|The Delhi Metro, local train of New Delhi, India|
So I had the unique opportunity to travel long distances for random reasons on convoluted paths of the Delhi Metro. I can explain the use of the word convoluted: for example, if I had to go from point A to B, but the metro went from A to C to D and then to B, I'd happily tag along. It was cheap, had Air Conditioning, and fellow travelers graciously offered free, non-stop entertainment.
So now that I'm missing dilli, I thought I'd write an ode to by far the best place around there: The Women's Coach. I have seen many men standing on one leg, falling on the edges, spilling over the sides of the adjacent coach, staring right in (to the women's coach) of course pretending otherwise, trying hard to pry in on every conversation, so I thought I might as well do them the favor and spill the secret of this magic coach.
So here's the observation: all people aboard the Metro at any instant of time can broadly be classified into either or at best, a combination of, these five prime categories:
- Stare at me, Size me up: This category is predominant: they are sharply dressed, but often have one super shiny, and very-out-of-place accessory on them, almost like a warning signal. Beware, the warning is no use, because by the time you notice the warning, they have noticed you.. Err did I say notice? I meant sized you up from top to bottom, noted all the brands (or lack thereof) that you're wearing, commented on whether the stud around your neck is gold or platinum, decided what 'type' of girl you are, where you live and what you might be up to at that time. They're the hawks and they kill their prey just by staring. So if you're suddenly more uncomfortable than a chicken squirming under butcher's knife, look out for hawk eyes (or the shiny accessory)
- Sleeping Beauty: If you don't find atleast one of this category through your ride, you are probably not travelling long enough. They can be spotted along the edge seats, leaning along the panes, enjoying the bumpy ride, some smiling, some mouth open, (once I even saw one drooling, urgh) all enjoying a a surprisingly peaceful siesta, without a care for the world.
- Sleep walkers: this subtype jumps up at the sound of Rajiv Chowk Metro Station, neatly gets up (wipes away the drool) and walks out like sleep-walking in the metro is the 'in-thing' to do
- Phone Connection: These ones are stuck to their phones. If the battery dies out, they would do anything to get to the one charging point in extreme end of the coach. Anything. And that means, leaning along five rows of people, requesting two other strangers (who happen to be sitting next to the charging point) to hold the wire and keep the connection as she continues to chatter/ text/ both on the amazingly addictive android device. Caution: This type is generally make-up heavy, and smell like Victoria's Secret, which is great, but they also have extremely well exercised jaw muscles. If you look close enough you can see ab-like sick packs right under the chin, a product of hard work from years of non-stop blabber. And yes, the whole metro knows their life history, past boyfriends, current boyfriends, how many people in office are hitting on them, who said what, whether the boss is cute looking, the latest CK sale, how the fruits are too expensive, but the pink MANGO shorts are a steal. Phew.
- Lovers: These are the lovers, they travel in pairs, smile a lot, are obviously well-dressed, believe strongly in PDA, and weirdly enough travel right on the edge of the women's coach. The girl is on women's side, the guy is hanging on the other, and of course the hawk's eyes are hanging in right there. If you know what I mean. (If you don't, go to 1)
- Books and Brew: If there were two seconds between their stop and the now, they'd open a book and read 1.75 words. No kidding, they could be hanging along the ceiling, one hand trying to balance the jerks, back trying to balance a back-pack, feet trying to twitch some space, nose trying to find some air, but eye-balls slithering along pages like a hungry snake advancing towards its prey. As expected, they're the easiest to spot - young, spectacled, (a spectacle themselves), serious, brooding, and not listening to the phone connection (for more, see 3).
(Travellers, please take note, smoking, drinking and eating is not permitted on the Delhi Metro)