To the uninitiated Dombivli is a suburb of Mumbai, 49 kms away from CST ( Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) or what was previously known as VT ( Victoria Terminus). Though is not technically a part of Mumbai ( It is a part of Thane district) Dombivli has always been considered as an integral part of Mumbai, because most of the workforce which works in the factories and staffs of companies in Mumbai come from Dombivli.
Coming to the title of the post, Local trains or the Subarban Service has been the lifeline of Mumbai since ages. Trains start at CST and proceed in various directions on the Central Line of the Subarban Service. There also happens to be Western Line which is from Churchgate to Virar and a Harbour Line which runs from CST to Vashi and beyond. Most of the important ( read as towns with big populations) stations have four Platforms for four lines. Two of those lines are slow lines on which trains stop at all stations and the rest of the two are for fast trains on which trains skip certain stations and stop at only important ones. Therefore the title of the post Dombivli Slow which means a train originating at CST and stopping at all stations before arriving at my home town. Like the trains which stops and picks up and drops passengers at all stations. My post will be about memories gathered over a period of time.
The Dombivli which I will be talking about in my post will be period from 1969-1995.
The Dombivli which I will be talking about was a hick town in late 60's which was a small town occupied by middle class working community and the Agri's ( early settlers who were predominantly in the fishing business). The middle class were driven into this town by rising real estate prices in the city. They were hard working people who at the end of the day wanted a roof above their heads and also wanted to be near to the city. It was a town which was predominantly Maharashtrian until the expats arrived ( I'm a tamilian by birth). Today the same town has a equal population of Maharashtrians, Gujratis, Tamils, Malayalis, Bohris, Bengalis, etc.............. It has become a cosmopolitan town with a huge population of around 15 lakhs ( 1.5 million). It has also the unique record of never being affected by any of the riots and religous disturbances which have torn apart Mumbai from time to time.
The Dombivli which I will be talking about was a hick town where I could see a place around 2 kms away from the terrace of my 1 floor building. Today the same town has buildings cheek by jowl and in some cases where you can jump into the balcony of the house in the opposite building from yours and the only thing which you can see from the fourth floor nowadays is the person in the opposite building 2-3 metres away going about his lawful ( and also unmentionable) activites in the peace of his home.
The Dombivli which I will be talking about was a hick town where there was a lot of open spaces before the concrete jungle took shape. There was a lot of flora and fauna to be explored though not of the rain forest variety.
The Dombivli which I will be talking about was a hick town where my mother used to send me to buy Masala ( a combination of a coconut piece, green chillies, ginger, curry leaves and kothimir) or assorted grocery items to the shop which was 1/2 a km away without worrying whether I would be molested or get run over by a speeding vehicle.
The Dombivli which I will be talking about was a hick town which consisted of Chawls with open door policy where you spent more time at other peoples home than yours.
The Dombivli which I will be talking about was a hick town which consisted of 4-5 schools out which only two were English medium and going to a English Medium school was considered as something great.
The Dombivli which I will be talking about was a hick town which consisted of 2-3 private hospitals with minimal facilities. If you had any major medical problem you had to rush to Mumbai for the treatment.
The Dombivli which I will be talking about was a hick town with 4-5 temples and where most of the population was concentrated around 3 square kms from the station.
I will be writing in more detail about my childhood days and experiences from the next post. Hope all of you find it enjoyable.