Anyone who has lived in Mumbai must have travelled at least once by the city’s lifeline, the Mumbai local train (formally called as Mumbai Suburban Railway). Over the years, different governments have worked towards improving the appearance of the stations. But it has become a stereotype that anything that is made by the government has plain and boring looks. Thanks to the creativity of the some people who colour these stations red (you know how, right?), so much so that no one would want to be there for more than few minutes. And while I sound more pessimistic, there are few folks who think it doesn’t have to be these way forever and can be changed.
Yesterday while I was returning home after a tiresome day at the office, I noticed something very interesting. As soon as my train reached the last stop, Borivali, at around 11 pm, I was looking to quickly cross the bridge and get a bus to home. And there on the bridge, I saw someone painting the walls of the bridge with different colours and creative strokes. A man, probably in his 40s, was painting the wall and accompanying him was a (not his) kid, maybe in 1st grade. At the 11 pm, both of them were as enthusiastic as they would be at 11 am.
Though I am a bit of an introvert but that day I decided to approach these guys and ask about their task and the reason behind it. The man, an architect by profession, had especially taken two days off from his work for this project. But he wasn’t alone. He told me there are many people all over Mumbai who make sure they contribute to the project even after they come back home after their day jobs. All of them contribute under the umbrella of Make a Difference, an NGO.
There were many of them at Borivali but I couldn’t get a group photo of them as they were busy enjoying what they were doing. I asked him whether people spit on their efforts but he was a lot more optimistic than me. He said, “If people think these paintings look good, they want these, they would surely keep them intact”. Borivali isn’t the only station which is getting this makeover. These guys have already made Khar Road and Matunga look awesome. I was lucky enough to see the Khar Road up close and it looks cheerful.
And all these folks have a great sense of colours, which play an important role in our lives. After looking at these paintings, all my stress just vanished and I knew I was ending my day on a high note, certainly.
Text and images by Swapneel Bandiwadekar, The Swap Files