18 Oct 2010

Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT)

Where to start
when you land in Mumbai
with only a shirt on your back.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

- Emma Lazarus - 1883

The dirty platforms of Lokamanya Tilak Terminus or Kurla. That's where a majority of hundreds of thousands of people, mostly youngsters, from the caste and poverty ridden parts of the country first set foot on the island of Brihan Mumbai. The promise is that you will never go hungry in Mumbai and the possibilities, endless. The truth is that you will most probably end up living in the dirtiest slums on this planet but the sweet smell of freedom this city offers will make up for the centuries old status-quo on the suffocating mainland.

Gateway of Mumbai.

A "Missing" poster with a picture of a young girl from New Delhi and an instant job offer greets the new Mumbaikar at the railway station. For a new arrival without education, the following job would look the most appetizing, a job in a hotel (restaurant).

For some, there's one more option. To them, the Island is a springboard to jobs across the Arabian Sea in the oil-rich middle-east. And a majority of them make Mumbai their home while they make the crossing.

Unlike getting off at the majestic Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Kurla Terminus is a very dreary place to start off. But the smell from the open drains close by, is probably a better welcome message.


SUR NOTES said...

hey, this is a wonderful series of photographs.

SloganMurugan said...

Thank you

Indian Bazaars said...

Nice post!

Anu said...

Good ones! LTT is probably the dirtiest station in bbay! this is the only one where it is almost impossible to get a platform ticket, because the queue merges with the other ticket counters... i end up arguing with the station master every time i go there.... becos i have stopped buying a platform ticket :) and u should see the crowd waiting for the general tickets... will offer u unlimited photo ops...esp at night when the gorakhpur train is about to leave!

Curry Spice said...

Hey MSG- Really well written and photographed. Curious why you went Blk and white on these?

wandering soul said...

very good series and observation.

Kamini said...

Such a poignant post. Anybody who has left home to seek his fortunes elsewhere can relate.

bythewindowsill said...

lovely post, lovely words.

the poem was awesome. 1883! was it written for mumbai??

the book is definitely coming soon.

Priyank said...

I hate LTT and didn't get its logic for a while. But I guess it introduces newcomers to the hardships of the city instantly. The trains from north will stop at Kalyan first, so such signs are pretty common there as well. Does the language of these advertisements indicate a trend?

btw, I loved the first picture!

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