City Life – Metro Dialogues, Blue Lines
Did you hear.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Shuttling on the Delhi Metro is incredibly visual. You see people in their most casual attitudes, completely unconscious of others, indulging in acts that are kabhi weird kabhi cute. Our Instagram reels are full of those videos.
The Metro experience also offers a less explored aspect—the world of words. It mainly comprises of the chatter of the commuters. If you list down the things randomly heard while on board, it can perhaps be moulded into some modernist mumbo jumbo—one of those literary works full of enigmas and puzzles that keep university professors forever busy. In fact, some great modern novels, like Ulysses by James Joyce, are interspersed with such arbitrary asounds of the city, transporting us instantly into the inner life of their speakers.
Here’s a short list, fished out one afternoon on the Blue Line between Rajiv Chowk and Dwarka. Most of these overheard scraps of slangy dialogues, presented here without their context, are totally banal in themselves. But when stringed together, they give a fairly intimate sense of an otherwise impersonal megapolis. They draw us closer to our fellow citizens, because the emotions and the lingo embedded in these lines are our emotions and our lingo too.
Read the list aloud!
—Saari Jeejaji ki galti hain (it’s all Jeejaji’s fault)
—Kara dena pucca (get it done for sure)
—Ghar mein klaish, meri zindagi narak (discord at home, my life a hell)
—Darwaza bai taraf khulega (Doors will open on the left)
—Papa kabhi nahi manege (Papa will never agree)
—Suno ji, bag le lena (listen dear, get the bag)
—Didi ke peeth lal kar di mar-mar ke (sister’s back was all red with his beatings)
—Nahin, mujhe nahi lena loan, nahin! Nahin! Nahin! (no, I don’t want the loan)
—Jee sir, jee sir, jee, Excel already taiyar hain sir, jee sir, jee (yes sir, Excel is ready)
—Rohit toh seedha hain (Rohit is very decent)
—Jara jor se boliye, Metro mein hoon (speak a bit louder, I’m inside the Metro)
—I don’t care!
—Kar diya upload? (Uploaded?)
—Nahi beta, gir jayoge (No child, you’ll fall)
—Jis par beeti hai wohi samajh sakta hain (Only the one who has faced it can really get it)
—Agla station Rajendra Place
—Aadhar chalega? (will Aadhar card do?)
—Mummy ki MRI report aa gayi (Mummy’s MRI report is out)
—Atisundar! (very beautiful!)
—Hello, kahan ho? (Where are you?)
—Bhai, Grey Line Dwarka se nikalti hain (brother, Grey Line starts from Dwarka)
—Promise me, na
—Mujhe forward kar dena (Forward it to me)
—Woh leftie hain (That one is left-handed)
—Video banaya kya? (did you make the video?)
—Anxiety ho rahi hain (I’m feeling anxious)
—Bhaisaab, please, ek taraf (sir, please, to one side)
—Rajma chawal?! Wow!