Mumbai. A recent study carried out by an NGO working on mental health issues has found that commuters traveling during peak hours in Mumbai local trains are much happier and enthusiastic on reaching home than their counterparts who travel in modes of transport meant for human beings like private vehicles.
In a study comprising of detailed interviews of nearly 500 persons about how they feel when they reach home after work, it was found that the nearly 350 commuters who reached home in a crowded trains were full of energy. The 150 others who did not have to fight for their life to reach home were found to be tired, frustrated and cribbing about office politics.
A researcher said, “The irony is we were doing this study to further our research topic about the negative impact of traveling in such crowded trains. However, the results of our study were so contradictory, that it convinced us to also start traveling in locals to see what we were missing out on.”
He added, “During the course of our train travels, we found that 6 in 10 persons fought during the return journey home. The reason for the fights ranged from ‘your hair is touching mine’, to ‘why do you carry a bag’. We observed that these silly issues would then snowball into full fledged fights.”
The researcher added, “Now the ferocity with which these fights took place, convinced us that it was not anger at the incident per se, but a lot of pent up anger that was being vented out. Sometimes commuters during a course of a fight would start taking the names of random people and abuse them. Once, a commuter while shouting at a stranger who had nudged him in the train, started blaming him for stalling his promotion for the second time in that year. He later hugged the stranger and started crying like a baby.”
The researcher further said, “While the person is shouting and fighting manically in the train, once he gets down at the platform, he appears calm and serene. All the frustration had been taken care off in the train. He goes home a happy man. As against this, those travelling in cars and bikes still have all the pent up frustrations in their heads that then negatively impacts their family life.”
Fortunately for Mumbaikars, there are newer people coming to the city who do not know the ‘rules’ of traveling in trains and are the sitting ducks for the commuter wrath. The study found that on an average every compartment has at least three such people who do not know the rules of travel and end up bearing the brunt of the failed relationships and poor appraisals of their fellow commuters.
A city based psychiatrist who comments on everything from psychology to the war in Iraq said, “The proper term for this is catharsis. We have realized that the rush hour train travel has a cathartic influence on the commuters. It should be called a 12-coached counseling room. In fact I have started recommending peak hour travelling to several of my patients who find it difficult to vent out unpleasant feelings. Some react in the first train trip itself, while some have to travel for months to heal themselves completely.”