It was for the first time that I had gone away from my village in Kolhapur to the hustle and bustle of the Mumbai city. I had the dreams of having a small job to support my family in the village back home. I was the eldest son, so all the hopes of the parents rested on me. I came to Mumbai with the hope that my friend who was already staying there would help me out.
After reaching Mumbai, I went to his house. It was a cramped room where some 10 people were residing. It was kind of a lodge not a house that he used to boast about in the village. He welcomed me and took care of me for two days. And after that he expressed his inability in taking care of me further. The city was scary and strange for me. So I insisted on residing with him and offered him some money (that I had brought from home) to share his burden. He talked to his lodge owner, who after much whimpering agreed for my stay in that ghetto as well.
My friend told me that he won’t be available with me whole day in my job search. He gave me some addresses in Mumbai and told me to use the Mumbai local to go from one place to another. It was very day of mine in the Mumbai local. I was standing on the platform and waiting for the train to come. As the train came, a sea of human bodies got down from the train. I went back in order to save myself from the crushing power of that crowd. But I felt pressure on my back from back that propelled me into the bogie. It was really suffocating in the sweltering heat of Mumbai.
When I had to get down in Dadar station, I felt that some force again propelled me, I loosed my balance and fell flat on my face. Some people trampled my back and legs, some stopped and sat me up and took me in a corner. And then they also moved to their destinations.
I was alone nursing to my injuries. After sometime when the crowd dispersed, I moved to the address given by my friend. When I went for the interview, I felt that the eyes of people were making fun of my rustic style of clothing sense. Ignoring everything, I went to the interview room, I told the factory manager about my friend. He asked me some technical questions which I could not answer. I moved back to the railway station dejected.
Again I was faced with the gruesome task to face the ruthless crowd. Somehow I reach the lodge back in the evening. In the night, I was seriously feeling homesick. I started crying thinking of my parents and my sisters. I thought of going back, but the loan- stricken faces of my parents floated before me.
Again next day I went to in the search of the job and again I met with the same fate. After passing of the fifteen days, I was really crestfallen. Everyone in the lodge also started making fun of me as I used to come to the lodge bruised everyday by the local train tussle.
All embarrassment of not being able to get a job in the city and not being able to fight the crowd of the local train sapped all confidence of mine and I decided to go back to my village. I thought that I would do farming and try alleviating the loan burden of my family.
As I was about to board the bus to the Kolhapur, some voice from within me scolded me for showing my back in the testing times, for being week when my family needed me to be strong and tough. That time, I decided that I would start a new life in Mumbai and I would not show my back to the challenges of the Mumbai local.
I turned back and after a month I got a job of helper in a factory. Now it is almost a year and I have mastered the challenges of the Mumbai Local like a real Mumbaikar.