I love trains. Train stations. Train stories.

Over the years I’ve met and shared pizza with an Irish filmmaker in the New York green line. I’ve listened to supernatural war stories set in Pakistan, voiced by a 74 year old Indian man, as I bunked from New Delhi to Mumbai. Another time, I met two strangers as I tried to sleep from Mumbai to Pune. They ended up being the organizers of the famous Sunburn Festival in Goa. We ended up clubbing in Pune, their excuse to do marketing research for a prospective club they wanted to launch.

But perhaps I’ll elaborate on those train stories another time.

Today, I lined up in the Goregaon East Station to buy a ticket to Churchgate. Raptaptap on my shoulder, and when I turned around it was one of the special educators in school.

Sacha, I have a train coupon. All we have to do is punch our train ticket in the machine, and you can go to Churchgate, she explained.

She didn’t accept the eight rupee payment I wanted to shove in her hand. And her and her sister, Ami, they were kind enough to sit with me in the train. They on their way to the Mahalaxmi race track. I, on my way to St. Andrew’s.

Sorry for the fuzzy photo, Ami!

The train ride was short. The conversation pleasing. The type you don’t want to end.

Ami is a freelance commercial photographer and her college focus was on Mumbai heritage buildings. She is an expert in Mumbai architecture.

It is my last six months in Mumbai. I am hungry to explore the city, I mentioned.

We agreed to meet again. In Dhobi Ghat. In Dharavi. In Crawford Market.

 

When I got home, I typed in the url that Ami had left me. Her photos are clear. Crisp. Good composition. I can’t wait to go on photo walks with her.

But as I click the x on my web browser, I can’t help but think that this is the Mumbai I want to remember. Her with her kind and generous people, a people who love her back.

A people who are proud of their beautiful city.

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