Monday, 13 September 2010


At first the capital dwellers were in awe of the long, silvery, tubular machine snaking noiselessly through the cityscape. Impressive pieces imported from South Korea whose bogies (4 in number) were interconnected, seating space was sparse and AC more than functional. The best part was that it did not matter whether you got a seat in the tube or not - a standing journey was as comfortable.

The initial phase connecting Shahadara to Rithala, two polar ends of the NCR, was seamlessly accomplished and inauguration equally impressive. The only jarring note being the mob that gate crashed into the stations to witness/experience the first run and almost vandalized the newly-imported machines in their unrestrained excitement. This may still be evidenced in the hideously cracked glass door/window panels of one or two otherwise unblemished trains – a painful reminder of the mob-mania, a daily eyesore

But the stations remained empty thereafter barring a few adventurous ones who did not fear trying out something new and hitherto not experienced. Everything was steel and chrome (look wise) and shining. The stations were spotlessly clean, the maintenance meticulous, the counter-girls helpful, the Security Guards alert (they thankfully still maintain the same standard) and above all the fare more than reasonable for an AC ride. It was reported that in comparison with the expenses incurred in its institution, Metro was earning less revenue and consequently running at a loss.

Notwithstanding the statistics of profit and loss, there were points of advantage accruing by the situation. Initially, the gentry which traveled by the metro was more sophisticated, paid heed to all the instructions repeatedly announced by DMRC inside the train (like no consumption of food materials, no music etc. while traveling) and saw that others obeyed the same too, showed courtesy to fellow travelers, offered seats to ladies and senior citizens (in the beginning there were no reserved seats for the fairer sex and elders) and in general made the NCR proud of a newly flourishing commute-culture.

Then gradually more and more people came to grasp the advantages of commuting by metro. How comfortable it was to travel by the same in hot, muggy days with the AC on in full volume! How one could avoid the on-road traffic jams and reach the destination hassle-free and in less time though by a roundabout route! How the city looked like the kingdom of ant dwellers during day time! How the garland of lights blinkered like stars on earth in the evening! How the scathing rays of Apollo blazed the sides of the crawling tube without scorching the bodies of the passengers within! How the train rushed into the moonlit/less nights undaunted and unhindered even through some areas shrouded in darkness by unexpected load shedding! All seen through the windows of the overhead metro during different times of the day! Glimpses of sophistry till now past imagination of the slogging middle class! And the commuters gravitated, increased in no. till it became a crowd of marauders daily dotting the metroscape.


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