Microcosm called train group

Thrown together into a frantic suburban train commute of 50 kms or even more every day, the city’s working women have forged bonds, which some say are as close as family ties. These friendships that flower on local trains are known to last decades and seep into the world outside the wheels and the tracks. They keep firmly in touch years later.

“Like different members of a family, each woman within a group formed on the train is distinct from the other. One could be aggressive while another could be docile. But what’s most important within a train group is trust. We can share our innermost secrets without any apprehension of them being leaked to others,” says Geeta Phatarphekar, a medical college professor.

Commuters on the ‘ladies’ special’ trains call them their second home. Singing songs, sharing goodies and bringing in birthdays is common. But there are a few commuter groups who take celebrations a step further. “Nearly everyone dresses up in different colours during the nine days of Navratri. We decided to start playing the garba as well. It’s done in the last phase of the commute when the compartment is nearly empty and cheers everyone up,” says Seema Naik, another WR commuter.

Some tech-savvy commuters have created a Facebook page for everyone in their group to stay in touch, when they aren’t together. “We have formed a chat group on WhatsApp to post railway updates such as delays or cancellation of services. This way, our friends can plan their schedule in advance and not get inconvenienced,” says advertising executive Sneha Singh, who commutes from Panvel to Andheri. “My journey takes over an hour-and-half daily, so having someone to share our joys and sorrows with acts as a real stress-buster,” Singh adds.

For a budding entrepreneur, a train compartment is the best ground to test and hone her skills. Before she launched her readymade snacks business, catering graduate Shloka Kamath would ask her friends in the train to taste her products. “It helped immensely as each of them was honest with their feedback and genuinely wanted to help out. I tweaked my recipes, based on their suggestions, before starting out professionally,” she says.

HR executive Pranali Salvi and her group of friends on Central Railway organize short picnics every few months. The only condition is that no family members are allowed to tag along. “It’s a great break from our routine. Recently, we had been to Lonavla where someone in our group owns a property,” she said.

Then there are groups formed within groups. “Only those very close to you can point out that you have put on weight or are overdressed; not everyone in a group can get away with saying whatever they feel like. We have our share of nasty fights as well. There will always be somebody who doesn’t want to occupy the fourth seat. But there are also others in the group who will calm you down when you’ve lost your temper,” says Phatarphekar.



The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://indianrlys.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/microcosm-called-train-group/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: