It’s the starting station on a Saturday afternoon. So it’s quieter than the usually more busy interchange stations on working weekdays. There’s a Waterpark nearby that is playing loud obnoxious music 🎶 to which disinterested people are dancing 💃 disinterestedly.
The train just arrived and despite there being no crowd people rush in to secure their favourite place to sit. I look right and left to observe this minimalistic chaos and decide to let it pass before I hunt for my spot on the train 🙄
The first thing you notice when you enter the local metro is the diverse fashion choices that people make. From shirts 👔 to worn-out tees 👕, kurta, denim 👖 of all kinds and shoes 👟 👠 👢, oh my! The variety of shoe people have these days makes me doubt my overstocked shoe rack.
A guy is sitting on end from me, speaking softly on the phone 📱 probably with the love of his life (at least I’d like to believe that) and opposite him sits a man in his forties discussing dinner 🍽️ options at the top of his lungs, probably with his wife in a tone that’s beyond my understanding.
Three stations have passed and the train is now almost full with no seats remaining. It has also started to smell like a fish 🐟 market at this point.
Summers in India can be quite rough even in an air-conditioned metro and you get to experience varieties of smells ranging from sweat, alcohol, farts, foods, despair and anger. Yupp, you can smell anger if you’re travelling in the Delhi metro 👃 😶🌫️
A guy just sat next to me and is now unapologetically staring 👀 right at my phone as I type this. I stare right back at him and he’s quite taken aback. Perplexed, he decides to get up and move, vacating the place next to me.
The girl opposite me is watching Instagram reels on speaker. She’s well dressed and appears to be from an affluent background. I guess that makes it ok to blast insta music 🎶 in a public confined space.
A newlywed couple 👫 just entered. Yeah, in India you can tell newlyweds by the way they dress and the Heena on the girl’s body and the vermilion in her hair. Oh look, they’re holding hands as the judgy ladies and uncles give them a judgement look 🤨
There’s a group of boys standing at the door probably out for a boy’s day or something. And every time the metro doors open a strong gush of wind comes along loaded with axe Deo spray. How awful do they smell?
By the way, the instal girl just left and a policewoman 👮 has taken her place. For some reason, people are actively avoiding the spot now. A tall guy is standing a couple of feet away from me gorging on a sandwich 🥪 . It looks like his breakfast because he just woke up and came straight from bed to ride the train.
A guy is watching an old classic Bollywood action movie 🎬 . How do I know? Because he’s blasting it on speakers. And everyone around him is watching along. There’s a cluster around him. Strangers watching a movie together on a train, how poetic.
The newlyweds found a corner seat and are now laughing and giggling. Oh, to be young and in love! Now there are no vacant seats at all and people have started picking their poles. The pole they want to hold on to as they stand. People are also walking around to see if they can coerce someone into giving up their seat. Mostly elderly (ish) like people in their 50s (no offense). They give a nice stair down to the relatively young folks guilting them into standing up. But there are a few shameless ones like me who feel they’re more tired than a senior citizen and just won’t budge. It’s a scam!
Someone just walked in with takeaway Chinese food 🍜. Now the whole “compartment” smells like chicken Manchurian and triple schezwan fried rice. The smells I tell you, they are something.
And now beings a game of musical chairs. At every station as the people get off, there’s a race for the empty seat they leave behind. There’s a game of strategy, where you need to sharply observe body language and anticipate their move in advance. So that you can inch closer to the person who’s about to get off at the next station and capture their throne 💺.
The train just went underground. The Bollywood action movie seems to have stopped playing due to a lack of a network. The cluster of strangers has now dispersed (sort of) staring into infinity, trying to think of a new activity to do until the movie resumes.
Almost everyone has their earphones 🎧 on. Maybe I should put on mine too. But no, I’m observing. And sounds are an important part of observation. But I do look like a creep, staring at these people who have no idea what I’m writing about them. Maybe just the one guy knows who stared right into my 📱 I don’t think he’s going to tell anyone 🤫
I’m at my stop now, so I’ll have to get down. I’m preparing myself to navigate the crowd of incoming people while simultaneously protecting myself from being trampled by the outgoing crowd. I have to get down at one of the busiest intersections. Fingers crossed 🤞 🤞
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