Delhi Metro – Septuagenarian Commuter, Wenger’s Cake Shop
On the 20th anniversary of Delhi Metro.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
At 78, the turbaned gentleman must be among very few Delhiites of his age to travel daily on the Metro.
He has a day-job to do.
The venerable Charanjeet Singh is the face of Wenger’s, the colonial-era cake shop in colonial-era Connaught Place. As the manager, he is often spotted standing behind the main counter, chatting to customers and booking orders for special cakes. Plus, he often gives chocolates to regulars for free. His calmly presence in the crowded shop is magical. One wonders how he always looks so relaxed, for his commute is long enough to exhaust even a man of twenty. Charanjeet Singh lives in Vikas Puri, and boards the Blue Line from Janakpuri West. Takes him 40 minutes to reach his stop. Having retired 12 years ago, he says he continues to work out of choice. What if there were no Delhi Metro? Could he have managed the demanding commute in a bus? The manager mulls over a few moments, and says—“Yes… because my heart lies in the cake shop.”
Until before the pandemic, Charanjeet Singh would board the homebound train from Mandi House, and not from Rajiv Chowk, which is much closer to his work. “So many people would get in at Rajiv Chowk that it would be impossible to get a seat,” he says. “So, I would first take the train to Mandi House, and from there I would get into the reverse train.” These days the crowd at Rajiv Chowk never gets too dense, he says. Besides, many commuters offer him their seat “because of my age.”