Believe it or not, in spite of me staying in Bombay all through my growing years, I have hardly sat in a local train ( could count on my fingers), and even if I did sometimes, it was never alone. Not just local trains, I never sat in a BST Bus even. Though, when I first shifted to Bombay, I always wanted to try the double decker bus!
Wait, hold on your horses! Before you think that I am some spoilt child of my parents, the reason is something else. In Bombay, the best way to travel is local trains, both in terms of money and time. But the reason, I hardly took a local train, is that right from my high school, graduation to my MBA, all my colleges were near to my home. So all I had to do was get down, take a rickshaw ride and travel to my destination. And whenever I had to travel for some other purpose, my parents preferred me to take the car. The reason being, they feared I might lose my cell phone, purse, or something valuable on my way. They had a point since in past I had already lost eight mobile phones ( I know you’re thinking how irresponsible I am), but to pacify myself, I used to think maybe someone else needed it more. 😉 Anyways, the point is my parents never trusted that I would be able to take care of myself or my belongings while travelling alone. Hell, I never sat in the Bombay Metro even. Though, if I have, to be honest, I am not really fond of the local trains because of all the crowd you get in there. But would like to appreciate so many people, who travel by it every day and have attuned themselves to the hardships.
Now, I am in Delhi and I knew if I had to make my travel quick and cheap ( mind you, the traffic here is also worse), I had no option but to hop on the metro train. I remember, on the first day, I was excited like a child to take a metro to a rather famous mall in Delhi, called as the Select City Walk. Since it was a Saturday, there wasn’t any rush and the whole travel seemed easy-peasy! Moreover, I had a friend along, who knew much more about the metro trains and the whole thing turned out to be fun. I was very happy! The second time, I hopped on a metro train was a week back. This time, my destination was Connaught Place and I was travelling alone. My another friend was to join me from Delhi. I was looking forward to it and kept checking for my phone, purse and so on. The train even got derailed at a station, I remained calm asked few people for the right platform to board the right train and reached my destination safe and sound. I was feeling like Rapunzel, a beautiful tower-bound teen, who yearns to see the world, and finally, escapes the isolated tower. Only here, the isolated tower was my fear and the comfortable shell!
When I came back home, I was proud of myself. Not only, I started travelling alone in public transports, but also became responsible for my belongings and felt a deep sense of confidence and Independency. As mentioned earlier, I have always lived a sheltered life and it’s nice to come out from the shell and be your own caretaker. Finally, I was growing up in other senses too! Now, when I go back to Bombay, I can finally tell my parents to relax and not worry, the next time I decide to take a local train (though I don’t mind the occasional pampering by providing a car and driver :p ).
Everyday is a step away from my comfort zone. And the rewards are worth it!