The second best thing that Delhi Metro authorities did, after creating the superb lifeline for all Dilliwallahs, was to reserve the first coach of every metro for ladies (they should ideally make this two or three). It’s a safe, secure space – the men-deprived coach – that offers happy entertainment with all the idiosyncrasies of a ‘ladies only’ bunch in, say, a girls’ locker room… you know, like someone’s doing her makeup, one is feeding her baby, one is lost in a world of her own, you get the drift. There are others who stand out and catch your attention:
“I need space”
The size of their butt is inversely proportional to the surface area of the very little empty space you can see on the seat. “Thoda side hona (shift a little),” they’ll say, and attempt to sit – practically on your lap. They’ll go on ‘adjusting’ till someone on the bench leaves or gets up in surrender.
These are the ones sitting or standing quietly with their gazes fixed on you every time you look their way. Inside their heads, they are thinking: “Iski dress meri dress se white kaise (not translatable unless you have seen certain detergent ads)”. Or they may be judging whether you’ll make a good bahu (daughter-in-law). Or they are mentally seeking the true meaning of life. What else explains the pensive face staring at you?
Kitty Party Queens
They come in groups of at least five, carry big bags, and laugh and talk loud enough for everyone to know how much fun they had eating paranthas and chaat at Chandni Chowk, or at Mrs Khanna’s place or wherever it is that they had their grand ‘kitty party’. Gossip about Renu or Chumki, plans for next Tuesday afternoon and updates of TV soaps are other highlights of their insightful conversations.
Always found lost to a book or a newspaper, you often hear them go, “Oh shit,” when they realise they forgot to get down at their station. Very occasionally, these are university students, finishing last-minute ‘studies’ during exams. Equally engrossed are the ones with portable music, seen tapping their feet or fingers, and sometimes even shaking their bodies. They can be generous when they turn the volume high so you can also enjoy strains of the Beatles or AR Rehman. (The nastier ones subject you to Himesh Reshammiya and Justin Bieber.)
The Antsy Aunty
It’s her first metro ride or else auntyji is generally anxious. She wrestles for something to hold on to as soon as she enters. She’ll push you, will keep fidgeting with her purse, and be restless all along. She’ll prod everyone, and ask to make space for her to exit: “Esscuse! Aapko utarna hai (are you getting off)?” at least two stations in advance – as if the Metro authorities have announced a prize on a first-come-first-go basis. Chill and enjoy the ride, auntyji! •
Atelier Diva Feb issue 2013.....>>>)