My dad arrived home today. He’s come to say goodbye to the sixth member of our family who leaves for US tomorrow! Sounds so hunky dory, doesn’t it?
But, I killed it for myself. I’m running low on cash these days, for a lot of travelling and health bills were torn against my name this month. So instead of taking the more expensive option of auto rickshaw, I decided to use the Delhi Metro to reach the New Delhi railway station and help dad deal with the luggage that he was carrying. Well it wasn’t as heavy as I’d expected but it sure was difficult bringing it up to the 2nd floor of my house.
So, DELHI METRO! The pride and joy of Delhi. The only project in India that’s actually making profit. The guys worked really hard and it shows. Terrific infrastructure and great maintenance. Something though, didn’t feel very right yesterday. As I gathered myself from slumber, and walked to the platform, there were huge groups of people waiting to board the metro. Something was wrong!
The metro arrived packed to its capacity and yet around 20 of us managed to find a place to stand with people’s armpits on my nose and my armpits on someone elses and what not! Ugghhhh!
Now to make matters worse, there are close to 15 metro stations between the station that I boarded and the New Delhi railway station. Each time the door opened for passengers, when 2 left, 4 boarded. I had my headphones plugged in though and people weren’t really bothering me, just that I knew how I’d smell like after I got down from the train. People inside just kept making space out of nowhere and people from outside kept boarding till the last inches were used up. And then some more came in!
Then a scuffle stirred up. A police constable standing right in front of me and next to the door, tried to stop passengers from getting in, for there was absolutely no space left in the coach. The counter argument from the outside was – “You get down as you are the public servant” and they started pulling out the constable nearly tearing off the sleeves from his shirt. The constable though had nowhere to go, for he was stuck inside just like all of us were, and so they even couldn’t pull him out, such was the agony we were all going through!
To be honest, I was enjoying this. This misery that people decide to put themselves through everyday, made me feel proud of what I had achieved in life and how my resolution to never put up with this kind of life always put me in a better place. I made a resolution very early in my struggling days that I’ll never use public transport for two reasons –
1. Those places are very vulnerable and I have too much to do in life than die in an accident or a bomb blast.
2. They are very risky, for Indians in general treat public transport like the transport system owes them something once they’ve paid for the ticket. What they don’t think of is, these are the same buses and trains they may need to take everyday for the rest of their freaking lives, and they are all responsible for its upkeep and smooth operations. But once they stop respecting the means, the means stop respecting them and so they start crumbling, till they are at the point of breaking and that’s when public transport becomes a danger. Case in point, was the taxi that we boarded, once my family members had arrived. That taxi sounded awful and when it started to move, I felt the wheels coming off every time we made a left turn!
Now back to the Metro. We were about to reach the largest station among all metro stations – Rajiv Chowk. Rumors started flying that the train will be half empty by the time we leave this station, and sadly ALL the passengers along with me were eagerly waiting for this miracle to happen, quite badly! And like all stories that don’t have a happy ending, luck didn’t favor me this time! No one got down and still some more found a way to get in. The next station was where I was to unboard. This was real tricky. For once in my life, I had to handle people subtly and that I did. I started cracking mean jokes that made people laugh and in between, I’d ask them to make some space to let me reach the door, so I don’t miss my drop station caught up in this hell hole. And I made it, just not on my feet though. The moment the door opened, I (125 kgs) was picked up in the air and helped down right next to a pillar. I have absolutely no freaking clue how or what happened. I just counted my lucky stars for the night, checked my wallet and my watch, and started to walk to the railway station.
This was one hell of a ride, and I’m never travelling in a Metro again. what’s tha God awful smell? Wait, I smelled ‘PEOPLE-ISH’!