Delhi Metro – Look, What She Has Got
Seen the famous in the metro?
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Have you spotted the capital’s famous people in the Delhi Metro? The air-conditioned train service that started in 2002, connecting east Delhi’s Shahdara to north Delhi’s Tis Hazari, extended to south Delhi and Gurgaon in 2010. Till the metro’s network was not extensive enough to reach every neighbourhood, these big-car people could always avoid rubbing shoulders with us ‘ordinary’ Delhiwallas by saying that they possibly could not travel in Blueline buses. But the Bluelines have gone and now the metro stops at Khan Market, Delhi’s grandest steel bubble. The Delhi Walla finds out if the city’s upper crust has finally condescended to use the city’s mass transport system.
Advaita Kala, novelist (seen in the pic above)
I started using the metro as a commuter in 2010 when I got my smart card for Rs 500. But I first travelled in it in 2008, when I took the metro to Chandni Chowk. That was just for novelty. I have travelled in the metros of New York City and San Francisco, and though they are better connected than ours, the Delhi Metro is superior in terms of cleanliness. It’s also very convenient. I live in Gurgaon and now I don’t have to waste two hours to come to Connaught Place. Did I say that the women-only compartment is just perfect?
Ritu Dalmia, chef
On Sundays, I usually go to eat out in Old Delhi, and this is my route: I drive from my home in Chankayapuri to Connaught Place. There I park my car and take the metro from Rajiv Chowk to Chandni Chowk. I just love the Delhi Metro. It’s open, hassle-free, easy, modern and cool. I never thought that Delhi would get such a commuting service in my lifetime. Compared to it, the London tube is crappy and reminds you of the old Delhi airport. Every time I have friends visiting from outside Delhi, one of our big plans is to take a ride in the metro. You know, the metro is something to show off.
Shibani Kashyap, singer
I haven’t yet travelled in the metro. Never got the opportunity, you see. I live in Sector 15, Gurgaon, and when I have to come to Delhi, I run on a very hectic schedule. So I have to depend on my car and driver. Honestly speaking, I don’t think I can use the metro for everyday use. But yes, I want to travel in it for the fun of it.
Palash Sen, singer
No, I haven’t travelled in the metro yet. I live in Greater Kailash-II and the nearest station is in Kalkaji, so it doesn’t work out for me. Besides, I’m a public person and travelling in the public transport is a problem. I have my own car, naturally.
Joey Matthews, model
Nooo, I haven’t been to the metro yet. I’m so embarrassed. But I will go soon. I have friends who commute in it and they say it’s just cool. I want to go to Chandni Chowk in the metro. They say that you get out of the station and find yourself in the middle of the chowk. Amazing.
Sam Miller, author
I am not a frequent metro traveller since I work from my residence in Panchsheel Park. But I wrote about it for the BBC in 2010. I think Delhi Metro is the most modern metro system in the world. It’s very impressive.
Shovana Narayan, dancer
I have yet to step into the metro. I just don’t have been able to find time. But I’m planning to travel in it very soon. After all, I live in Pandara Road and the Humayun Road station is very close.
Have you got your smart card?
Wow! I’m surprised at all those Delhiwallas who haven’t been on the Metro. Even I have a Metro smart card, and I’m in Australia.
the best subway/metro i’ve ever used is hands downs in Taipei, Taiwan. The subway is not just a subway there! Your have a tiny underground city there with tons of clothing and makeup stores and tiny cafes and convenience stores. During the summer, you can escape the heat by mulling around underground and looking at different shops selling so many different types of things/products. I’m certain the Indian government will eventually set up a similar set up where industrious indians can sell their goods to the daily commuters. And i agree with the lady that said the delhi metro has cleanliness going for it. So true. It’s definitely giving the Japanese subway system(possibly the cleanest and most efficiently run subway system) a run for their money.
I used to travel a lot in the Metro, but it’s become so overcrowded and unreliable of late that I find it easier to drive or take a scooter. More expensive, but more reliable too. The last straw was getting stuck for one hour in heavy rain at Anand Vihar, and then waiting over half an hour more to get into a train. Whenever it rains, Metro service is disrupted.
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