I walked into the station and was standing in the queue, waiting for my turn to be frisked by the security deployed. It’s customary here at the Delhi Metro station for the bags to go through screening and the passengers to be frisked before entering.
I was eager to reach home early after a long tiring day. I walked towards the staircase and had to make a split second decision whether to take the escalator or the stairs. Being conscious of my weight loss program, I decided to take the stairs, after all, I only had to descend. Now don’t laugh, it’s always a hard conscious choice that fat people have to make every day. Haha.
While rushing down, I saw the train approaching. I was relieved to have arrived at the platform just in time and I jumped inside as soon as the doors opened. I was glad to have found a seat empty and I gently rested myself, put my phone and wallet inside my bag and leaned back to give myself some rest.
After a while, I dived into my bag to pick a book to read, I was so engrossed reading it that I didn’t pay any heed to the announcements. Suddenly, I heard ‘The next station is Ashram’. I went a little puzzled, I have been using the same line of the metro for the past 10 days and this station was unheard of.
I presumed to have heard the announcement wrong, so my natural instincts made me turn to my fellow passenger and I terrifyingly asked him, “Bhaiya (Bro) will this train go to Azadpur?”
His expressions changed my facial expressions. And I was too late to realize that hurriedly I had boarded the train going in the opposite direction. An evening of rest had suddenly turned into a space of unrest.
I disembarked at Ashram station and dragged my legs across the other side of the platform. The display board gleamed with orange lights and it read – Next Train – 3:00 minutes arrival.
Usually, three minutes pass in a jiffy, but when you are tired it feels like an eternity. But in those three minutes, a stranger suddenly seemed like a friend, empathizing with me and helping me understand the different lines of the metro and suggesting that I download the metro app to make my travel easier. He readily pulled his phone from the pocket and started to show me how to navigate and browse through the app.
As he had finished, the right train rolled into the station and I waved him bye with a big smile and a warm thank you.
A three-minute talk with a stranger is all I needed to build on my belief and hope that my journey and experience in Delhi will be as beautiful as the residents of this bustling city.