Friday, February 20, 2009

Delhi Metro: A Taste of the Good Life!

I had been back to New Delhi (where I had previously stayed and studied for six years) for a few days after a period of four years. Nothing much had changed. Or it seemed so, until I boarded the Delhi Metro for the first time in my life. For a mere seven rupees I could go from Mandi House to Chandi Chowk, quite apart in distance. The trains are new and sparkling clean. Not to mention, that all the compartments are air conditioned. It is a taste of the good life that one usually gets only in the most developed parts of the world; and at such little cost! Inside the train, I saw people of all kinds, traveling to their various destinations. I even saw a man wearing a torn shirt standing right beside me. Of course, there were the others too with their latest cellular phones chattering or mailing away. But for all, it is a taste of the good life that is hard to come by once outside on the dusty polluted corridors of the capital. Two things came to my mind immediately when I came back and started thinking about my experience. One was the low price of the tickets that makes it possible for almost every common man to use the services. Secondly, I wondered what the government could achieve by subsidizing such extravagant services (as it may very well be the case from the poor man’s point of view). The government may be running this service at a great cost, but it seems they have become wiser over the years about what to subsidize. This ONE experience gives the poorest a taste of the good life that I have been harping on since the very beginning of this passage. And it gives dreams, the power to dream, to live in an India that is clean and developed and punctual. Nothing can show the masses better the real difference between the ordinary lives that they lead and the life that they could lead when India becomes a rich and powerful nation. Not the least of all was the kindly behavior of some people who actually got up from their seats to give it to the elderly or other women fellow passengers. A new India in the making? Well, kudos to the people who planned and got the Metro going! They have proved their subtlety in their mission. In certain ways, India is firmly on the road ahead. Very democratic. When people realize the difference, few people will want to go back to the old dusty ways. So they will not vote for any government that does not make clean things. Or will they?

Cutting edge technology: It uses the best escalator technology in the world. It has been specially designed so that the edges of sarees (traditional dress worn my women in India) do not get entangled in the moving steps of the escalators. Necessity is the mother of invention! I don't think escalators in Japan have that technology. Traditional women's wear is driving technology! Great isn't it! Of course, I am not asking all women to wear sarees!


  1. Well, I have never been to Delhi and hence have never set my eyes upon the Delhi Metro. But, from what I gather from your post, the Delhi Metro seems to me like the "melting pot" - that is India - albeit at a micro level.

  2. Roshmi,
    Development throughout the world has been at the micro level. I plan to write on this later.

  3. this is indeed a reflection of broadening of thinkng as well.....educated indians rising to recognise the changing face of india....afer all india is not all about slumdogs!!keep going...

  4. Every country has the down trodden. As long as we keep working to uplift their lives we are on the right track. There is a saying in Bengali which has come originally from Sanskrit. The person who has loved his fellow beings is the person who has worshipped God. That is my translation. Some coutries need to hide their underbelly. We can do better. We will admit it and also show them that we have a better side as well. What do you say?

  5. RE: Cutting edge technology - Perhaps the folks managing Delhi Metro did not want to be 'saree' or say 'saree' to anyone after any mishap!

    "Necessity is the mother of invention!" Very true, and in India most mothers wear sarees!