by Yashna Paliya, Batch of 2017
If you have ever travelled by the Metro, chances are that you’d have encountered more enigmatic personalities here than you’d have had anywhere else in the world. It’s really a bizarre melange of people who continue to provide me with unending entertainment. Shall we begin?
1. The verbose auntie. She is the ‘jaan of the women’s coach’ and shutting up has never been in her genes. She has to talk about everything and take in her daily dose of gossip in THIS VERY METRO. Never mind the people who are trying to study for their Physics practical or are immersed in their own important work, array bhai, her maid ran off with the padosi ka driver. God forbid, people miss out on this very important nugget of information and Pammi auntie’s dukh and dard! Et tu, Kanta baai?
2. The I-am-so-busy-and-everybody-else-is-worthless female. While everybody is quietly sitting in the Metro (except of course, Pammi aunty), this woman struts in her impossibly high heels and stands in a corner because obviously the seats are too lowly for Her Highness. She is perpetually buried in her BlackBerry (duh!) and looks up only to throw condescending looks and then goes back to her ‘very’ important work that obviously runs the very company. And then she struts out. Whattay legend.
3. The large bunch of college goers. They are loud, they are crass and they discuss the most random blabber you can come up with. You’ll stand there wondering what hit you. I have been tortured by “Blue Diwali lights look best, ya”. “I think my boyfriend is cheating on me *sob*sob*” “And then, I was like, excuse me, do you even like, know who I am?” and the list goes on. So pop in those earphones. Or eavesdrop, it’s much more fun.
4. The Metro couples. These infamous personalities can usually be found standing at the junction of the women’s coach and the general coach. They’re all smiles and giggles and “Yes, Jaanu,” and the very source of discomfort for everyone in their vicinity. So please, all those of you who can’t keep your hands off each other, stop PDA-ing your way into the Metro. Get a room. Or a park.
5. The pretenders. These are the people who sit on either women’s seats or the ones designated for the old and physically handicapped. And when women or the old and physically handicapped come to claim what’s rightfully theirs, they pretend to be asleep. To add to their little act, they also have their earphones plugged in, to make it completely foolproof. These little tales usually have unhappy endings with the aforementioned group vigorously shaking the culprits to sad reality.
6. The book worm or phone addict. This is the best cohort of people on the Metro. They mind their own business, buried in a smartphone or a book. They only look up occasionally to check the current station and resume their work. God bless their souls.
7. The preacher. They take the Gandhian quote “Be the change you want to see in the world” a little too seriously. From asking people to get up for pregnant ladies to the propaganda of the virtues of the bible and helping Bittoo shape his career, this person has taken the onus of maintaining law and order in the coach on him/herself. Kya yeh rishtey mein humare baap lagte hain?
8. The regular delinquent. Sitting on the floor? Check. Eating maa ke haath ka baingan ka bhartha? Check. Listening to ‘Yo Yo Honey Singh’ at full volume? Check. These people blatantly break all the rules that the poor announcer keeps reiterating. “Please do not befriend any unknown person.” Sorry ma’am, the heart’s gotta do what the heart’s gotta do.
9. The licentious lecher. They (almost always men) ogle, even if they are in a different coach altogether. Staring you down is their birth right and they shall have it. They seem to have absolutely no work other than invading in their fellow passengers’ personal space. Get a life.
10. The impatient pusher. They push when their station is next, they push when they get in and all hell breaks loose when they get out. Patience isn’t something they learnt in school , evidently. These are the people who absolutely have to ask every soul present in the coach, “Aapko utarna hai?”. Everyone gets off at Rajiv Chowk. Just chill.
11. The seat stealer. As soon as the Metro arrives, they have their target locked; the empty seat. Ek baar jo commitment kar di, phir toh yeh Metro officials ki bhi nahi sunte. They push and pull and jostle and abuse their dedh kilo ke haath ka privilege. After all, all is fair in love and war. And God forbid, you take their seat, you will be asked to shift until they fit themselves in that 5mm of space that is left. Bon voyage.
12. The sleeping beauty. These poor souls seem to be bereft of a 14th century invention at home: the bed. Throughout the journey they will be sleeping away to glory on your shoulder or their neighbour’s. They only wake up a couple of times, disoriented, only to ask, “What station is it?” and doze off. Let sleeping dogs lie.
13. The I-am-not-well. These shameless specimens walk around the Metro with a (fake?) limp, searching for victims. They either have a splitting headache, an incorrigible back pain or a perennial fever. “Excuse me, I am not well. Please, shift.” These are the usual excuses you hear. And God alone can save you if you don’t ‘shift’.
14. The sparkling conversationalist. I may be buried in a book, or have my earphones popped in, but this person sitting next to me conveniently chooses to ignore all such signs. They unleash the conversationalist in them with full force upon me and expect me to reply to how her dog pooped on her bed yesterday. I am evidently disinterested in engaging in a conversation about your car, dog or house, so go speak with Pammi aunty instead.
15. The one with all the bags. These people, who seem to be packed for a 10 day phoren trip to Bangladesh, have their innumerable bags strewn all over the coach. People hurrying in and out of the Metro keep tripping themselves on these bags, but does it affect the proud proprietor? Absolutely not. Instead he rummages one of his many bags for a packet of chips and sits back, and enjoys the show.
It is common knowledge that this list is incomplete, and it always will be. There will be newer people getting on the Metro each day with pet peeves different than mine. Also, I forgot people who stand in the doorways and don’t get off. And clip their nails. Just, NO.