Women commuters in Mumbai locals find mobile gaming as their perfect leisure

Mumbai, the city that never sleeps! And thanks to Mumbai local trains which have helped Mumbaikars to be on track and on time everyday.  Mumbai local trains account for 41  per cent women commuters; making it higher than any other metro cities like New Delhi (37 per cent) or Bengaluru (39 per cent) according to a study. In this day and age, woman have to juggle plenty of tasks; right from taking care of their children to daily household chores and shuttling between two distant locations due to demanding occupations. The commuting hours in the locals are kind of leisure hours for them and many enjoy indulging in gaming, including us. To know how these women spend their travel time, AnimationXpress spoke to a few who travel everyday on the Western and Central railway route. Swati, a clerk at some bank, who travels from Kalyan to CST said, “I love playing Candy Crush. It’s a fun game and not very competitive. It soothes my mind which is occupied most of the time due to work, household chores and kids.” Vaishnavi is a young sales executive and travels to Andheri everyday via Dadar. Her competitive job keeps her on her toes and the time she gets while travelling is when she relaxes herself by playing games. She shared, “My kids play with my phone when I am home and I don’t want them to play violent games like PUBG or fighting games. So I prefer having kids friendly games, and now am addicted to Wordplay and such other quiz games.” More than 69 per cent of daily travellers in the country own smartphones. Here again, Mumbai beats the national average with as high as 91 per cent of its commuters owning smartphones. Another commuter, Mrudula and her travel-friend Shilpa, who are in their late 20s and early 30s play PUBG, and are very competitive about the game. They also discuss the strategies while they are travelling and take out time to play together even when they are not travelling together. A large group of females prefer playing leisure games or quiz games, but there is this other group of who play field games like PUBG and love them too. The craze for Subway Surfers or Temple Run seems to be decreasing. Sunita (a lady in her 50s maybe) said, “Motion games are good but they strain eyes when I am travelling. I won’t let games affect my eyesight and hence avoid to play those while travelling.” Some of them also highlighted the fact that they like playing PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile but during commute, fluctuation of network becomes a major challenge in their gaming experience. They shared, “We wish if there was railway WiFi facility even inside the train and the password of that WiFi would have been the railway password number then they might have uninterrupted online gaming session as well.” Sarla, who is in her late 50s works at a logistic firm and enjoys playing Bubble Burst. Because she travels from Kandivali to Virar every day and trains are extremely crowded, it’s difficult for her to concentrate on any other games. Further, she added, “The bursting sound of bubble is also very soothing.” Here is another group who board the train from Andheri to Virar everyday and likes to indulge in multiplayer games like Ludo King and UNO  during their commute. Not only that, they have weekly tournaments on the same and whoever wins treats other members of the group with Vada Pav (Mumbai’s favourite fast food). Upon being asked why they like playing game they answered, “How to commute for an hour without doing anything? So, we try to make those 45-50 minutes interesting and enjoyable through games.” Ashwini, a pregnant woman who travels from Nalasopara to Andheri daily for her admin job, enjoys playing Talking Tom  because raising a virtual pet, giving him food, bath and engaging with him in various activities help her to prepare herself for the post delivery saga. She said, ‘I like playing Talking Tom because it is not a competitive game and is very relaxing. And being the virtual mother of Tom is helping me to prepare for my upcoming days.” During the peak hours it becomes difficult to play games, and speaking to many we figured that one tap casual games are much more popular among the commuters during this time. Rucha who is a mother of a toddler and an executive at a private firm travels by train on everyday basis with her daughter from Borivali to Bhayander. She enjoys playing Farmville and at the same time her daughter enjoys fashion makeover games. She said, “My daughter follows everything like me including playing games while returning home and because of her I have to carry two android devices one for me and one for her so that I can have my uninterrupted gaming session during my travel.” After speaking to these women, it is fair to conclude that most of the women who travel through local train like to have an enjoyable game time to relax and freshen up their mind from the daily dose of work as a mother, wife, daughter, or as an employee. Their choice of games may vary, but their reasons for playing games during their commute are sure similar.
This article is jointly written by  Poonam Mondal and Yugandhara Shete