They drive us crazy, but also de­serve medals for their en­ter­tain­ing an­tics

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Time Out - SONAL KALRA sonal.kalra@hin­dus­tan­, face­­al­kalraof­fi­cial. Follow on Twit­ter @son­al­kalra

For once, the ti­tle should tell you what this week’s crib is about. The Metro train, or for that mat­ter any pub­lic trans­port, may rightly be the life­line of a city, but is also a por­ta­ble mu­seum of the cranki­est char­ac­ters you’ll ever find. ‘Aap ek Chad­dha ji ke baare mein likhte re­hte ho. You will find 10 dif­fer­ent kinds of Chad­dha jis in the metro,’ said an in­tern in my team. She went on to list some.

Some of my col­leagues, who travel reg­u­larly in the Metro, were also quick to point out the var­i­ous kinds of weirdos they en­counter daily. Ex­cit­edly enough, I went around look­ing for them my­self, and re­alised that such peo­ple might be ir­ri­tants if you have to bear with their an­tics at the end of a hard, ex­haust­ing day, but are also quite the an­swer if you are look­ing for some good, free amuse­ment.

Let’s look at some of the cra­zi­est ones that may be mak­ing you bang your head against pub­lic prop­erty...err... the metro door, but they ac­tu­ally de­serve medals for bring­ing some fun in our drab, daily lives.


The Seat Grab­bers:

Who­ever coined the hum­ble term ‘seat’ would have had a sim­ple mean­ing in mind. That of a place to dump your ass for the while that you are not stand­ing erect like the ex­treme right guy on Dar­win’s evo­lu­tion sketch. I’m sure the fa­ther of English lan­guage wouldn’t have spent more than two sec­onds mulling over this word. Par dekho humne usko kitni im­por­tance de di. For us, the word ‘seat’ ap­plies to ev­ery­thing — from nurs­ery to col­lege ad­mis­sions, from con­certs to Par­lia­ment.

Seat milna, mat­lab life ban gayi. So how can the cit­i­zens of this na­tion not have a deep­rooted pas­sion for get­ting a seat in the pub­lic trans­port? Ho hi nahi sakta nah ki we won’t give our life and blood for grab­bing a seat. We are yo­d­dhas of all sizes, age, race, caste — fight­ing tooth and nail for a seat in the metro. But the best among us are those women, who sud­denly re­alise the weak­ness — and hence the power — of their gen­der when they board. Ek toh re­served coach, then re­served seats also in the gen­eral coach, and then their eyes light up when they’ll spot a two inch gap on any vis­i­bly packed seat. ‘Thoda ad­just kar lo’. Kar lo nah.


The Pole Dancers: You know it’s a great form of ex­er­cise, trust me. The poles in the Metro also have the strength. If you are hugged through the day by peo­ple who have so much love to give, you’ll also be­come strong, no? But what’s with the very lov­ing par­ents of lit­tle kid­dos who let the ap­ple of their eye run through a metro com­part­ment and hang on hand rails as if it’s Appu Ghar gone free? The shriek­ing kids who are en­cour­aged to run through the com­part­ment are also duly sup­plied with packs of chips to eat and throw around by the par­ents, be­cause, you know, the ex­pe­ri­ence of an amuse­ment park pic­nic can’t be left in­com­plete just for lack of snacks. Please re­move that ir­ri­tated look from your of­fice. Bachche bhag­waan ka roop hote hain. Re­peat af­ter me — awwwww.


The Door Lovers: Who says the new gen­er­a­tion is los­ing the sen­ti­ment of true love? Who, who, who? If we can love the door of the metro train with such pas­sion that we can’t bear to get away from it, just imag­ine our ca­pac­ity to love mor­tal be­ings. The an­nounce­ment un­cle can die re­peat­ing po­litely, ‘Dar­wa­zon se hat ke khade hon’, but hum aise thoda akele rehne denge poor doors ko. We’ll cling to them, lean on them, check out our hair­style in their glass, check out tourist sights even when trav­el­ling un­der­ground, but WE WILL NOT GET AWAY FROM THE DOOR. Don’t even ask, it’s too painful. Go and tell the Romeo who’s hang­ing in the vestibule be­tween the two coaches so that his Juliet can com­fort­ably stay in the pink coach for girls and still shout out sweet noth­ings to him, but don’t tell the aam aadmi to step away from the door. It’s a democ­racy, or so at least our so­cial stud­ies ma’am told us.


The Panic Board­ers:

Why should we bother if the ones who have to get down have got out or not? We’ll rush in as soon as the doors open. This way we get to hug strangers, do a high five of faces, and pro­mote brother­hood in gen­eral. Aur thoda panic toh life mein za­roori hai. We can’t be strolling ca­su­ally into a metro train. What if the doors close while we are entering and make a wall hang­ing out of us?


The Snoopy Spies: Put your hand on heart and an­swer me. Jo mazaa dossro ki chat padhne mein hain, woh apni mein nahi. Hai nah? Bolo, bolo. We are proud, snoopy spies who follow the neigh­bour­hood watch pol­icy very strictly by con­stantly peep­ing into the cell phone of the per­son next to us in the metro. Yaar kya pata koi crim­i­nal ho. We need to know nah, what he/ she is chat­ting about. It’s the ques­tion of safety and se­cu­rity. We’ll stop only when we get bored, and thanks to Martin Cooper’s in­ven­tion of 1983 which is also in our own hand, we shall then play loud mu­sic and en­ter­tain the en­tire com­mu­nity of that coach. This is called shar­ing and car­ing. Sa­ma­jhte nahi ho.


The Lug­gage Bear­ers: Yaar ab metro mein jayenge doesn’t mean my two suit­cases and airbag can’t travel with me. If oth­ers have to climb over them to reach their seats, they should pay me for al­low­ing them the ex­pe­ri­ence of ad­ven­ture sports. And by the way, big bags act as ex­tra seats, so even the metro au­thor­i­ties should pay me. I’ve seen peo­ple squat on the floor near the doors. And that’s il­le­gal. Let my bags squat, and then I can squat on them. No rule bro­ken. Life’s beau­ti­ful.

Sonal Kalra wants the gov­ern­ment to an­nounce awards for amus­ing be­hav­iour in pub­lic trans­port. With our sense of hu­mour dy­ing, we need des­per­ate mea­sures. What­say? Mail at

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