Dil Local: Audio book tells heartfelt tales of Mumbai's local train commuters

Updated: 22 November, 2020 12:58 IST | Aastha Atray Banan | Mumbai

Hindi writers, Divya Prakash Dubey and Rakesh Kayasth, spin romantic, and sometimes melancholic tale, about commuters on the Mumbai local

It's not possible to travel on a Mumbai local and not get caught up in the personal drama of strangers. The girl fighting with her boyfriend, the man trying to placate his angry wife, the worried uncle who keeps doing his accounts, the aunty who cribs about her daughter-in-law, and the well-meaning but irritating colleague who offers love advice—the local carries various personalities with various problems. It's these emotions and anecdotes that have found their way to Audible's show, Dil Local, conceptualised and narrated by writer Divya Prakash Dubey and written by Rakesh Kayasth.

The episode we heard was about Chitra, who boards the train after telling her lover Sameer, that he better marry her quickly, or she will have to hitch up with the son of one of the aunties who travel with her daily. It is heartwarming, soothing, and makes you emotional—especially at a time when most of us are curiously missing the familiarity of the local. Kayasth, known for his satirical novels like Pakodari Ke Pakode, says, "I moved to Mumbai from Delhi in 2012, and started using the local train on Sundays to get a glimpse of Mumbai; that was the beginning of my affair with the local. Then, I started using the local four days in a week, following some characters, observing them quietly, sometimes trying to talk to them to get their story and even visiting their home if they'd allow it. When his friend, Dubey, the author of books like Masala Chai and Musafir Cafe learnt of these stories, he and Kayasth decided to make them more accessible. "The travellers embody the spirit of Mumbai. If they have to take the train, they have to—they have that hustle… they won't give up. For us, the characters, however ordinary they may be, will have a heroic or dramatic moment in their lives. And that's our lens."

Kayasth says, "I got to know a regular on the Virar-Churchgate. Ramji Rai (name changed) lives in one-room accommodation in Virar. His wife passed away and he has a son, who married recently. Since it's impractical to live with a newly married couple in one room, Rai leaves home every morning with his breakfast, lunch and tea packed by his daughter-in-law. The local train is his home for the rest of the day. He has made a lot of friends, with whom he plays cards, spends time reading magazines and even takes a nap before returning home late evening."

Finally, it's all about telling the story of the resilience of Mumbai. "The show, and the city, teach you to get up and go even if you fall. Don't take 'tension'," says Dubey.

What: Dil Local
Cost: Free (for members)
Where: audible.in

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First Published: 22 November, 2020 09:13 IST

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