Life in a Metro
Dekho beta, M for metro, bolo, M for metro,” says a mother to her excitable son, trying to restrain him from swirling around the poles inside a crowded Metro coach. And just like that, the Metro has made it to the alphabet. Just as it has become the way the city moves, and just as it has become difficult to remember what Delhi looked like before the metallic contours of the Metro took over it.
On December 24, 2012, the Delhi Metro turned 10. Celebrations were muted – the city was mourning the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman. But this important milestone did not go unnoticed. Since its inception, the Metro has ferried more than a billion commuters over 190 km, 139 stations and six lines.
The Metro has reduced the city, and its overwhelming vastness, to a friendlier size and shape — straight lines replacing radials and ring roads. Even as the city expands in size and population, the Metro contracts it. It’s no wonder then that other cities in the country are adopting the Delhi Metro’s model.
Through its underground, at-grade and elevated routes, the Metro has become a permanent lens through which we see the city. Metro stations have become reliable and well-known physical markers of the city. Rashmi Sadana, in her excellent essays on the Delhi Metro, writes that the service hasn’t just facilitated movement; it has given us new eyes to see the city with. Yet,
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