Photographs By: Trupti Arekar
Shopping on 'wheels'
Local trains in the city of Mumbai are the arteries and veins carrying the lifeblood of the city – its people to and from their work seven days a week.
The crowd in these trains cannot be imagined - they have to be seen and experienced at peak hours to be able to have an idea of the word ‘crowd’ in its most extreme form.
The ladies compartment is a place where you can strike up a conversation with the lady in the next seat, share your life story with them, spill out all your deepest darkest problems, jointly find solutions or solace, and then when you arrive at your destination – you can go your own merry way without the slightest chance of ever meeting your confidante, your ‘psychotherapist’ ever again.
And when they are not bonding or taking psychotherapy sessions, they multitask in either shopping – for a very diverse range of products sold by roving vendors – or chopping vegetables, knitting, catching a nap even if you are standing or just enjoying the breeze that comes at you at the speed of 80kmph onto your face when you hang out of the door.
These roving vendors get on at one station, roam the compartment making sales pitches and when they have covered all the sections of the compartment and exhausted every hope of a sale, they alight at the next station and take another train. Saris, sari petticoats, hot chapatis, files, phone covers, pens, toys, cakes, fruits and vegetables are all sold in trains. Usually the items are low value consumables so that decisions do not take long.
Nothing comes close to that thrill and shopping experience on wheels!
Our photographer TRUPTI AREKAR captures the charming moments from the inside of the 'Ladies Compartments' of these suburban trains.