The other day, I had accompanied my father to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, better known as Victoria Terminus (Mumbai Railway Station) to receive an extended relative of ours, coming from Chennai by CST Mail.
How the name Bombay became Mumbai? It derived its name from Mumbadevi, the pattern Goddess of the Kalis, a fishing community and its oldest inhabitants. Wow! What a beehive of activities going in there non-stop from morning till late night. Of all the Indian Metros, it is Mumbai that has something unique; the capital city of Maharashtra, where approximately 15 million people live, very rich and equally very poor.
It is the world’s largest movie industry and the Mumbaikars show an inclination to western culture. The very building of CST speaks volume about Gothic architecture! With richly carved domes, spires, turrets and buttresses, it can accommodate over fifty thousand passengers at a time. To cap it all, it has been declared as a world heritage sight by the UNESCO!
Mumbai is surprisingly coming under two railway zones: Western & Central Railways. Mumbai is chiefly bifurcated as East and West. And the pulse of this metro is the EMU local trains. From Church gate to Kundivali on the western side, and from CST Museum to Kalwa on the eastern side, these local trains play a major role for the growth of Mumbai, or otherwise this great city would come to a grinding halt!
In between, there are several important stations where die commuters entrain and detrain to go to office, college and school. As we were waiting for the arrival of Chennai Mail to roll in, we saw many EMU Local trains zip past up and down, away in the suburban platforms. Passengers gouged their way in and out as every train ran to packed houses.
Some youngsters travelled over die two couplings, while a couple of youngsters were travelling on the train roof, risking their neck with the high voltage live cables running alongside hardly a few inches away!
Just then another express train bound for Kolkata awaited line clear. At 6.20 sharp, the Starter signal at the end of the platform ahead of the waiting engine class WAM 4, changed from Red to Amber.
Seconds later, the chief guard blew his wised as he exhibited die green flag. The next moment, the engine emitted a long wised followed by a short one as it surged forward. It then picked up speed and rolled clear of die platform.
The next moment the platform plunged into silence, but it was only momentary. Five minutes later, die Chennai mail rolled in heavily and pulled up. The platform again became active and noisy. That is die routine scenario of this great Mumbai CST station! At last we picked up our relative. O, Mumbai, how I love you, you know?