Jostled by the morning Delhi Metro crowd the other day, I casually asked a fellow commuter:
“Bhaiya, rush badh gaya hai kuch dino se, nahi?”
“Arey bhai, Delhi ki garmi, aur metro ki AC,”
came the curt reply.
The man, a middle-aged office-goer, said in these days of blazing temperatures, the best way to beat the scorching hot winds, unless you have a car of your own, is to board the Metro – the speedy, well-maintained lifeline of this otherwise grumpy city.
The pros of a Delhi metro ride are many, but so are its cons.
You take the Metro, say, to save time and money, but you might end up getting ruthlessly elbowed in the peak hour dash for a little space to stand straight. You take the Metro to avoid haggling with auto-rickshaw drivers but your ride might be ruined by a rude comment from a fellow commuter.
This peak hour crowd makes for interesting observances – while, of course, cringing as you take in the fragrance of many scented armpits. Sometimes, you get a first-hand experience of how annoying people can be.
Let me introduce you to five individuals who can turn your Metro experience into a disappointing one.
The person who will quarrel over the slightest possible issue
This will typically be a tall and sturdy man who stands inside the compartment with the air of always maintaining the Metro decorum. Let’s call him Mr Upright. If someone, who is a tad bit careless and unable to manage himself in the rush, accidently pushes Mr Upright or brushes an elbow against his back, he gets furious.
“Dekh ke nahi chal sakte?”
will be the ill-tempered question accompanied by an irritated frown.
Or the command from Mr Upright will be:
“Seedha khade raho bhaiya!”
If the other person, who is allegedly at fault, tries to counteract Upright’s allegations by saying that someone was pushing from behind, he will immediately pick a quarrel. He might even use a cuss word or two if the other commuter tries to defend himself repeatedly.
The person with heavy luggage and large bags
Of the people carrying large bags in the Metro, there are two annoying kinds: One, who carries a backpack on the shoulder and the other who keeps his heavy luggage on the floor right near the door.
The first kind is mostly oblivious to the woes of the person standing right behind him – the person into whose face the backpack is repeatedly thrust. Any protruding part of the bag may crash into the person’s face or neck. Though the Metro’s announcements blare guidelines against carrying backpacks on the shoulder inside the trains, this man will not pay any heed.
The second kind is even more irritating. He will place his luggage on the floor and practically lay a trap for people to trip over it in the rush. He will continue chatting with his friends or listening to music on earphones while the bags remain on the floor.
And these two gentlemen won’t give a damn when they have to get out at a station. They will dash with their baggage through the crowd, brushing against others roughly.
The person who will do anything for a seat
This is the man who can do anything for a seat.
While entering the Metro at a crowded station like Rajiv Chowk, where most commuters get off trains and there are many seats available, he will make a desperate dash for a seat as if it is some sort of prize. He will not care for an elderly man or a woman with a child – he is in war-mode and will thrash anyone who comes in his way.
You’ll often find him comfortably settled in a seat reserved for women, even while a woman may be standing nearby.
For many women, it’s different real-politik. There are some who will demand an unreserved general seat, and then there are some who won’t give up their reserved seat for someone they know needs the seat more.
And you thought, the “seat obsession” was only applicable to politicians and engineering or medical aspirants.
The person who receives the most important call on his phone while in the Metro
Inside the trains, mobile networks are usually inconsistent.
Yet, there will be the man trying to have a very important conversation on the phone, raising his voice in the hope of overcoming the network problems.
There might be a man who will fix an office meeting or reprimand a junior for not sending a particular email, all at the top of his voice. There might be a woman, elderly, with a Punjabi accent, trying to get something done at home.
The conversations are often trivial, but the voice, always loud.
The person who spies on your phone
You are standing in the Metro and writing a personal message to someone on WhatsApp or reading a novel.
There is a high probability that the eyes on them are not yours alone. There is someone, standing right behind you, inquisitively peeping into your phone or book.
Privacy often goes for a toss, as Mr Spy prowls for his next victim.
In a thread on Quora titled “Who are the most annoying co-passengers in the Delhi Metro?” an answer says: “…very few people are as irritating as the ones who peek over your shoulder just to see which state secret you're texting to your buddy.”
To tackle this, the user suggests a way -
“When you notice such a person, try this:
Continue to text like you haven't noticed (This is the most important part).
Type: "Talk to you later, this ________ (Insert cuss word(s) of your choice) behind me is trying to read every word I type. Watch the magic.”
(The views expressed by the writer are personal. He tweets as