I am one of the lucky ones in Mumbai to have a car so that I don't have to travel to work by train. However, since the train is probably the fastest mode of transport within Mumbai, I still give it a go once or twice a week.
Below are a few musings that I have come across while commuting on the train which I believe are quite important life lessons to remember and implement into our daily lives as an entrepreneur and/or entrepreneur in the making (as it is in my case).
Life Lesson No 1: The train stops long enough for everyone
Whenever I have waited on a platform, the thing I find quite intriguing is how all the passengers psyche themselves up, get their bags close to them and put on an aggressive 'ready to push my way into the train' mask.
Everyone pushes and shoves while the train is still slowing down and what often happens is that there will be 2 people who get so involved in the fight that they both don't get into the train.
Lesson: The train stops long enough - real life opportunities will last long enough - yes you should know when to put your 'game' face on and get in but if you get caught up in the trivial details or start petty fights with your competition for example, both of you will end up behind.
Instead, why not give a helping hand and if not today, the favour will be returned to you tomorrow.
Life Lesson No 2: Just because you have a seat doesn't mean it is the right one
So you pushed and shoved, or waited patiently or jumped into a running train and you now have a seat. But as soon as you catch your breath, you realise that you are now sitting on the side where the sun is baking your thighs or there is such less wind that you may just die of suffocation.
You sit there longingly thinking of the 'other' seat you should have caught or how you should never have moved away from the original place where you were standing
Lesson: Don't sit there wasting away, thinking of how good things were or how good they could have been. Take action, do something and resolve it. Yes, you took the right step in going in for the opportunity.
So what, if it did not turn out like you thought it would be - no one is holding you down. Simply get up and look again or keep trying. Sitting there and suffering or by giving evil eyes to the person sitting on your 'dream' seat is going to get you nowhere
Life Lesson No 3: If you hang out of the train and you fall, it's no ones fault but yours
Many times I have noticed that the train may be completely empty and in some cases (gasp!) there may even be seats empty but some idiots will continue to hang on the side of the train, often just holding on to 1 pole while having their other hand/body parts hanging outside - busy texting or doing something else.
On most days, I also read stories about x number of people getting injured as they were hanging out of the train. I can't help but think of those careless people then.
Lesson: If you want to take risks that are unnecessary, when you get burnt there is no one else to blame but you. Taking risks is good, go on jump into that crowded train and squeeze a place for you but don't be careless/take high risks and then find someone else to blame i.e. the train was too fast, there was too much rain on the footboard so I slipped, someone threw stones at me so I got hurt etc - no one asked you to stand there!
Life Lesson No 4: When it get's too crowded or too scary, just hang on!
Something that I have always appreciated is the way commuters help each other out. No matter how crowded it is, someone will try and make a few inches of space for you to stand.
However, even when they do that, in some cases it is just too crowded and you feel like you will be suffocated or be thrown out of the train. At those times, just hold tight and hang on - your destination is likely only a few more minutes of discomfort away
Lesson: Pretty much everything worth having involves having to step out of your comfort zone. You grow by putting yourself in uncomfortable situations much faster than by going to any university.
Take the challenge, put yourself up for examination, let people poke holes into your theories - just hang on tight and hold with a smile. At such times, it helps to be grateful for being on this train rather than complaining about how crowded it is.
LIfe Lesson No 5: To get anywhere though, you must board the train
Don't think this one needs much explanation - do get anywhere or achieve anything you must board the train. Be prepared to get into fights, catch the wrong seat, be helped by strangers, feel anxious or suffocated - these are all little things which you will completely forget once you have reached your destination safe and sound
Lesson: Be a Rodinhood. Think. Do. Rethink. ReDo.
These are just a few things that I have noticed while commuting - would love to hear your thoughts as well.
perzen - i'm floored. this is a very very very nice post.
don't feel like spoiling it with a long comment.
i loved every bit. but the "dream seat" part is something most of us will relate to. there is no "dream seat" - no matter how hard you try looking for it! i guess you just have to believe that the seat you chose, grabbed, seized, chanced upon... is your "dream seat"!
keep writing perzen. you have a gift!
Absolutely loved it, Perzen! Especially the part of being 'grateful for being on this train rather than complaining about how crowded it is'.
Thanks Pratibha for your words. I am a huge believer of positive thinking and being grateful for all the small opportunities that come our way and hence that line of thought :)
Perzen...Enjoyed Thoroughly reading it and one can relate to it completely.
Its really amazing how we can totally ignore an Important issue some times and at the same time learn from the most Unrelated/Routine incidents.
One more Lesson that one learns in train is from the Commuters. I Love watching and noticing fellow commuters and try to unearth "Ki inke dimaag mein kya chal raha hai".
Almost every time...I have managed to strike a conversation, however short it may be.
And it has helped me realise every one has is own share of Joys and Sorrows and their own way of Handling it.
Everyone has a Story to Share...and they are willing to tell you.....Bas Poochne ki der hain.
Im sure, Tomorrow when most of the readers will be Commuting through the Train....They would recall your Experiences and Lessons Attached with it.
Thanks for your comments. Completely agree about the fact that everyone has a story to share. Often we feel that oh we are the only ones that have this issue but all it takes is speaking up and you will find 10 other that have the same problems and together it can be resolved - much like this amazing platform :D
Great article Perzen. My only disagreement is the below points
Even though train waits for everyone, not everyone books tickets in advance. Hence they have to find seats in non reserved compartments where first come first serve rules. :)
real life opportunities will last long enough
Again this is very subjective. How do you know you should wait for this much time? It's better to strive to grab the opportunity at the latest.
Keep writing. Great stuff!
Thanks for your observation. My reflections were based more on a daily train commute in a local train where you don't actually book seats etc. I guess the point I was trying to make here is that while waiting for the right opportunity is subjective, it pays to take the time to evaluate all your options and then jump in. I am a great believer in Carpe Diem though so point taken :)
Super. Really made me put on the thinking cap. Amazing comparison
Thanks so much Rajan - appreciate your kind words :)
Thoughts are very well calculated & written just the way they are..
This article inspires me to write down something... Great Perzen. ;)
Thanks so much for your kind words. The best way to start writing is to actually start I have found. Don't get intimidated by the blank piece of paper!
To get anywhere though, you must board the train
loved this , really nice post.