Spilling the tea on gay cruising in 2/2 local train compartments.
Local trains are the lifeline of Mumbai, as they help people commute faster and for a very reasonable price. Although there are very few people who know that our local trains are a hub for gay encounters as well. There is a dedicated cruising spot (not official) allocated in the Mumbai local trains. It was affirmed that '2 by 2' also known as '2/2' is the second gate of the second coach of a local train from Churchgate side. Initially, when we heard about it, we were very sceptical about its existence, but after conformation by some trustworthy people, couldn’t resist telling this story.
When enquired about the existence of the 2/2 coach, the majority of people from the community mentioned that they haven’t even heard about it. But few agreed and confirmed that it was true and also spoke about their experience. One of the many things most of these people had in common was that despite people stating that these encounters happen only in the 2/2 compartment, but they happen in other compartments as well. We have tried to keep the story as it was narrated and to respect the storyteller’s privacy, we have kept the story anonymous.
The story is of a 19-year-old gay boy, who was travelling back home after a long day in college. While it was a rush hour, he saw a comparatively empty passenger compartment and dedicated to board that train. While he was standing at a side watching some video’s on his mobile, he realised that someone was touching him. He felt a little uncomfortable but didn’t react thinking that it would be by mistake. But after a few minutes he felt it again and this time it didn’t feel like a slip, so he turned around and looked at the man in the eyes and said he was not interested. That man shifted aside and didn’t do anything to him after that. As after a few stations passed and the train got a little emptier, He noticed that the same man who tried touching him earlier was busy with someone else. He felt a little aghast as he had never seen two men openly playing with each other’s body. He tried not making a scene of it and got down when his station arrived, but while he was walking on the platform he noticed that the man also got down. Abruptly their eyes met and they smiled at each other. After a few moments, that man came to him and introduced himself and apologised for his misconduct. He accepted the apology and curiously asked him about what he had seen. That’s when he came to know that he had climbed in a 2/2 compartment and things like these are common to occur there. After explaining him the basics they parted their ways.
When we were looking for a real explanation on why does this 2/2 compartment even exist as a cruising spot, we went and spoke to some people who are from the LGBT community and they responded stating that, in this heteronormative society and the pressure they impose on people, it's almost impossible for men to come out of the closet. As a majority of people like to keep their identity discreet, some mutual encounters in trains help to blow off the steam from living up the expectations set by society. There have been many cases when there are people found doing much more than just holding hands in this compartment. But they also mentioned that whatever happens in this compartment is always consensual. If you are in 2/2, the signal you get from the men surrounded by you can be as simple as they looking onto your eyes, gently stroking your hands or even something like smiling at you. If it's not something you want or like by simply nodding ‘No’ you can be excluded. There have been many instances that people who have met in 2/2 have exchanged numbers and have been in successful relationships as well.
(We feel that things like these have been happening due to necessity, its the only way few closeted or discreet men can meet other men sharing the same situation and find comfort, satisfaction and sexual pleasure in each other’s life. If you have stories like these telling us about more cruising places in Mumbai, you can DM us on our social media platforms or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org )