A friend of mine never takes a seat on the Metro. He might make an exception if he’s going from Noida to Dwarka, but mind you, he’ll be at the door five stops before his. It’s a paranoia fed by one bad experience. A few months ago, while trying to get off at the Pitam Pura station, he found himself wading through a sea of people to get to the doors. He got two feet from them when they opened and a wave of people crushed in.
If his version of the story is to be believed, he and five other people were thrown on the floor and walked all over by the crowd coming in. Now, he’s so scared that he sticks to the door even on an empty train. I’m sure a lot of it was hyperbole, but the incident was certainly real.
Anyone who has travelled by a local bus, train or Metro knows that getting off at a stop is like a wrestling match. I almost lost my jhola while getting off a bus once, because it got yanked inside by a man who was shoving past me to get in. People are so afraid that they’ll miss the bus that they’d rather push and shove and make a nuisance of themselves than give people space to get out first.
They really don’t understand that it will be much quicker for everyone if they just let people get out first! A few months ago, I got a letter on this subject by a reader named Chaitanya Shangloo, who wrote: “People at certain Metro stations just won’t let others alight from the train before they get on.
I mean, come on, it’s not gonna be the last train before the world ends.” I agree with you entirely, Mr Shangloo. Unfortunately, politeness always takes a back seat to our paranoia of being left behind. A friend suggested ‘countdown clocks’ at each door as a possible solution. I’d like to believe that one day, when there are 300 Metros running every two minutes, we will able to look upon this as a phenomenon from the dark ages. Until then, our best bet is to do what is right and hope we set an example — before the doors start closing!