Even E. ‘Metrosexual’ Sreedharan couldn’t have engineered the perfect weather conditions. I reached Mayur Vihar Phase 1 station at 9.52 a.m., a five-minute walk from my house.
The crowd was much less than I had expected even at this hour. But there was only one person behind the three ticket counters.
Over the next two minutes a longish line had grown. Only after a Metro official told us to buy our tickets from the information kiosk at the other end did things pick up.
With a Rs 15 blue plastic counter in hand and a baggage search and five minutes later, I was on the fresh-as-clean-concrete Platfrom No. 2 awaiting the Dwarka-bound 9.58. It came bang on time.
I found a seat easily. In front of me, on the ‘Ladies only’ seat, were two middle-aged women with a young man in a suit, head buried in a thick, hardcover book, at the other end. This, clearly, was going to be a very comfortable train ride.
Looking out through the windows, I knew which side of the old ‘underground or overground Metro’ debate I was on. Even the Yamuna passing below looked genuinely gorgeous in the grey outside.
After leaving Akhshardham station at 10.10 a.m. (where the train overstayed by a few minutes), a new view of east Delhi opened up to me. And unlike underground Metros elsewhere, mobile connections remain unaffected.
The public announcement system in the train kept apologising for the ‘short delays’.
A woman’s voice also requested passengers: “Please do not play music in the train”, “Please do not sit on the floor of the train”.
The woman sitting next to me made some grumbling noises, but the two ‘teachers’ pointed out that “such things are bound to happen on the first day, baba”.
By 10.22 a.m. I had reached Barakhamba station. I walked to my office gates at 10.28 a.m. In other words, I had covered my daily distance, from home door to office gate in roughly 35-odd minutes, the same time I usually take (on a good traffic day) to work.
Now to get a monthly ‘smartcard’ to make my lifestyle change permanent.