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Life lessons from a Mumbai local train

By Chitra Govindan
Last updated on: April 05, 2019 14:08 IST
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We'd asked you, dear readers to tell us what is the one life lesson you would want to share.

Chitra Govindan shares a heart-warming incident that taught her an important lesson in life. You can share yours too!

IMAGE: A morning rush hour scene at Churchgate railway station in Mumbai. Photograph: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

My story is set in the bustling metropolis of Mumbai –- then still known as Bombay. The year was around 1997-98.

The suburban trains (better known as the Mumbai local) were as usual packed to bursting, with people travelling home after a hard day's work.

I too was waiting on the platform for my train home from college.

There was the usual melee of sounds, smells and sights that one gets to experience only on a Mumbai suburban train platform.

There were many people around me -- young and old; but my eyes were drawn towards a group of school kids waiting for the same train.

The children were in their school uniforms, their backs bent under the weight of their school bags; a group of six or seven boys and girls all in the age group of 12 to 13.

The train seemed to be taking an unusually long time to arrive and people were beginning to get restless.

However, the group of kids seemed oblivious to the delay.

They were very animatedly conversing with each other and appeared to be glad to have those extra few minutes to themselves.

I say animated because they were literally animated. It dawned on me by their gestures and expressions that they all were both deaf and mute.

The conversation they were having was however in no way mute. They seemed to be laughing at something one of them had just said or rather signed.

It was then that I realised that I wasn't the only one watching them. Almost everyone on the platform was enthralled by the group.

We were the ones who were tired and irritated by the daily grind and delay. They were simply enjoying life as it happened.

There was an announcement about the delayed train made on the public address system and slowly the crowd started to move away and out of the platform.

I couldn't understand what was said and continued to wait there.

All of a sudden, one of the boys in the group came up to me, took my hand and through signs conveyed to me that the train wouldn't arrive on that platform.

He insisted that I go with them to the announced platform and wait for the train. I smiled and followed.

The train arrived and jostling through the crowds we managed to get in.

The children kept up their excited banter throughout the journey and waved to me before they got off at their stop.

That was the last I saw of those kids, but the memory has stayed with me even after 20 years.

You see, a group of school children deprived of the power to speak and hear had taught me a very important lesson.

Life is too beautiful to be wasted on minor irritants and worries. There is no space for bitterness or pity.

Never take anything for granted. Laugh, smile and enjoy every moment you have with the people you love.

What better place to teach you one of life's lessons than a Mumbai local.

Write in to with 'A life lesson I'd like to share' in the subject line and share your responses along with your NAME, AGE and the place where you LIVE.

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Chitra Govindan
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