Life in the (Delhi) Metro


A Tongue-in-Cheek look at the Reserved Coach of the Delhi Metro

By: Shruti Vairagkar (LT Howden)

Excited doesn’t begin to describe what I felt when my transfer from Vadodara to Delhi was confirmed. Back to home after being away for half a decade! I was looking forward to the extreme seasons, childhood friends, homemade food, and free wifi. I was eager to soak up the Delhi culture and become the dilli ki ladki once again. And travelling by Delhi Metro was a part of that. Having been away for most of the years during the development and introduction of new lines, I had full intention of making up for lost time!

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A pleasant feature for one of the sexes was the reservation of an entire coach for them (perhaps arguable by the other sex for the lack of one for them!) It does provide the solace of travelling in relative comfort when the rest of the train is packed that air couldn’t pass through!

This very coach acts as a rich feed for anyone who observes human behavior. The diversity, the range of emotions, and lifestyles which one can observe is surprising. Over the last few months of traveling in this coach, I found that most of the travelers fall into one or more of these groups –

  • The Chatty Chamelis

These are literally the bees in the bonnets who contribute to the constant chatter and buzzing! They could be strangers who hit it off with fellow travelers over common interests or that lone traveler who makes complete use of the journey to catch up with a friend. Either way, they provide amusing stories for the rest of the passengers.

  • The Groupies

The name says it all. Another contributor to the buzzing in the coach, these packs have a method to them. Board a train together, snag some seats for most of the members if not all or a space to stand in circle, and catch up on the gossip and the grapevine over some nibbles. Their conversations range from the mundane office talks and family affairs to the more interesting he saids-she saids and watercooler moments.

  • The Peeping Toms

If you get that eerie feeling of someone looking at it over your shoulder into your phone, you are probably right! Your messages/article/video you’re reading or watching is fascinating to the peeper. So much so, that they would be trying to read the messages and figure out the context.

  • The Rule Breakers

The rides are flooded with constant announcements on the dos and don’ts in the trains. Yet, there are those travelers who promptly ignore these rules and do as they please! Upon boarding the trains, seasonal fruits, packets of wafers, fried and savoury snacks are fished out from the bags. When all the seats are occupied, let’s squat on the floor! The announcements are now nothing but background noise to them.

  • The Adjusters

A common sight as soon as the train departs a station is a just boarded traveler will gesture to the sitters to scooch some. With some shuffling and repositioning of legs and bags, the seat seeker will get a smidgeon of space to occupy. Never mind if half the derriere is out of the seat!

  • The Minding My Own Business-ers

This group perhaps makes up the maximum travelers. How to recognize them? They will have a mark of identification – headphones in ears, eyes trained on the phone, engrossed in a book, or maybe a vacant expression or of being deep in thought. An intriguing feature is that they never make eye contact. In fact they avoid eye contact! And if they happen to spot someone of acquaintance, they simply turn around to evade company. They certainly taking minding their business to new heights.

  • The Sleepers

Now, these are a joy to travel with! Unassuming, quiet (unless they start snoring), and huddled in their seat enjoying their forty winks undisturbed by the constant announcements. Certainly a source of envy to those who need silence to nap.

So, which category do you fall into?

7 thoughts on “Life in the (Delhi) Metro

  1. I feel a string urge to be “The Sleepers”, but have to end up being “The Minding My Own Business-ers” 😛

    Very nicely described Shruti. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Ananya!! 🙂 I avoid sleeping lest I miss my station. (has happened before :D) I too belong to Minding my own Business-ers most of the time, rest of the time am a Groupie…

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