What can fit between 15 people packed into a 10- seat row on the Delhi Metro? Another five people. If the capacity of a bogey is X, how many people will you find in each bogey? X multiplied by 3.
Scoff at my Math if you must, but truth knows no logic. Nor do daily Metro commuters (or those CWG guys for that matter). Even the jaws of death – disguised in this case as automatic doors of the 9.15am Metro – will not keep 300 odd people at every platform from pushing and shoving for their two inches of space inside.
Realistically, they all know there can’t possibly be any more space; they can see the sardined people through the windows. But ‘space’ is relative, isn’t it?
It may have been the Final Frontier for Captain Kirk and his crew, but Delhi’s Metrowallahs have conquered it. During peak traffic hours, they can bend space to their will – 50 toes per square inch, every nose in every armpit and bodies melting into one smelly mass.
I was once caught in a deluge of boarders at the Yamuna Bank station. Panicking about minor things like asphyxiation and a stampede, I tried shoving people outwards. ‘Aapko jagah kahaan dikh rahi hai?’ I shouted into the crowd. It obviously had no effect on the boarding throng, but even those inside glared at me as if I was the mad one.
Oh, and then, there’s that whole ‘thoda shift hona’ syndrome, where well-fed women come and demand that space be made for them. Errr… but where Ma’am? “Right there, if you move a quarter inch to your left, cross your arms and hold your breath I am sure I can park one fifth of my butt on the seat.”
It’s a bit like that newspaper folding dance game, the one teenagers play as an excuse to get risqué. The couple that stands the longest on the smallest amount of paper is the winner.
Except that in this case, the ultimate winner also needs to get out in time. Which is another battle altogether.
For now, I just want to let you in on a little secret. Stand back if the hordes around you are struggling to get into a packed train. Odds are, with them gone you may get a seat on the next one.