My blood is done boiling and has evaporated from the sheer sense of giving up. My feet are tired of playing kabaddi on the streets. My neck and shoulders are aching with the rocking twists I just pulled several times. And most of all, I want to kick the person who walks in front of me because sometimes, there’s a limit on how much you can dodge a Mumbai walker.
Have you ever heard of road rage? It’s usually referred to drivers who become all red-eyed with hell’s fury because of the mistake…or not… of another driver. But I believe this road rage should also be extended to the walkers on the crowded streets of Mumbai. We basically don’t care about how we walk. It’s a shame really!
In the many years of walking the Mumbai streets, I’ve noticed thirteen types of people (yes, 13!) a.k.a walkers that walk the crowded streets of Mumbai.
With this, I hope my message is passed across to make people aware of how it’s their fault when they step out onto the streets to WALK.
The first walker – The ‘Married-To-Their-Mobiles’ Walker
These are the people that walk while their heads are dipped into their mobiles. They don’t realise their slow pace. And as their feet get heavier, some would say that such walkers really don’t care about their pace in the crowd.
I bet their attention wouldn’t sway even if a building fell to the ground. If their mobiles had fingers, it would have a wedding ring!
Word of Advice – Be more considerate about the people walking around you. They just may have priorities more important that yours. Or park your slow feet at the side so others can get on with where they want to go.
The second walker – ‘The Music Lover’ Walkers –
So you’ve got awesome music in your mobile, so does everyone else. Apart from the fact that I am a music lover too, there is a slight difference – I am aware of what’s going on around me. But those who have music plugged into their ears need to understand one thing – You could be putting someone’s life in danger – could be your own.
Word of Realization – The road is not yours alone.
The third walker – The ‘I’m-In-Love’ Walker – I once told a person on the side of the road, “Why are you walking if you don’t know how to walk?” And I walked away trying to dodge the fifty other people who were just like him. I imagine running over them with a tractor. I bet the tractor will be faster than them.
These people walk as though ‘I / We’ have all the time in the world, to watch them dream.
Word of Advice – Stop walking!
The fourth walker – The ‘Aerobics Wanna-Be’ Walker – Aerobics have people swinging their arms up in the air within a wide range of space but some people take it to the roads literally. There are some women and men who walk with their hands not moving back and forth but 45 degrees to the sides. I don’t know why but that’s what they do and so I need to find a way to let their sweaty hands NOT touch me when I pass by them.
All I need to say is ‘Excuse Me’ and what they need to do is move aside a bit but when they don’t understand polite words then I do what every normal person would do, I use my bag to shove them aside so that they look at me and wonder why I did what I did.
Word of Advice – Learn Hand-Eye coordination and quit repeating that Hero entrance walk
The fifth walker – The ‘Confused Middle’ Walker – No matter which track they walk in, they slip into the middle. Not on the right, not on the left but in the middle. And they top the cherry on the cake by walking slowly. Why? I don’t know.
Word of Advice – If you’re not fat and you know your brain functions properly, choose a side and stick to it.
The sixth walker – The ‘Guest Appearance’ Walker – These types of walkers love to make their presence known. They’re the ones who suddenly realise that they want to go somewhere, even if it just means nowhere at all. So they appear from nowhere in front of you and start walking at their own decided pace. Let me repeat, they appear from nowhere, jump into your way and walk in their own decided pace.
What’s happening in my mind – My foot meets the guest
The seventh walker – ‘Feet stamping’ Walker – These types of walkers show up on the day I put on my new shoes or make the timeless effort of polishing them. They are somehow unable to touch the road without stepping onto my feet first. In a crowded place, I would give that margin of doubt but there are times when they simply loose foot and eye coordination.
Word of advice – Apologize!
The eight walker – ‘Gaining On Me’ Walker – These types of people I find almost everywhere. And when I mean everywhere, they’re everywhere behind me. The moment I slow down a bit because the crowd ahead slowed down, that’s the time someone behind me is breathing down my neck. It’s not their fault; they’re not wired with the ‘slow down’ button in their brains.
When I get slower in my speed, the monster breathing down my neck is slightly ‘unintentionally’ touching me with their body. They don’t even realise that they’re being annoying. The EVER-READY battery in them keeps them going and they just don’t stop until I give them way to move ahead.
What I do when this happens – I give them the stink eye and let them pass through letting them know what a pain they are to society.
The ninth walker – The ‘Twist & Turn’ Walker – This walker is known as the twist and turn walker because (drum roll) they take abrupt turns to the left or to the right. These crazy twisters stop me in my tracks and I bump into them. That’s embarrassing because then I look stupid for not noticing the impulsive ‘I am a disco dancer’ within them.
What I do when this happens – Due to sheer annoyance and out-of-control BP, I’d have to walk away before I kung-fu them into oblivion.
The tenth walker – The ‘Sleep’ Walker – I’d walk with the walking dead any day because sleep walkers are among the most deadliest of walkers and they rank higher above the walking dead. If they happen to walk in front of me then it’s the worst because somehow it’s difficult to overtake them.
If you’ve ever watched the scene when Mr. Bean tried to overtake the old couple down the stairway, then you’ve been in my shoes. What’s noteworthy is that I wouldn’t mind if the person in front of me was old or handicapped. However, these walkers are as I mentioned before, stable and quite able to sprint and run but they don’t do so and I can’t figure out why.
Word of Advice – Wake Up!
The eleventh walker – The ‘Speed Breaker’ Walker – I’m walking gizmo speed and can’t wait to get home. I dodge every walker, I overtake every aerobic wanna-be and jive through every pot hole on the street but then suddenly out of nowhere there comes the deadly, most dreaded walker of all, the ‘Speed Breaker’. These people are the cunning ones because I don’t know what’s going on in their minds. They walk, they stop, they start walking again and stop again right in front of me until I finally bump into them and it’s love at first sight, not really no.
What I would do here – Absolutely nothing. There’s nothing I can do unless I decide to confront them which would mean 10 minutes of my precious time wasted.
The Twelfth walker – The ‘Couple / BFFs’ Walker – Could be a couple walking hand-in-hand or friends depicting the Sholay scene. They’ll walk together and make sure they block my way because well, they’re just too busy to notice me gaining on them like a road runner.
And the moment, I repeat, the moment I break their physical bonding by passing through the middle, they’d glare at me as though I tried to steal their partners or best friends.
Word of Advice – Get over yourselves!
The Thirteenth walker – The ‘Luggage Carrier’ Walker – Bags or purses are needed and who better than I to know that. I understand that in crowded streets, bags (the bigger they are) are tough to handle and I appreciate those who carry them.
However, there are some walkers who don’t carry their bags the way they should. They don’t keep their bags to themselves and they don’t even care how hurtful their bags can be when they brush it past the people who walk by in the limited space available. I believe these types of walkers would be terrible with umbrellas during the monsoons, when they are most likely to poke their umbrellas into my eyes.
Word of Advice – I’m not responsible for ‘accidental’ harm to your belongings
At the end of the day, Mumbai is a busy city and people have busy lives. Let’s make this city a better place to walk in, so that peace prevails before I kill someone. And that wouldn’t be my fault.