Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Metropolitan to 'Metro-pollutan'

Note: This article was originally published in The Viewspaper. Click here to read the original article.

It has been over half an hour since I have been standing in the queue. I have left 7 metro trains and still just managed to reach half the distance where I started from.
"Please do not push the passengers while boarding and de-boarding the train"
Even as the lady with a robotic voice repeated the golden lines, as soon as a train entered the platform, a horde of blind hooligans who were pretending to be in line, break the line and come right in front of the doors. Not amused by their cheek, the two passenger lines close-in on them to prevent them from getting inside first.
  • The Elderly are fighting hard to save themselves a seat inside.
  • The women who are not using the Ladies' coach are saving their children from the mob, sheltering them under their dhupattas.
  • The 'Professionals' prefer to remain at the end of the line to keep their formals wrinkle-free.
  • The student community - with backpacks and earphone wires flying about - drag along like silt particles in a fast flowing river.
What these 4 groups don't realize is that when the doors open, similar 4 groups will try to make their way out of the train. Everyone is in a hurry. The doors open and there's pandemonium.

We talk daily about how Delhi Metro is becoming the life-line of the capital. A daily on-goer will tell you how superficial this statement is. Either one of - the maddening rush, the jam-packed passenger cars, the fight for the seats, people standing on your feet, men staring at you(if you're a woman), sweaty men sticking their armpits in your face - is bound to happen on your daily ride and you will come out of the metro, cursing! But, we can't accuse others much more than ourselves.

Before the Ladies' Coach
  • Men and women rushed and pushed alike to save their seats.
  • Men sat on 'women reserved seats' and women asked for their 'Right'.
  • Sweaty armpits were faced by both men and women.
  • With women in almost every passenger car, the gender ratio didn't seem as bad.
After the Ladies' Coach
  • Women have a separate coach which is not as crowded as the common coaches.
  • Only men rush and push to save their seats
  • There are still 'women reserved seats'. Men are still sitting on them and women are still demanding for their 'Right'.
  • Sweaty men armpits - faced by just other men. Quite gay!
  • With most women in a separate coach, it looks like a sausage fest in every other coach. Men staring at other men.
  • Men enter the Ladies' coach, some deliberately, some in a rush(unknowingly) - all of whom are fined and sometimes brutally beaten up by security and other female passengers.
The point I am making is - if one talks of "Equality", it should not cause Chauvinism. When I say Chauvinism, I talk of perfectly able women demanding for their 'Right' when a student is studying for his exam or an elderly person could not find himself another seat or a person sleeping and not aware of what the women are planning to get him out of his seat. The regular announcements made by DMRC are for the people's benefit themselves. When DMRC is taking pains to manage the rush by increasing the number of coaches, why don't we support them with proper behavior and code of conduct?

I have left another metro and now I am the first in line. I will board the next one and I can patiently wait for it. Can you?

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