Surviving in the Delhi Metro

I mentioned in one of my previous blogs about how much Delhi University students love traveling. Actually, it’s not just students. When I think about it, travel has become an indistinguishable part of every person in the city. The young and the old, the rich and the poor, the cool and the not-so-cool, everyone has to travel in some way or the other in their busy day.

Traveling from one corner of the city to the other is a huge pain, especially considering the crazy traffic this city can generate (a study conducted some years back concluded that if you line up all the vehicles in the city one behind the other, the resultant length is twice the length of the river Nile. That figure MUST have gone up by now).

So what’s the solution? How do we satiate our love (or need) for travel and still not end up ripping all our hair in one day?

Answer: the Delhi Metro.

Ask anyone in the city, they will attest to my claims of the metro being our lifeline. It ensures fast connectivity with minimal disturbances, and life in Delhi today without the metro is unimaginable.

Although there is not a lot of hassle and the travel is less stressful, you still do have to travel a considerable distance and deal with A LOT of people. So here are some of the things you can do to lighten things up during travel, kill time and deal with the fierce competition (some of these techniques can be extrapolated to other metros as well).

1. Sleep- The metro is the best place to catch up on your sleep, especially if your journey is long, say from HUDA City Centre to Vishwavidyalaya.

2. Read- Book lovers, this is an amazing place to read. It’s peaceful and you won’t be disturbed. Just grab a secluded corner and lose yourself in your own world.

3. Deduction- Try your hand at being Sherlock Holmes, and see if you have sharp enough deduction skills to garner information about the huge variety of people that are around you. It doesn’t matter if you are right or wrong, it’s a lot of fun.

4. Getting a seat- Now this one is tricky. Sometimes, standing and traveling is not an option, and you are desperate for a seat. What do you do? You observe. People show clear signs that they are about to get down, like fidgeting, shutting their laptops or books, reaching for their bags, etc. Place yourself strategically so that you have a good view of the passengers who are sitting, and the minute you see some sign, quietly go nearby and grab the seat at the 1st opportunity.

5. When you have to get off at a major station, make sure you are near the doors. A friend of mine didn’t, and as he rushed to get out in the last minute, a swarm of people entered and literally lifted him back into the train (any guesses on which station? Leave your answer in the comments ;))

6. Strike up a conversation with co-passengers- There are lots of interesting people out there, and if you love interacting, you will have a great time (but be careful as to who you talk to and how you approach. Things can get ugly).

7. Thinking about the secrets of the universe- the calm atmosphere and the hum of the train is a perfect background to reflect on things about life and the universe. Again, it may not be really productive, but who knows?

Traveling in the metro can be great fun, and doing some of the things I mentioned makes it really engaging, and also helps you travel as comfortably as possible.

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