been equally boisterous. My reverie was interrupted by a hoarse voice.
“Aunty, Bandra kaun se side aayega?” Which side will Bandra come?
The question was a common one, one that I had often asked others. But had this boy really called me Aunty? Me? Aunty!!
In typical Mumbai style, the response rose in my throat involuntarily.
“Aunty hogi teri maa.” Your mother is an aunty.
After a sixteen-hour journey, with a night spent tossing around on a train berth, in my crumpled salwar kameez and messy hair, I knew I wasn’t looking my best. But Aunty??
Grab your copy here.