Monday, July 24, 2006

Kandivli (E) woes

Shameen Akthar writes about travelling woes in Kandivli (E). Somehow she fails to highlight two critical factors contributing to the commuting problems - that of Akurli Road and Big Bazaar.

Anyway, at least the problem of a distant suburb is being talked about.

Link may disapper so pasting the complete article belo

Why it is so tough to travel out of Kandivli (E)

...asks a disgusted Shameem Akthar

To live at Kandivli east you must be a braveheart. Or be a reclusive renunciate, pretending not be part of this commuters’ conclave, stoically forgoing all invitations, assignments or exciting events requiring any travel. How else to survive the grind of commute without paying heavily in money or time?

I step out of my showcase complex into a paan-spit pool. But the autowallahs , thus beautifying my elegant gateway, giggle or start counting leaves on trees when I beg them to ferry me to my destination. If I want to go the station, it’s “too close”. Andheri Lokhandwala is “too far”. Malad west is too “in between”. Of course, if it rains, even I understand “the roads are overflowing”. And I truly empathise with them that during peak-hour the “highway is jammed”. If it is in afternoons, “only return-journey madam” and only after I promise to jot their mobile numbers, call them 15 minutes before leaving my destination. Otherwise, they’re content to keep on spitting. In my suburb, everybody is king except its residents. I’ve often spent 20 minutes to flag down an auto for a journey requiring as much time.

If I dare ask a taxiwallah, then woe me. On a rainy day, a nice avuncular one asked me Rs 250 for a trip that’d costs Rs 35 by auto (i.e., when meters are unembellished with ball-bearings). Yes, there are buses. But their links are yet to reach the seamlessness common to the less-tax-paying south Mumbai. Or western suburbs. Unless you are a nerveless daily commuter who by-hearts bus time-tables it’d involve a spiritless wait near gushing gutters.

Whatever the mode of travel, you must brave the hurdles’ race ahead. This may mean being run aground by not one but several mothers of all traffic jams — starting from the tractor factory at Thakur village to other regular kill-joys along the highway. Nowadays, a constable creates order out of these traffic spill-offs. But brace yourself for a spine-jarring, nail-biting finish, with adventurous vehicles playing catch-me-if-you can with groaning trucks.

As for train journeys and access into the stations — dhobiwallahs are happy because your laundry bills go up, thanks to the hopscotch you play over the muck. The railways dispensed with the first class daily ticket counters so you must buy from any of the second class ones. This means though you pay Rs 120 or so if headed towards south Mumbai you suffer murderous looks from a long queue of suffering folk who think you are doing the unthinkable, jumping queues. You emerge from this experience shouted at, elbowed, nudged and battered, mostly by men. Not a first-class experience.

On the return journey, I toss a coin before deciding where I must alight — Borivli or Malad. Why? Because the chances of getting an auto makes my life one of exciting guesswork.

These days I don’t travel much. I am recovering from an ailment without a remedy yet. It’s called the simmering suburban commuter rage.
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