Metro- the engine that empowers
As you enter the aisle, the flashy fluorescent signboards are only a prelude to the dazzle that you are just about to experience. The digital camera scans your electronic ticket and permits your entry inside and you step into the escalator and glide down to the underground platform in the cool air-conditioned comforts. A cursory glance around suggests that this could well be an international mall; shops selling trendy accessories, pizza joints, internet cafe’ and an array of refreshment kiosks offering anything from coke to cappuccino. And as you stand mesmerized by the ambiance, a rolling beauty in sparkling silver almost quitely slips amongst you and slides open its doors. A soft voice announces its arrival and the destination that it would take you to. You seamlessly drift into cabin and find yourself in a decor of exquisite craftsmanship and speckless cleanness. The station moves backwards and then you realise that it’s the cabin that your are in that’s moving forward, almost without a whisper.
This could as well be the description of a sub-urban station somewhere in downtown Manhattan or in Frankfurt city centre. But when you realise it’s the Kashmere Gate metro station in the old walled city of Delhi, you cannot but feel proud of our progress. Metro is just one more symbol that proclaims that India has arrived. And in style!
Delhi Metro is very much a work in progress. But it’s already criss-crossing a substantial part of the national capital transporting thousands of commuters daily, much to the relief of the over-stretched road system. With fully air-conditioned coaches and a network of other feeder services, public travel has never been so comfortable, indeed enjoyable, in the city. As Delhi quickly adopts to this changing landscape of public transport, the drudgery of daily travel is finally behind many of the capital’s denizens.
But there are other spin-offs that the Metro has conferred to the city that has almost gone unnoticed by the media. It is now emerging as a vehicle of integrating people who hitherto has lived in separate communities unconnected to each other. Veiled Musilm women, for instance, many of whom have never ventured outside the confines of the walled city, are today seen in large numbers, shopping or just strolling in Connaught Place & in Karol Bagh, thanks to the Metro that gives instant access to these places. And people from Vikas Puri and Rohini just hop into the Metro and travel to Chandi Chowk to enjoy the delicacies that the Parathe Wale Gali has to offer. This has opened up the floodgate to explore, understand and appreciate each other better and thereby make priceless contribution in strengthening and cementing inter-community relationships. And with the Metro now crossing over to the nearby Noida, this intregration of the hearts and minds would only become more pronounced in the days and months to come.
Hail the Metro!
Entry filed under: Literary.