Amid the insanely crowded commuter rail lines in Mumbai, India's biggest city, some cars are set aside, Atlas Obscura reports.
All trains have at least one “Ladies Compartment,” reserved for women and young children only. And there is also at least one Handicapped Compartment, or HC, on every train.
HCs, with their extra space, allow people with disabilities and chronic illnesses to travel without having to fight for a place to stand. But for the deaf, there's another benefit: they can sign, which would be almost impossible in the other cars.
“In the general compartments it was so crowded that when there was a deaf person with you, you could sign only small signs above people’s heads,” one traveler said. "Hearing people can chat with each other…[but] deaf people cannot communicate that way.”
In the less crowded HCs, there's room for conversation.
Here's how it works: a deaf person will enter an HC and begin carving out space for other deaf people, texting friends to let them know which car they’re in, or when they’ll be coming through a station. As more deaf people hop on the train, they’ll form a group in the compartment, chatting until it’s time to get off.
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