In today’s age, traveling has become an integral part of every other working professional. First of all, people migrate to the cities which offer them good job opportunities and after getting the job and settling up in the new city follows the every day commuting between home and workplace. Especially in the metro cities such as Delhi/NCR, one can easily observe a large number of four wheelers with only one person in each vehicle lined up on road especially at the morning and the evening time during which the most of the office hours take place. For those who cannot afford a vehicle, public transport comes to their rescue. I am sure out of all the public transports available, Metro must be the all time favorite mode of travel for almost all the Delhiites. Within 14 years of inception, it has become like a lifeline of Delhi without which the entire city may come to a halt.
Traveling by Metro is something which I feel nobody can ever get bored of because there is always something different and new that happens in every other ride. Even though you might travel at the same time every day but you will be surrounded by new faces every time you travel. And it is the different behavior of these people which make your journey entertaining and enjoyable. There will always be certain section of people who would be having their own arrangements for entertainment in their mobile phones with freshly downloaded pirated movies & songs and will have their head phones plugged into their ears throughout the journey. They are those people who get so much engaged in their mobile that sometimes they even miss their station on which they were supposed to drop at. Then there will always be a young couple in every coach who would be continuously giggling and playing around grabbing the attention of every single person in that coach. There will certainly be some first timers in metro who would be continuously asking you about which station they should drop at. There will be parents who would be catching hold of their kid who would be running around the pole considering it as a ride which they see in their playground. There will also be a pretty girl who will again catch the attention of every guy in the coach and consequently there will be some guy who would offer his seat to the girl and start dreaming about Jab We Met 2 (This time in a metro). If you are among the lucky ones who managed to get a seat then there will also be one person sitting parallel to you in the opposite row who would be unnecessarily looking at you throughout the journey. Sometimes you might doubt that there is something wrong in your face that the person is continuously staring. Like I said earlier, small moments like these make every metro ride a memorable one.
The journey starts off from the first station where the empty Metro arrives and people gather all around the area where the door will be opening. As the Metro stops on the platform, it almost creates a race-like situation where people are standing wide-eyed outside the door, looking at the empty seats through the glass window, all geared up and waiting for the door to open and rush in as fast as possible to grab a seat. Seriously if you want to know the importance of a seat in life, you must ask a metro commuter regarding what all he has to go through in order to get his share of seat. Standing in front of the door with a fear of getting crushed by loads of people standing behind your back is an everyday challenge for a metro traveller. Also you have to keep your senses intact to avoid a situation where after doing all the hard work you realize that the only seat you grabbed was actually reserved for ladies or for senior citizens. Generally ladies tend to avoid disclosing their age to others but if all the ladies seats are per-occupied, they won’t have any problem in occupying the seat for senior citizens. It’s almost become like a tagline for a daily commuter “Pran Jaye par Seat Na Jaye“.
Metro journey also acts as a litmus test for all the travellers especially those who fall under the category of younger generation because the Agni Pariksha of their values also gets tested here. Despite of putting around 20 percent of seats reserved for the ladies and older generation, the Bigg Boss of Metro (or I should say Bigg Bosses) keeps on asking you to ‘offer your seat to someone who needs it more than you do’. (I am not able to understand one thing that why is it that the man speaks in Hindi & the lady in English. Its really not fair!) Suddenly you ask this question to yourself if I am worth this seat. After giving a thought for a while that you actually woke up at 5am in the morning, worked really hard in office the entire day, had to give a presentation to your boss which went for 45 minutes and even skipped your lunch because of that. You give yourself the consolation and say it to yourself “Yes Man! You deserve this seat“. You close your eyes for a minute and later on open it just to realize that a lady is standing just next to you looking at your face hoping that this guy might offer his seat to her. You curse yourself for making the eye contact to her, bow down to your values and spend the rest of the journey standing and holding the hand rail. But then also you get a sense of satisfaction that you managed to helped somebody. And this is how a metro ride can actually help you in making your day.
Though there is a driver in each metro rail but I believe it is the travelers who are actually running the metro. They are the one who moderates the entire crowd to maintain cleanliness & making sure that discipline is followed during the entire journey. From forming the lines at the entry gate in order to ensure smooth passage of those who are exiting the metro to making sure that no men enters the ladies’ coach or occupies the seats reserved for ladies, everything is taken care by the people themselves. The rules and the guidelines may have been defined by the metro authorities but the manner how it has to be followed remains in the hands of commuters. There aren’t any of the metro officials who would be commanding you to follow the rules (Apart from the continuous announcements by the Hindi Uncle & English Aunty). The responsibility lies with the people to make sure that everything is in the right place. But things do get out of control at extreme situations (for eg: at Rajiv Chowk Metro Station) during which priority is always given to self irrespective of what the guidelines say. How often do you observe a slight unintentional push by someone leading to quarrels and fights taking place between the travelers. During such times, the ride may appear to be a horrifying journey with people almost crushing you to get a place inside and all you can do is to wait for the ride to get over. As you put your step on your station, you take a huge sigh of relief and that feeling can be compared to reaching the top of Mt Everest.
Sometimes I wonder if you have to describe life in the best way possible, a ride in a metro is the most apt way to depict that. There are rules defined but it is up to us how we want to follow them. During the journey, there will be some happy moments and some will be dull. There will also be some challenges and obstructions that will be pushing you away creating a fear in your mind that you may miss your destination. In the end, you just have to stay calm and help the people around you because ultimately they will be making way to allow you to reach your destination. Even in the old Hindi song, the great Kishore Kumar croons to Zindagi Ek Safar hai Suhana drawing an analogy between life and a wonderful journey. I would actually want to make a slight change in the lyrics of the song makng it “Zindagi Ek Metro Safar Hai Suhana.”