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Mumbaikars reveal how they like to spend their travel time

A study says the only time that people in the city get to themselves is when they travel. Mumbaikars tell us what they do during their commutes

For Ghansoli resident Sachin Pagare the 1.5 hours he spends getting to work is movie time. As he travels from his house to his workplace in Goregaon, the 29-year-old says he finishes watching half a movie, every day.

In the bustle of life, Mumbaikars are now using the time they get as they commute  wisely. Pic/Kaushik Thanekar
In the bustle of life, Mumbaikars are now using the time they get as they commute  wisely. Pic/Kaushik Thanekar

Movies and music
“I use my mobile phone to watch movies and by the time I get to work, I reach the part of the movie where the interval would be. Since, I leave at 7 am and take a bus back at 5 pm I always manage to get a seat, daily,” says Pagare.

Watching something while in the bus has become a habit for many Mumbaikars. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Watching something while in the bus has become a habit for many Mumbaikars. Pic/Bipin Kokate

If he isn’t watching a movie, Pagare is listening to music. He says, “On those odd days, that I do not manage to get a seat and have to stand, I listen to music on my MP3 player. I have more than 500 songs on my player and then when I manage to get a seat, I commence my movie sessions.”

A crowded train is the best place for many to pray with bhajan mandals singing along. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
A crowded train is the best place for many to pray with bhajan mandals singing along. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

Music too, is the dose for Mitali Mehta who takes the Mumbai Metro from her house at JB Nagar to Andheri station and then a train to her workplace at Marine Lines. She says, “My phone has music which I listen to and then there is also the FM Radio which plays all the latest songs. When I have a lot of work, I even check my emails and reply to important ones.”

Listening to music while in the metro is a way to pass time for many. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Listening to music while in the metro is a way to pass time for many. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

When her mobile phone battery is low, the media professional prefers to observe people. Mehta says, “I like observing people, so sometimes on the way back home in the train and metro I just sit or stand and see what my fellow commuters are doing.”

Prayers and some talks
Bhayander resident Arvind Rawal who takes a train to his workplace at Zaveri Bazaar prays and then chats with his friends. He says, “I have a group of six friends who travel to work at around the same time as me. We take a Churchgate fast at around 12:45 pm and first pray the Hanuman Chalisa together. After that, we discuss our work and family life.”

Sachin Pagare Arvind Rawal
Sachin Pagare and Arvind Rawal

On the way home which usually takes two hours by train, Rawal prefers to sketch pictures of people around him. He says, “In the mornings, I have my friends so we pray and talk, but in the evenings I generally go home alone. I take the train from Marine Lines at around 8 pm and get place to sit. So I take out my pencils and drawing pad and sketch people as well as the things I see around me in the train.”

Vishal Manve Deepanshu Verma
Vishal Manve and Deepanshu Verma

Jyoti Pawar, a teacher who lives at Powai and takes the train to her work place at Masjid says, “I correct my school books, test and exam papers in the train. From Kanjurmarg to Masjid takes me about an hour, so I am able to finish a lot of my school work in the train. I also prepare my lesson for the day while travelling sometimes.”

Mitali MehtaJansi KumarShweta Kadam
Mitali Mehta, Jansi Kumar, Shweta Kadam

Pawar also has a book where she writes the names of gods. She says, “I say some prayers as soon as I enter the train and write god’s names 20 times in my note book. Only after that I start my other work. Sometimes, on my way back I clean vegetables as I can save time while cooking.”

Work and some play
For Jansi Kumar who travels from Andheri to Mahape in her company bus, the two hours commute is for some work and sleep. She says, “I get up really early for work and so I generally am sleepy in the bus. The two hours ride to work is very boring with traffic jams at every signal and so I prefer to sleep.”

On days when she has a lot of work, Kumar spends the time in the bus going over her work plan. She says, “On the way back from work which ends up taking close to three hours, I prefer listening to music and thinking about general things. I go through my entire day and ponder on work strategies sometimes or think about something I’ve read or heard.”

For KC College student Deepanshu Verma, his 40 minute commute to college everyday is game time. The BMM student says, “I play ‘2048’ a puzzle game on my phone or ‘Need for Speed’ while listening to music. When my exams are near I study while travelling, whatever I study in the train often comes in the exam, so I now have a ritual of sorts to study in the train.”

When he has college presentations, Verma uses the train time to prepare points for those as well as make presentations. “I use my phone to make notes from the group presentation, so that I know what I need to say when the presentation is on. I also chat with friends and check my emails while travelling.”

Businessman Gurjeet Singh Sodhi who travels by car from Malad to Powai spends his time working on his laptop. He says, “I used to drive to work, but the traffic and time wasted got me irritated often so I hired a driver to get me to and from work. Now, I spend the time working and preparing for my presentations. I also conduct meetings with important foreign delegates via my webcam from my car while on the way to office.”

Social media fest
Vishal Manve who is pursuing his Master of Arts (MA) in English Literature uses the time he takes to travel from Tilaknagar to Elphinstone by taxi to read books. He says, “As a student of Literature, I love reading. I now don’t carry books around but instead opt for Kindle and Wattpad which are e-book readers. I also check my emails and reply to important ones.”

“I also use social media a lot while travelling. I tweet interesting happenings, share interesting pictures on Instagram. I also chat with friends on Gmail, Facebook and Whatsapp," says Manve. Aspiring photographer and student Prachi Pandya, 19 spends her time in the train from Virar to Dadar clicking pictures.

The Sociology student says, “I love clicking pictures and trains are the best place to find interesting subjects. From the fisherwomen to sellers to beggars, I am building my portfolio by clicking interesting pictures. I have purchased a professional camera and use that to click pictures. But, for social media sharing I use my tablet or phone camera. I am very active on Facebook, Twitter, Vine and Instagram; I click pictures for all these while travelling.”

Ph.D student Shweta Kadam travels from Borivali to Mulund and uses the train, metro and BEST bus. She says, “I surf Facebook and chat with my friends if they are online or check my emails while I commute. I also read a book which helps me spend the time while I travel. Sometimes, I work on my thesis and read related article on the internet.”

Like Kadam, Pratikshanagar resident Kasim Khan who travels to SEEPZ, Andheri by BEST bus says the two hour ride is his newspaper reading time. The 50-year-old who reads five English and one Urdu newspaper says, “I finish reading all the newspapers on my way to work. I get my daily dose of national, international, entertainment, sports and city news all in those two hours of commuting.”

On his way back, Khan solves all the puzzles and word games in the papers. He says, “Going back home takes the same amount of time or sometimes more. Since, I always finish reading the papers on the way to work, my return journey is all about sharpening my mind with the puzzles, sudoku and crosswords in the various newspapers.”

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