Commuting and travelling is both a bane and a boon of the modern times. While traffic jams and road rages indicate the temperament of the modern man, smoother rides like the Metro are instances of the wonders that can be achieved when brains are applied in the right places.
‘Namma Metro’ is an integral part of Bengaluru now and everyday, thousands of people hop onto the train to travel long or short distances. With an eclectic mix of people in a confined space, stories galore and experiences, both good and bad, abound.
Manu Gopinath shares one such experience. “I was travelling with my cousin in the Metro, which was quite crowded. Suddenly she started shouting, saying that someone took her phone from the pocket of her shrug. Immediately there was a huge commotion inside the compartment. We tried her number and we could hear it ringing somewhere near us. We looked at the people standing right next to her and zeroed in on a guy who was looking nervous. I pushed my way over to him just as the train pulled into the station. He made a run for it but I grabbed his coat.
Immediately he took out the phone from his pocket and threw it at me. Reflexively, I let go of him and caught the phone,” he says.
But the story doesn’t end there. “After all the noise died down, I checked in my pocket and realised that my phone was also missing. They had escaped with it and we didn’t even know. And it was a brand new Samsung S7, just one month old,” explains Manu with a sigh. “We lodged a complaint with the police but I never got it back,” he adds.
Ravi C Dasgupta talks about how the Metro train also serves as a picnic spot for families and visitors from outside the state.
“I always see people taking selfies and pictures inside the coaches, unmindful of how crowded or empty it is. Sometimes people even ask others to click pictures for them. While this was more rampant during the time this service was introduced, there are still days I am startled by a camera flash or have to try and blend in with the surroundings when the couple next to me starts taking selfies,” he laughs.
Recalling a specific incident, Ravi continues, “Once a Bengali gentleman and his wife sat next to me in the train. He struck up a conversation with me and before I knew it, I was drawn into an animated discussion about Bengaluru Metro versus Kolkata Metro. I was not even remotely interested in the topic but the friendly guy just wouldn’t stop, much to the amusement of the others around us.”
It is not just pickpockets or friendly strangers who make for interesting experiences during a short ride.
Sometimes, a person would not even need to speak to you but will still leave you with an engaging tale or a life lesson. Gunjan Mangla has one such anecdote to share.
“Once I was waiting for the train on my way to office and a well-dressed girl came and stood next to me,” she says. “Immaculate and hep, everything about her screamed ‘style’ and ‘class’. I could see a lot of boys on the platform eyeing her.
The train came and we all got in and coincidentally, she came and sat next to me. A few minutes later, she got a call and I guess it was from her boyfriend. Then came the shocker. This girl started abusing him (love triangle problems!) and calling him the choicest of names. I swear I have not heard such language even in the slums.
She was loud too, and totally unconcerned about the fact that every single person in the compartment was staring at her. She cut the call and looked over at me. Out of courtesy, I asked her if she was okay and she smiled and said yes. And while getting down, she said goodbye to me. I think all this made the others think we were friends or something because the seat next to me lay vacant for quite some time after that,” Gunjan elaborates, laughing.
Ultimately, a journey is just a collection of experiences and some people intend to give you the most memorable ones that can be had.