A Capital Ride

Delhi Metro

*picture from articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com

She reads a few pages of ‘The Sunset Club’ every morning. The twilight cover of the book stands in contrast to the bright morning light coming in from the window, as the train chugs along the rather monotonous Gurgaon route. Each time the train halts at a station, her book flips several pages. Mentally, she curses the number of people the capital has. And, occasionally, also the passenger who cannot stand without treading on her newly bought shoes.

Next to her, another passenger fiddles with her purse, debating if she should bring out the novel she has painstakingly carried from home. Somehow, she lacks the confidence required to read in the metro and is afraid of getting jostled over and hurt. She gazes enviously at a contemporary – cozily seated and browsing through the evening newspaper.

In another corner of the coach, two women get into a squabble. I get into the women’s compartment to avoid being jostled and pushed.  Like I come here to listen to your temper, screams the other one. Phone networks act up, leaving conversations unfinished, often misunderstood. 

It starts getting dark by the time the train leaves Gurgaon. Lights come alive in temples and restaurants, as also on the roads, as cars rush home. Someone calls up her mother-in-law. I will be late tonight, she says. Don’t worry though; I will manage dinner in time. Subsequently, she stamps over the feet of someone reclining by the door. Can you not see how this place is far too crowded for you to doze off, she replies to an indignant cry. Someone’s box of grapes collides with the floor, while another hungry soul continues munching potato chips, just about obstructing a “No Eating or Drinking” board with her handbag.     

At Hauz Khas station, the queue to exit seems far too long. There are several happy faces, pleased to be going out into the evening. They call friends and make dinner party plans. An elderly lady struggles with the ticket slot. She can’t quite figure out the coin-shaped token needs to be dropped in, much to the exasperation of people behind her. They scowl and groan till a helpful official shows her the way. She laughs at herself, making a comment on how silly she was, unmindful of the sighs of relief that go out behind her.

It would be daylight in a couple of hours. Another day would begin. The metro would again embark on its lonely, traffic-free route, chock-full of people chugging along in its air-conditioned coaches. When I walk out into the rapidly descending night however, that’s not what I think of. I breathe in, pleasant thoughts of food, soft sheets and people waiting to listen to how my day was filling my mind.

No matter how exasperating mornings can sometimes be, in times like these, I feel truly blessed.

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27 thoughts on “A Capital Ride

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  5. I really liked the article…I can clearly identify with your experience in metro….:)
    I have almost a similar one everyday…:)

  6. Alas the journey is over…and I thought we would take yet another route and more observations would follow :). I must say you have knack for writing, very uniquely written.

    And tht also reminds me, I am yet to visit Hauz khas.

    • Haha, yes. Thankfully the journey culminated into a weekend. 😀
      I am glad you liked the piece OHW…thanks a bunch!
      Hauz Khas, well. My visits have also been mostly limited to the metro station.

  7. Now, you make me miss my Gurgaon-Delhi journey in the metro. I was there for a week and enjoyed Delhi despite minuses surrounding the city. I wouldn’t mind relocating to Delhi despite my initial apprehension and for being a typical Pumbekar-love for Mumbai and Pune. The city is fun. I enjoyed reading Sunset Club though it gets over the top at times. What’s Khushwant Singh penchant for soft porn? I mean in a natural setting to write about sex to decribe intimacy but he tend to overdo it. Im glad to see you and u gotta be more regular.
    Vishal

    • Hello Vishal, how have you been?
      Pumbekar! What an interesting term! Well, I too am completely in love with Pune and cannot help but be horrified at the reputation Delhi is rapidly acquiring. I too will always find Delhi charming, though it is getting harder.
      I haven’t read The Sunset Club yet so cannot comment on that. Khushwant Singh’s writing is fascinating though. I vividly remember some of his beautiful short stories.

      Yes, the efforts at regularity are on. Maybe I will get breathing space when I am back in Pune. 😀

      • KS is fascinating as a writer and must confess that I admire his work. He has an innate gift of describing love making or sex scene so deftly. Ive tried in my short stories but can’t! I am also horrified in the manner Delhi is turning and the worst thg is that when we know not everything is so gory. The city has a soul but unfortunately some pervert men are hell bent in destroying the city. I love Pune too much. You know Pumebekar was termed by a Pune Mirror journo Minoti Makim in a story on people who love both Pune and Mumbai..Mumbaikar and Puneris::)
        Cheers
        Vishal
        Do log on my blog::)

        • Yes, that gift KS definitely has. He has some terrific work to his credit.
          About Delhi, I am rendered mum at the barbarism that seems to be increasing every day. Sometimes, it is hard to believe we are civilized.

          Apologies for the delay in catching up with your work, Will soon do, I promise! 🙂

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