Riding trains in Bombay is a unique experience. Just yesterday, I felt a surge of pride when I obtained my favourite spot after a minor clash of wills with one of the other contenders.
To non worshippers of the wind god, this favoured spot Im talking about is the front edge of the door in each coach (for convenience sake I call this the vanguard). Theres another which is the back edge of the door (rearguard). An average of 5 people can stand comfortably at the door but these two spots are particularly preferred since once there you cant be dislodged. On a bad day as many as 7-8 people will squeeze into this narrow corridor that receives fresh air in a regular local. The disadvantage for these poor blighters is that they need to keep getting off as people enter or exit at stations. But you stand in the 2 magic spots and you are protected. Of course veterans of the daily battles within each coach know the necessary tactics to be employed which might dissuade the faint of heart, even if they have occupied these vantage points.
The first of course is the scowl and snarl tactic. Might intimidate an amateur...the correct response is to snarl back if your in the appropriate mood, ignore the snarler or infuriate him by just grinning broadly .
The most commonly used method to dislodge an adversary is the brute force attack. Fortunately the vanguard is invulnerable - I have never yet lost my spot when the competition uses brute force. For the BF can only be employed sneakily at stations during the chaos of the entrance/exit. Non-sneaky BF may result in open conflict and nobody wants that...at least they don't.
There is the creepy butt feel (countered with the toe crush) , the emotional appeal"Can I please stand there - my station's coming" countered with the power of "NO!!" and even the inadvertent Spitting Typhoon aatack (where the guy in the compartment up ahead decides to sneeze or spit and the wind blows it towards you (the only defence to that is to be 'Ever Vigilant')
And Yet there is one weapon that can drive you away...there is no defense against it....there isa select breed who walk around with this weapon..Most deadly within the compartment, it has effects even at the edges.It is called the Smelly armpit WMD. When you, dear reader see, or rather expoerience this...run far away...no spot, no matter how wonderful is worth it.
This is the first in a series of write-ups on my city. Coming up soon....how has Bombay changed since i left?