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The Metro Platform

As the caption goes, in this post are embedded all clicks forbidden. We are not supposed to take pictures inside the Metro. However, I shall reiterate what I have said earlier. Metro is the microcosm of the urbanscape. A thought that always overbears the mind as I step inside the mammoth structure of brick and mortar, whichever part of the city, be it standing tall and proud. A few decades back, the quintessential Delhites could never have imagined an overhead (or for that matter underground) network of reptilian tubes crisscrossing the cityscape in a deceptively languorous gait, (seen from afar), carrying an overload of daily commuters from one end of the city to the other. The imposing corridors of metallic tracks efficiently weaving through ever busy roads choked with traffic. With the advent of Metro, life has taken a surprise turn for the better. A technological leverage which at first intimidated, then stunned by its continued and meticulous adherence to systemic routine and gradually made the daily runners over dependent on its comfort carriage. I have often written about my daily journeys to and fro office by the Metro. The well maintained concourses, the frugality of space inside the overburdened coaches, the hustle and bustle, the push and pull, the jolts and jostles and a shift in commuting culture, though painfully slow, yet indicative of a welcome transformation in the behavioural pattern of an irreverent crowd habituated to rowdiness and unruliness. Above all, a growing pride for a much needed breakthrough in the transportation system which not only saved time but also provided a cleaner, cooler and more hygienic travel in the midst of heat and dust and a pollution coughing city. Similarly, during the freezing cold of extreme winter, the jungle of human bodies stashed inside the bogies provided a warmth which might not have overflowed from the four chambers of beguiled hearts, yet was good enough to make one feel cozy (even if for a very short span of time), while the mercury outside alarmingly tipped towards zero.In short, the metro fascinates me. So do the motley of crowd, I lose myself in, the known and the unknown faces, I bump into, though just for a while, yet long enough to leave a lingering impact and imprint on an impressionable mind always on the lookout for stories to tell. In anonymity lies strength, in ambivalence a quest for definitiveness. Lost I find my way.

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The Screaming Pointer

The shocking pink arrow drawn ostentatiously on the grey-green platform with “ Women Only” super scribed on it, earmarks the point where the Ladies Coach (the first one adjacent to the driver’s cabin) comes to an unerring halt. Most of the pics have been taken from this vantage point. No brownie points for guessing why.The glass doors slide open to usher in a rush of not so dainty or demure steps. During peak hours the exodus borders on stampede. There have been occasions when the de-boarders were unceremoniously pushed to the ground and ruthlessly trampled over eliciting violent outbursts like “abhi haath lag jaayega toh chillaaogi” from irate members of the opposite sex. If you ask me that shade of magenta is a bit too garish in a bid to be eye-catching. Still some boarders are daft enough to overlook the ‘screaming’ pointer incurring the wrath of the femme fatale. The resultant whiplashes of the verbose kind, admirably eloquent and laden with chosen expletives, sprinkle an extra dash of spicy garnish to an otherwise insipid rut of the day.To that extent, the colour pink with all its indulgent shades, inarguably synonymous with the feminine gender of yore, today exemplify a mistaken identity. Frankly, I have forgotten when I did blush last! For all you know, the pink arrow is a dubious indicator to an obsolete quintessence. For the romantically inclined it may be a rueful remembrance of a bygone era of coquettish charm, fluttering lashes, tremulous lips and faint hearts. But now, as the black belt is tightened around a waist size zero, the colour pink retrieves its steps hurriedly back to the palette…!!!

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The Human Spill-Over

Coming back to my co-commuters – men and women lost in the respective worlds of their making – do look at times like stranded animals in a closed bio-park waiting patiently for a sudden release. A pack of laggards who should have vacated the premise much earlier but had somehow stayed on forgetful of the notional time of departure. Sounds terrible and I don’t know why I said that but as I stare harder at this pic the feeling of some kind of a human spill-over takes stronger and deeper hold on my imagination. A spill-over which we can do well without….In saying so, I might have as well included myself in that humongous throng!!!!

