Imagine that this is one of those cheesy, red cards with hearts floating all over it. Calligraphic font declares ‘To my Valentine’ in a dramatic red flourish. It’s a singing Valentine card that chimes in the voice of my one true love when opened. Here’s what it says:
“Please Mind The Gap!”
Yes, my Valentine for the year 2010 (how flaky does that make me sound?) is the Delhi Metro. That smooth talker who’s often late but manages to get me home past all the traffic, keeps me cool in summer and warm in winter — dear Metro, this one’s for you.
My tryst with the Metro began in November last year, when the Noida line finally started. Like all great love stories, mine, too, started with hate. Initially, I’d cringe at the thought of waiting at the platform, sometimes for over 20 minutes, for a train that was stuffed twice as much as a jam-packed Blueline bus.
Then, somehow, we started meeting everyday. A late evening ride on the Monday my carpool abandoned me, a gallant rescue from a three-hour traffic jam one Thursday, a romantic ride on a foggy morning with puraane Hindi gaane for background music… and before I knew it, I had abandoned my car for a new love.
I would like to believe that the Metro, for all its shortcomings, brings out the best in us. Everyday, I see at least two instances of men vacating their seats for women and youngsters standing up so the elderly can sit. During the Auto-Expo days, when the crowd hit insane numbers, I saw a man shoving through people to seat an elderly lady who boarded the train at the Indraprastha Station.
Around 6.30 pm, one can always spot hundreds of men, waiting patiently in a single file, as the security checks are underway. No screaming, shouting or tantrum throwing there. Besides the familiar faces that smile at her every morning, a colleague of
mine has even made friends with the guards at the Barakhamba Station, who now watch out for her on days when she’s late.
My environment-friendly hero also lets me read en route (newspapers in the morning and paperbacks in the evening); score new records on Citybloxx (a game on my phone that I’m addicted to) and switch off mentally to daydream (a big no-no when driving through traffic). On that note of switching off, I end this ode to my beloved Metro. May you have an incident-free and always-on-time record this year.
All my love,