Thursday, November 22, 2007

Walk the extra mile..

Total Words: 476 Reading Time: 2 mins 39 secs

It all starts with the train slowing down well before the Borivali station, which gives the slightest of indications that the train might eventually land up on the Platform No. 8 at Borivali. The faces of the people traveling from the past one hour and having being at work whole day, start showing that irritating nature but actually cant do anything about it.

Borivali being the last stop on the Western line, is the destination for most of the commuters travelling all the way from Churchgate, which is a commercial hub and also the start point of the local train services. Now, when I say Platform No.8, you might be imagining all platforms to be parallel to each other, but eventually they are not. Initially, Borivali had total of 6 stations from years, and due to which all transport services concentrate around these stations. Due to some great planning by the Railway authorities, the 1st platform is extended to accommodate the 7th and the 8th platform. So actually saying, to reach the 8th platform, get down on the 1st platform and then walk towards the 8th, passing the 7th platform on your way.

Lets just see how much you need to walk to get back to the 1st platform, if the train unluckily drops you at the 8th platform..
Assume you are in the 8th wagon from the motorman (its the first class compartment, which I generally end up in)....
Your train length towards the 1st platform = 11 x 8 = 88 mts (an EMU is said to be about 10.5-11 mts long)
The safety distance between 2 platforms.. = assume to be around 25-30 mts..
Another 7th platform = 12 x 11 = 121 mts

Thats make the total distance.. oh ya.. hey wait.. we are still at the start of the 1st platform.. thers nothin there.. most of the transport is in the middle of 1st platform.. so add another = 30 + 60 mts = 90 mts

Now the total comes to = 330 mts.. Hmm.. quite a big number, if you are working the whole day and waiting for some good food to be served to you..
Also, these 2 platforms have only 1 exit on the west side, so 90 % people walk their way to the 1st platform..
And if both the platforms have trains dropping in the commuters consecutively, you not just cannot imagine the block that is formed at the entry of the 1st platform.. It more takes form of a rally with thousands of 'em participating.. You easily tend to lose on some minutes just waiting to get your chance of passing through the traffic jam..
Just waiting for the authorities to provide the commuters with some solution... But is it that scheduled in the near future or still waiting to get some more passengers... ???

<--- Bumper to bumper at 2100 hrs on the 7th Platform

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Trip to Matheran..

Words: 928 Reading Time: 3 mins 55 secs

Its always a happy mode when a student finishes his week long of tense exams and what could be more relieving than a trip plan to Matheran.. the heaven situated just 100 kms from Mumbai.
We, students at our college, decided to go for a trip after which all of them will go for one more stint in the corporate lives with an internship in respective companies. Matheran seemed to be the closest and best option we ought to choose.

Matheran, situated at 803 mt. above sea level is probably the only place, besides Venice in Italy from having banned the use of Motor vehicles in its permissible limits. This keeps Matheran absolutely free from pollution and well situated within dark green forests. Matheran was discovered in 1850s by the Britishers. The USP, as said in marketing terms of Matheran, is the Narrow Gauge (2.0 Ft wide) train popularly known as Toy Train, which was built by Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy in 1907 covers a distance of 20 Kms and consumes upto 1 hr 45 mins, taking you through the busy Mumbai - Pune route station Neral to the Forest engulfed Matheran.
The 3 hrs wait for taking that train to Matheran were spent by us lazily on Nerul Station in anticipation of the trip which would be attached with many memories. The train was pulled up on the station well before time which gave us ample time to snap memories in our camera.

The train has only 4 coaches and the charges are well below the normal taxi charge. The train finally chugged out of the station at the mentioned time with the driver and guard flurring the green flags.. the length of the train helps you clearly watch both the flags. The Train signaling system has still the old traditional manual systems and have been maintained over the years. It exchanges a ring which signals its arrival at 2 stations which it passes before reaching its destination. The train starts slowly climbing the hills, circling almost all the range surrounding Matheran. Beautiful scenes, the swirling track, the deep valleys and the some prevalent springs all mesmerize the 2 hrs journey to the top.

By the time we reached atop, it was almost dinner time and Matheran does not have much options but only an area where the restaurants are available,also eventually the only area where you get the mobile network. We directly stepped into the quite famous Khan's Hookahs and Tikkas restaurant. The only decent hotel, has a good ambience filled with fountains, cushions and music playing in the background. A hookah was ordered without any inspection of the menu card, the rest main course decision was a brain storming session with everybody's hungry stomachs affecting the decision making.

After a good and filling dinner, it was time for a walk back to the resort where bookings were already made by a batch of us who had arrived earlier in the day trekking all their way to the top, about 9 kms from Nerul station. A small visit in the dark jungle was amazing at that time, we were on our way to Khandala point, till the time everyone finished with their dinner. The only thing visible at that point, after all torches were turned off, was the moon that very well shined and no hindrances of pollution affecting its shining brightness.

In the next half an hour, we found ourselves in the resort looking and arranging for the rooms. The resort had a in house disco, and yes we were out there shaking a leg to the music. The DJ went on well till 11 in the night, as the resort was quite isolated to be heard by anyone.

The night was long with games like dumb charades and cards and alive with discussions for plan of the next day which would be eventually the last day in Matheran. The next morning started with a good hot water bath and good games of Carrom and Table tennis at the resort provided facilities, follow
ed by a good tea. The post tea saw us trekking our way to some of the points like Echo Point, Charlotte Lake and missing out on points like One tree hill, Panorama point.

Matheran is filled with monkeys all around trying to snatch anything and everything they can eat, one will find monkeys roaming around like dogs do in the cities. A strange but funny incident happened when a monkey snatched a bag from one of our colleague's hands and ran away, but few of our brave guys followed it, finally the monkey climbed atop a tree with only taking one biscuit packet out of the 4-5 packets in that bag. The bag was safe and sound back with the owner. The remaining tour still remained incident-free.

The way back was kicked off after a lunch at some place in the market area, the food being pathetic my memory gives way for remembering its name. A filled stomach and Blurring noon sun, we were off to the Dasturi check point to catch a taxi back to the Nerul Station. We just missed a local train back to Mumbai by 3 -4 minutes and had to wait for another hour for the next train.

The journey back was filled with memories from the trip and incidents that occurred on the trip. This trip would certainly be at the back of our minds when we return back to our life in the corporate world and rejoice the memories when we would miss each other !!!

To reach Matheran: (From Mumbai)
  • By Road: Take the Mumbai-Nashik Highway and turn the diversion for Nerul which lies about 100 km off Mumbai.
  • By Rail: Board a local train from Dadar to Karjat or Khopoli, get down at Nerul Station after Ambernath .. take a cab to Matheran or the toy trains exclusive services
    • Cab Fare: Rs 60 - 100 depending upon the day.. generally Maruti Vans etc..
    • Toy train Fare : Rs 32 - General Class / Rs 170 - First Class