Last Local Photo Series –
The Mumbai local trains. This meandering web of locomotives that run through the city is Mumbai’s lifeline and perhaps the biggest part of its identity. Since the Mumbai local trains are such a huge part of an ordinary Mumbaikar’s life and over a million people travel on it every day, there are millions of stories that come out of it. The people who travel on these trains go through the struggles of traveling on it yet always have a weird sense of attachment towards it. I am bringing to you some of the great stories from the Mumbai through my which bring out the love affair of the city with its most favored means of transport.
I have shot many photos of Mumbai till now since I shifted from Surat, Gujarat in 2012; but last local from (Churchgate to Virar) & first local (Virar to Churchgate) fascinated me the most. In this I focused on people and their daily activities in and around the local train.
He refused to listen to us. Words turned into urgent phrases. A heated argument ensued that led to the men rising to their feet. In fragmented conversations, they reconciled their differences. When dust swept plastic wrappers underneath his feet, he stood up to leave. He was overwhelmed. The others tried to stop him.
He was stuck in a limbo of loss and regret. We study his face from afar. Resentment surfaced in every corner. The longer we looked, the lonelier he seemed. “Humare bade bade netaji hain woh hi nahin lad rahe, toh hum kya ladenge. One of our neighbours went to Bangalore in 2002. He didn’t have anything back then. He started some business on his own and built a house for himself. Soon, he asked his mother to join him. He forbade her from wearing our traditional clothes. Today, she wears a saree,” he said with a hint of pride. “If we weren’t treated with inferiority, perhaps this wouldn’t have happened. We feel ashamed of our ancestral identity. Of course, ‘they‘ — the sahibs don’t tell us anything today. These practices were prevalent in the past and somehow that fear or shame is deeply embedded within us. The upper caste are unable to let go of their pride and arrogance. This is the problem. Our political representatives too bow down to them. We need to elect better politicians who will be willing to fight for us. But where are they?” he asked balling his hands into fists.
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