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The Cro Magnon Man Courtesy Wikipedia

 Notwithstanding, the flicker of discomfort which an unexpected revelation induces, at times it is good to retreat to the roots and recollect, with a certain sense of embarrassment, the fact that we are the evolved (?) successors of the Cro Magnon Man (early homo sapiens), valiantly trying to claim superiority over the endless expanse of cosmic creation, mistaking the tireless effort to be divinely pre-calculated or a blunder unparalleled, whichever.

An act of disobedience, needless to say, is surreptitious. The clicks could have been spectacular had I had the liberty to shoot openly with more exotic and goes-without-saying-more-expensive lenses. With a palm-held insignificant looking device and the enormity of pretenses that went with the underhand job, was, without doubt, shameful. A slight press of the thumb on the centre button did it while I indulged in award winning acts of reading smses or vacantly admiring a way out-dated model (Please don’t ask me the no.) from various angles. Had a talent scout been on, I could have seriously bagged a few lucrative offers for showcasing my prowess – more in the line of befooling the Authorities than any other serious competence worthy of a mention. In so far as the pictures are concerned, given the masterly sleight of, I should say, fingers, nothing better could be expected than the ones put up here. And that, mind it, is not a boast of a braggart but just a factual statement.

Whatever alternates, there could have been to exploit or ignore, the fact remains, I did take potshots, in the literal sense of the term, as and when opportunity or the lack of it prevailed. My favourite amongst these is this one.

https://panaecea.wordpress.com

The Silver Caterpillar

My uncle, an ace photographer himself, always criticized the lack of light or the total absence of object in my shots. More on that some other time!! Still, incorrigible that I am, whenever I glimpse the silver caterpillar-like-tube crawling into the platform my fingers itch to capture its mechanical beauty and grace. Its sedate glide through the archway, the perfect halt and the patient wait till the bipeds flooding her gleaming interiors have settled themselves in even if that means crashing into each other’s perspiring carcasses, oops, sorry, bodies. A few of the shining glass windows lining the compartments are hideously cracked from one corner to the other – ugly scars like lightening cutting across a smooth contour . Handiwork of mobs gone berserk the day she was inaugurated and in their frenzied excitement did what they should never have done – vandalized history leaving a defaced page behind!

My wayward ramblings easily careen close to those aggressive builders of civilizations who have on one hand created spell binding constructs of almost godly perfection and the next moment shattered them into smithereens putting an untimely end to a saga of toil and sweat in a mood of utter intolerance and those mute watchers who have witnessed the spectacle in awe, apathy or a premonitory sense of impending doom ruminating over the chronology of destruction with hard-earned detachment – the former the scribe of doers and devastators; the latter the survival seekers and chroniclers of passage of time immemorial. Yes, the human species, for and on whom the city thrives, gives me enough fodder to chew on, several would say, meaninglessly, but as I say, it is the meaninglessness that gathers momentum in the cerebral creeks of a diehard gazer whose everyday meanderings may have lost its sheen. Still rows on the canoe on heavily sedimented beds of stilled time. Who knows what brews underneath the sedentary surface? Perhaps a contrast of currents deeper and restive… a sleeping volcano!!! Time shall tell…

To be continued…

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About gc1963

A working woman with interests in reading, writing, music, poetry and fine arts.

24 responses »

  1. Damyanti says:

    Love the vividness of the post…letting your imagination run wild in the metros can have its benefits!

    Like

  2. I think its fascinating looking at the metro systems and some of the art work and architecture of them. Some can be very beautiful! I also like to look at what the passengers are reading as I get many of my next books to read from observing on the metros!

    Like

  3. magiceye says:

    Love your narration!!

    Like

  4. jmathur says:

    It’s a painting made of words Geeta Ji. And a beautiful painting for sure. Since the words – ‘To be continued’ are there at the end of it, your readers (who are your admirers) have to wait for its sequel.

    Please do come up with the next installment at the earliest possible for you.

    Regards.

    Jitendra Mathur

    Like

  5. malinymohan says:

    the writing is so flawless geetaji. and hat off to your observation! truly marvellous the way you have churned out so many thoughts revolving the metro. Loved it ma’m 🙂

    Like

  6. Panchali says:

    Forbidden fruits are sweetest, Geetashree. No wonder, the pics are so sooo good!! Railway-walas will be all to happy to see such tidy platforms….Don’t worry!! Take more pics…next time!!
    I wish, delhi had these metros during my college/university days. Things could have been so much easier. Our DTC U-spls were good…but, they were too noisy, uncomfortable with rowdy crowds! Am going to delhi next week…and I intend to visit a metro station …posiitively this time!!
    Waiting for more…beautifully written, as always!

