PLST: Or Why Harbour Line Oughta Be Given A Facelift In Order To Bring It To Terrorists' Notice
Dear Harkut-ul-Mujahideen/Students Islamic Movement of India/Lashkar-e-Toiba/Jaish-e-Mohammed/Hizbul Mujahideen/Al Qaeda/Double-O from Double-D's team/whomsoever-else-this-may-concern (which in a surprise twist of plot might include any of the fundamentalist fanatics of the overwhelmingly majority religion of our very secular country but I'm just gonna let that be),
You terrorists like to play around and use your toys on CR and WR, and makes me wonder - why? Guess it's 'coz it is used by countless members of the upper-middle/middle classes of the society who are either too impatient and/or impunctual to use the roads, or are plain lacking in the monetary department. I can notice how first-class compartments are the targets. It is at this point that I have a few posers for all you sadistic anti-humanity pests - What's wrong with Harbour Line? What have we ever done to you or anyone to deserve such a cold shoulder? Are we not humans? Do we not live as equal members of the society in this free land?
All but one query - the first one - are rhetorical. But there's plenty wrong with this 49km route that connects the famed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (the erstwhile Victoria Terminus - yes, I'll talk about names in some other post; it doesn't really fit in in a letter to the destroyers. I mean, what will you guys possibly do with it? Blow up the street names and landmarks at extremely crowded locations across this city, causing irreparable damage to life and property alike? What's the point - it doesn't go in accordance with your ideology. Not unless you want the streets and landmarks to be named after famous icons belonging to your respective religion. Ah. Now that might be a good enough reason.) to the last remaining specks of urbanization as one proceeds towards the hills. That's right, Panvel. And en route, we have the dock areas that appear so shady right from the time the sun starts going down, you begin to think you'd fear for you life less if you were in Chambal ki Ghaati in the company of Gabbar Singh and Bandit Queen and other such dakoos.
Contrary to the image it portrays though, there are quite a few commuters, especially in Ist class, who happen to be civilized well beyond the Paleolithic Era. So much so that they deserve to be called Cro-Magnen Homo-Sapiens, and not Homo-Erectus (this of course does not mean that they are not capable of an erection. Far from it - if you take a look at the rush at Kurla Station on a typical weekday, you'll know what I mean. And if you travel in rush-hour, especially in the general IInd class, you'll know that evolving past that particular form doesn't mean a non-majority sexual orientation can be ruled out), and hence are equally deserving of an opportunity to be bombed. As Knopfler meant (but for some reason refrained from singing), "the bomb was loaded from the start" (Romeo & Juliet). But I agree with you guys, there are a few things which need to be done before we are worthy enough. No, not the gentry, but other things. So without further ado, here's my wishlist (and I hope you'll do something about it. I dunno - maybe shove a cannonball up some CR officials' asses?):
1. Increase the frequency to a flat 3 minutes, right from 4am till 1am
Have you (the authorities, mind you sirs - would I dare say anything against you my pretties?) ever witnessed the insane rush that exists at Kurla till midnight, even when the mainline platforms are devoid of a soul? Ok, maybe not a soul but definitely a negligible number. If you have, do the next worst thing - try getting in.
PS: Sirs, this will make sure that your multiple explosives will cause damage within a short span of time thus maximising the chances of chaos.
2. Upgrade all rakes from 9-coach to 12-coach, and lengthen the platform wherever necessary.
Authorities, in order to bring down the rush further, should definitely go ahead with this. The only bottleneck should be the platform lengths, but only at a select few stations, namely, Sandhurst Road. That's it - everywhere else either the platforms are long enough, or unnecessary beautification is just screaing out to be removed for something more useful.
PS: Sirs, in addition to maximizing damage, just in case the security decides to do a search, and this's valid for the 1st one as well, it's gonna be a major headache given the increase in number. My bet is on them getting their lazy asses back to warming their benches.
3. Abolish ladies' Ist class.
Face it - CR and WR might be having so many female commuters that they not only require this but also ladies specials, but on this shady route of ours, women usually prefer taking the road to being on the same platform as lecherous dock-workers. The fall-out: the ladies' Ist class compartment is empty even during peak hours, much to the chagrin of the male Ist class commuter. IInd class ladies can have their dabba - I'm really not interested in getting up, close and personal with smelly fisherwomen in any case. But open up the Ist class.
PS: Sirs, since you anyway do your little horticultural job of planting stuff in the general Ist class dabbas, I say this, coupled with my previous point, work out rather good for you, giving you countless more target options.
4. Make alternate trains from CR (Main) and CR (Harbour) exchange at Kurla.
That's right - so we'll have a direct train link from Vashi-Dadar, or Ghatkopar-Wadala - well, you get the idea. If it can be done on the days of partial megablocks, why not all the time? And once that is done, maybe you can also make a facility for trains of CR and WR to cross over at Dadar.
PS: This will make you scratch your head a bit, but think of it in the long run - it removes all your ideological obstacles of not targetting this smallfry route, by mixing and merging it with the main CR (and if all goes well, WR as well). So, given the increased delays that are gonna be an obvious fallout of this implementation, there's a good chance that with a little luck (and when it comes to B'bay, you guys seem to have that in spades - ignore train not falling into Bhayender creek), the damage shall be done at a much more crowded and/or significant place that initially planned.
I'm not gonna be unreasonable and demand fast trains on this route - it's not feasible given the closely packed slums/ghettos/shanties/tenements. The only option would be, no - not large scale demolition, but the overhead, 2-level route. Which is gonna take forever, given this city's track record. And I'm sure you terros can't wait for it AND keep up with your targets. So that's about it, I'm done - now it's all upto you guys. Just, as a token of your appreciation, let me know whenever you plan the executions - I'll head for safer ground (I'm too young to die!),
Ibanov, Sir Rekaf
Disclaimer: Even though this article might not appeal to your funny bone, it is supposed to be taken in a light-hearted vein. Can you do that for me? So in case you've actually taken my advice and scrolled down without reading, and in case you really wanna scroll all the way back up, bear in mind that I'm no violence loving psychopath. Everything above is just a humble foray into how Harbor Line can be improved, and what might be the worst fears of the authorities that's preventing them from implementing these obvious suggestions.