Visited Delhi after some months.
And found it to be a bit different from the last time.
The morning of 21st July, as I walked into the walkers-park in Vasant Kunj, I could sense a certain reduction of aggression. I didnt see the usual bouncers powering their way down the walking paths. No sign of the ladies walking with a dumbbell in each hand. Nor the men talking of “Proprty”, “Scyorty” and ‘sirf 2 krode’ type of transactions. There was some sullenness in the air. Perhaps it was the weather. The monsoon has been playing hide and seek. Politics, more likely. The parliament goes for the trust vote the next day. The walkers who crossed me (without running me over) were discussing stuff like ‘inflation’, and ‘peepal dont understand the consequences of what would happen if Ekaanmist Prime Mnister were to lose the trust vote at this stage…impact will be jabaradast’!
Afternoon saw me take off with my friend Ravi, with no real destination in mind. I told him that I hadnt been in the Metro Rail. So lets go, said he. We drove down to Santral Saktriat, to the railway station near Krishi Bhavan. Went down to the underground station, and after some discussion, bought tickets to Chandni Chowk. It was a different city underground. If I had woken up here, I wouldn’t have known that this was India. Except for the crowds of course. The station itself was quite neat. Systems and signs were simple and sufficient. And within a few minutes the train zoomed in.
Here’s a picture.
From Saktriat to Chandni Chowk was just about fifteen minutes or so. Incredible. At a station called Rajiv Chowk, a whole lot of people charged in. (Rajiv Chowk is the new name of CP a.k.a K-Naat place)..The bogey became full… Passengers going to DU (Delhi University)… We got off at Chandni chowk station…walked up the stairs and into Old Delhi. I couldnt help marveling at the engineering behind the making of metro. An underground station in the heart of Old Delhi…Made without inconveniencing people and commerce…We walked down the one and only Chandni chowk. Bowed at the entrance of Sis Ganj Gurdwara, where the great Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred…Wahe Guru!
The heart of the street hasnt changed, although you do see a McDonalds or a Coffee Day shop…Ravi asked for some directions from a roadside mendicant…The street hawkers selling odds and ends, the ice-cream-wala selling Kulfi ice cream, and the LIC office with some sales staff sitting outside – desk outside the main door – a special sales campaign for a new scheme that is meant for “funds for your children”. A good number of prospects were crowding there. Many shops had their salesmen standing outside, chanting sales-slogans: ‘teen teen rupye mein…aaiye…aaiyee…teen teen rupya’… Oh, it was just wonderful to be there…We walked to the Gowri Shankar Mandir – a Siva temple that is hundreds of years old… But there was a long line of devotees queueing up for Darshan. The queue was spilling a long way on the chandni chowk pavenent.Lousdpeakers were making announcements…It was all very orderly, but pretty crowded…
We took the train back to Saktriat…The crowds got off at Rajiv Chowk…
Metro is the best thing that happened to Delhi, since Independence, I think. “Varaprasaadam” (Boon), said someone, about the metro, looking skywards. E Sreedharan, the man behind the metro, deserves every accolade that is there in the dictionary. He has performed a miracle. “No corruption at all…Not a whiff”, said a person I know, who was pitching to supply some equipment to the Metro rail corporation. That in itself is a miracle. A recent report in the press said that the Metro now ferries over 725,000 passengers every single day. Three cheers to the Metro!
Here are a couple of pictures of the inside of the metro train….
Very changaa, naheen?
…. To be contd …
Tags: Delhi Metro