    Like

    • U-Spls were a nuisance. I had very bitter experiences in those DTC buses. You’d be happy to know that the Metro has made way into the University Area and students form a major chunk of the crowd of commuters. Welcome in advance to the city and do visit the metro, but not during peak hours, if possible!

      Like

  7. My Say says:

    the shocking pink arrow .. had shocked me and the entire metro system when i first visited Delhi … and the announcement of MIND THE GAP !! dont mind its hilarious .. mind the gap ??? thats what Delhites hate doing !! haha Kolkatan you see .. Delhi metros are better ‘ei kotha ta mene newa jaye na eto sohoje’ so i found Delhi metros very odd . 🙂
    mechanical beauty of caterpillar like metro train ( as we call them here) wow !!! amazing ly described …

    a sleeping volcano ….!!

    is that who u are, gifted with imagination unbound and the ability to pen it down smoothly ???

    Like

    • Well, I suppose you have to understand the system keeping in mind the milieu. In an insurgency based cosmopolitan backdrop wherein no particular community culture predominates such instructions like “Mind the gap” though hilarious becomes a necessity. And as I have mentioned in my post a crowd notorious for its mob behaviour, more so!

      Without entering into the debate about which one is better, I would say metro has changed the face of the Capital and made commuting much much easier given the vast expanse that we have to traverse which includes inter-state travel on a daily basis. Earlier, I was posted in NOIDA which is in UP and my residence was in Delhi ( not New Delhi, mind it) and the connectivity was extremely poor. With the metro, things have become so much more comfortable!!! Many of my colleagues travel to and fro Gurgaon i.e. Haryana. Without the metro attending office would be unthinkable given the on-road traffic and the time taken to commute.

      Err…sleeping volcano….not exactly, but definitely mellowed by age! 🙂

      Thanks for your appreciation…

      Like

      • My Say says:

        no denying metro has made life very very easy in Delhi Gurgaon and Noida interconnecting them all .. wish the whistles of night guards would have prevented thieves from penetrating homes !! its just a way of befooling the heart – the way Aamir said in 3 idiots … All is Well … wish just coz they announce – Mind the Gap ! 🙂 With the last line about age .. u gave me a hint for yet another rule of life ..expect it soon as a post 🙂

        Like

      • Agreed!

        Another post……………???? 🙂

        It seems you have come to know me well now…

        Like

  8. umashankar says:

    Terrorism has killed many a joy of human existence, not to speak of the innocent lives, photography being one of them. I have had some unsavoury brushes with the overzealous guardians of sanity. It is one of the reasons why my camera remains languishing in airtight cabinets.

    You have captured humanity at its visceral best. The vacuousness of it all reminds me of Albert Camus.

    Like

    • Overzealous indeed! And a whole lot of zest misplaced when unfortunate occurences evade timely prevention! No, but please take the camera out…am sure your photography will be as picturesque as your wordcraft.

      Feel proud when you visit my posts!!!

      Like

  9. Lovely narration . I do lot of forbidden photography in temples especially deities

    Travel India

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  10. Enjoyed the play of light and shades! wonderfully narrated and the photographs were aptly juxtaposed. You are just perfect- both with the written word and the image!!

    You were right- metro becomes the “microcosm of the urbanscape.” In endless motion. How impersonal. how magical it feels at times to lose oneself in the hustle and bustle of those anonymous faces and bodies!

    Keep posting!

    Like

    • gc1963 says:

      Deeptangshu you are like a breath of fresh breeze which brings in intoxicating fragrance embalming the mind heart and soul. Thanks for all of your effusive comments. You always fill me up with a new hope and zest to write more! Thanks once again…

      Like

  11. Indrani says:

    Terrific narration, I got hooked to it.
    About light in photography, I feel it is a challenge to shoot in low light and get good frames too. I liked your stolen metro captures, inspires me to do something like that. 😉

    Like

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