When you are late, the metro is also late.
The queues will crawl and the rickshaw-wallah will brawl.
These are facts, tested and tried.
The daily ordeal is quite simple and it has to do with only three things- over-crowded metro, technical-failures and late-comings.
It is already a bad day if you get up with the dismaying realization that you should have been up ten minutes before. You rush to get ready and with much difficulties and obstacles you somehow manage to cover five of the ten minutes of delay.
After that, you thank the heavens and then DMRC for the unique invention that the Delhi Metro is. The thanks giving is something of this kind-
Lord, and the Mr. Shreedharan and all his co-fellows. I thank you for the highly effecient metro running across the city. May all those who twitch their nose and raise their brows on the little technical failures here and there enjoy a better and hassle-free ride next time. Amen.
The prayer, as you see, is short and joint. The reason being the paucity of time.
You punch your smart card after getting yourself thoroughly mapped during the security checking. The security checking is a very good practice no matter how much people feel uncomfortable about it. You take the accelerator/elevator or stairs depending on nothing but your whims and reach the platform silently smiling at yourself that the metro will take exactly forty five minutes to transport you to your destination. This is the best thing about metro, you don’t have to worry about being stranded in heavy traffic jams.
You reach the platform and the heart sinks to see that the next metro is due in not two minutes but five minutes.
When your are late, remember, every second counts!
Every passing minute brings a multitude of people to the platform. They are mainly office-goers or the victims of morning lectures like me. You see the clock ticking while you make strategies to find a place to atleast stand comfortably in the train. No, getting a seat is a distant possibility, so forget about it. So, the expectations are low.
The way to happy life is to keep your expectations low and the way to happy journey in Delhi Metro is not to keep any expectations whatsoever. Therefore, the joy knows no bound when you get a place in one corner of the train without being jostled by the crowd.
After a lot of struggle, you are pushed inside the compartment, shoved and kicked by numerous hands and handbags. The inside smells of x number of perfumes and deodorants mixed with the smell of body wash and shampoos which may sound pleasant but is highly claustrophobic .
With every dramatic halt between the two stations, a throng of people lean backward and forward kicking more people and sometimes, falling on them. Some say sorry, others give away a guilty smile and yes, there is a species who does not bother to acknowledge trampling on human foot. If not pedicured but yet human feet they are, equally lively to the sensation of pain and suffering!
The tale of this highly unpleasant beginning repeats itself through the middle and culminates in its stylistic manner at the end. When your destination station is announced you are hit by contradictory emotions- happy because this is the end of the harrowing journey and sad because…
Pleading to be excused and thus trying to make your way out through your co-passengers and finally managing to be the last one to alight.
However, you are thankful that you atleast managed to de-board. The queue at the university station is ostensibly long and has no mercy on people like you who are getting late for the lectures despite being able to manage to cover that five out of ten minutes delay.
But, you should not blame their insensitivity because most of those in that line belong to the same category as yours. Like you they are also delayed by technical failures and over-crowded metros and their jammed doors.
You ask the rickshaw-wallah to ferry you to the college and he asks you an immodestly high fare for that ride. You frown but since you are already running out of time, you finally succumb to suffer the exploitation.
You trip and fall on the stairs to your lecture-room and sigh in relief when you find that though you are almost fifteen minutes late, the lecturer hasn’t arrived yet.
You find the familiar faces and try to relax among them after the morning ordeal and try to regain your already spent up energy to sit through the class.
After five minutes, an office staff enters the room and informs that the lecturer is absent without prior notice.
So, what next?
May you have a more hassle free ride next time.