Tuesday, March 18, 2014


  We had an invite from Girgila, who lives in Janalk Puri for lunch.

 Prudence demanded that, even   though  among the five of us, Bajajs, Hari Aggarwals, only Bajajs had  earlier experience of travelling by Metro, we  decided  to take the Metro, rather drive down all the way to Jank Puri  to avoid the  heavy traffic on the road,

 Girgala, excited about our visit, has been on phone many times passing instructions on how to reach his place.

 Deciding against taking a cycle rickshaw to the Sector 18 Metro station, only a short distance away, we decided to walk it.

 Atta market, that we had to traverse, remembered from past, always in chaos, has overtime become worse. Traffic of all genre and type, bus, car, push cart rickshaw, cycle plying on road, haphazard road side parking, traffic converging  from all directions,  foot path taken over by vendors and their customers, soon the short walk became a nightmare for our wobbly legs.

With the staircase looking too daunting to take, choosing the lift up   to the station, we landed in altogether a different word: swanky, clean, and managed it was:   a virtual haven   from the real hell below.

 I was still lost as what to do and where to turn. Mrs Bajag had in the mean time rushed to the ticket window, collected the magic, black discs, the tokens to allow us entry to the platform. Each of us got one with instruction, at our own peril, to keep it safe as   the disc had to be dropped in the slot of the barrier at the destination to allow one to exit.

 On   to the platform I was left wondering and amazed at the organized chaos, the cleanliness,  the digital scrolling displays, the announcements in a soothing voice, unlike the squeaky, irritating and incomprehensible announcements on suffered at Railway Stations.

 The Dawrka Metro whooshed in, dot on the time on display and came to a stop, the doors open automatically and we are swept in along with other passengers.

The past veterans   of the Metro quickly find vacant seats, leaving the first time novices like me standing.

 In side the compartment there is crowed but no chaos, commuters, those who could not find a seat, stand holding to the over head handholds all the time looking around for the seat likely to get vacated at the next stop, those sitting appear lost in their own thoughts, some playing with the smart phones other on the mobile involved in some animated conversation. The over keen continue hanging next to the door despite the aural warnings against the risky practice.

Surprisingly the young do vacate the seats for the elderly and I soon become the benedictory of the courtesy.

 I keep watching the goings on in the compartment, at each stop a few   commuters get down and another lot gets in, however at Rajive Choak, the exchange station, it is a different story: a mass exodus replaced by an equally large contingent to and from other lines.

 We anxiously keep watching the display, accompanied by the audio announcement   indicating the next stop till we see Uttam Nagar East on the scrolling display and star gathering near the exit

 A pleasant surprise awaits us in that Girgila is there, to receive and welcome us,   standing right opposite our compartment.

He shepards  us down below  and we are in  back  once again  in Bharat and the accompanied  chaos: buses, both of ancient vintage   and the newer, low floor ones, cars, rickshaw, road side vendors, with their push carts, all vying for the limited space on the track of the road: we are truly back in Bharat.

 On way to Girgila’s place we have to struggle against the surge of humanity from opposite direction, consisting mainly of the young; the youth in a hurry.

 I am surprised to note that it is youth everywhere on the road and more so in the Metro that we have just left.

  As I walk through the swarm of the young, some with backpacks, others with buds in the ear or laptops on the shoulder and mobile in hands, seeing them in such numbers gives me a feeling of high: the young generation, our future also it is a bit frightening with a daunting thought at the back of the mind as to what is going on in their young minds, what are their aspirations, hopes and value system and more impotently what are the opportunities and openings available to them. I do wonder as to how this source of energy is gong to be harnessed.

 We struggle forward , short of confidence, guided by Girgla,  on our  wobbly legs,  with our heart in mouth  some how mange to cross the road, with fast flowing traffic, and reach Girgila’s place for a warm welcome by Kamal, a resident of Arizona whom I meet more often on the Facebook than in person and others.


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