I have been travelling by the Mumbai local trains every day for the last six years and it’s been a crazy experience. Apart from the various stories that surround it, one thing that every traveller is well aware of is the horrific state of most of the stations. Red paan-stained walls, fungus growing everywhere, leaky ceilings, garbage on the platforms — the list is endless! But, if you have gone to Borivali or Khar station recently, you may have noticed that they have gained a bit of colour. Bright rainbow-coloured stairs, artistic designs near the ticket counters, railings in bright shades of red — in short, the stations look more lively.
And that is exactly what MAD (Make A Difference), the NGO behind this initiative, had aimed for! They have transformed the two stations with their creativity and gained much appreciation. To make this initiative bigger, they have now collaborated with an organisation called Mumbai First. Together, they have started a project called ‘Hamara Station Hamari Shaan‘. This project is all about beautifying the stations with the help of volunteers who are willing to paint there hearts out. In all, 36 stations have been selected — 21 from the western line and 15 from the central line. CST has been excluded from this scheme as it is already a UNESCO heritage site.
The plan is to work from 9pm to 12 am from October 2 to October 9. The timings are suitable for working people and crowds at the station won’t be a hindrance, either. The CEO of Mumbai First, Shishir Joshi has said that 3,000 people have already registered to volunteer. Apart from people like you and me, a few real estate and paint manufacturing companies have also showed interest to partner with this initiative. There is an estimated expense of around 3.5-5 lakhs per station, for the project to succeed! Barring a few sponsors, most of this project is crowd-funded, which makes sense as it is the citizens who use public transport on a daily basis.
You can either volunteer to paint the stations or you can adopt one. Yes, adopt! If you do, you will be in charge of everything from the expenses to the volunteers of that particular station. The designs will be selected via competitions that will be held in various art and architecture colleges across Mumbai. The designs will be finalised by August 19, next week. For now, just the idea of better-looking stations has got me excited. I’m definitely volunteering, what about you?