If you are late for work in Bombay and reach the station just as the train is leaving the platform, you can run up to the packed compartments and you'll find many hands stretching out to grab you on board, unfolding outward from the train like petals as you run alongside you will be picked up, and some tiny space will be made for your feet on the edge of the open doorway.
The rest is up to you… and at the moment of contact they do not know if the hand that is reaching theirs belongs to a Hindu or Muslim or a Christian or Brahmin or untouchable or whether you were born in the city arrived only this morning or whether you live in Malabar Hill or Jogeshwari; whether you are from Bombay or Mumbai or New York. All they know is that you're trying to get to the city of gold, and that's enough. “Come on board,” they say. “We’ll adjust”
Words by Suketu Mehta, from: Maximum City: Bombay