Life in the Metro.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
His eyes were closed. His right fist was wrapped in a yellow cloth. The cloth was printed all over with the names of Lord Ram and his wife Sita. The man seemed to be in a state of perfect mindfulness. He could have been standing atop a Himalayan peak. He was actually in a Blue Line coach of the Delhi Metro (see the top photograph).
This man was just one of the 2.4 million commuters who daily use the city’s 12-year-old subway system.
As the network spreads deeper into the capital, travelling in the Metro has become a rewarding experience. A brief commute becomes a colourful mosaic of various textures. And at least the most recent journey gets briefly imprinted in the memory as an impressionistic patchwork of faces, words and gestures: a man reading his palm; a sad-seeming woman looking out of the window; some one saying angrily on the phone, “She left home last night.” While other images fascinate because of their profound banalities.
But these remembrances are mostly presented to us when we are feeling rushed, and so, despite being beautiful, they dissipate quickly. So, The Delhi Walla will archive these remembrances in a new series. I call it ‘Metro Observed’. Here is the first volume.