Life in a Metro

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In 10 years, the Delhi Metro has altered landscapes and fortunes. In 10 years, the Delhi Metro has altered landscapes and fortunes.
SummaryIn 10 years, the Delhi Metro has altered landscapes and fortunes.

and tourists alight from the controlled environment of the stations and blend into the chaos of the street. Within the chrome, glass and steel interiors, people move cautiously, taking care to form lines, offer seats, submitting to checks but once outside, the street takes over.

The train traverses through densely populated residential areas, cutting across streets filled with illuminated gyms, bakeries, and shops selling electronic devices and apparel. The track is festive — Netaji Subhash Place is buzzing, Pitampura is noisy, Rohini is cloaked in chatter, but Rithala, the terminal station, wears an empty look, with little advertising on the walls. Outside the station in northwest Delhi, a large, lonely mall greets us. Directions to Adventure Island and Metro Walk Mall dot the place. Rickshaws wait to transport families to Adventure Island, which has an amusement park, malls, an Italian eatery, a McDonald’s and a video game arcade. Shop owners from Karol Bagh have set up temporary stalls here to find new customers. For the rickshaw-wallahs, inhabitants of Rithala, though, there is nothing. “Ek samosa Rs 60 ka hai, kaise khayenge,” asks Hemraj. With the Metro and now the electric autos, business has also dwindled for them, he says. But for those inside, business is booming. Vijay, who works at the video game arcade, says, “The Metro has brought so many people here. We started this gaming zone five years ago, and we’re doing well. The place is packed every day.”

The Metro has spelt business opportunity for many. Like Jitendra, who runs Metro Corner, a snack stall outside the Pitampura Metro station. He quit his job as a salesman to open this joint. “With the Metro, I have guaranteed business,” he says. Even the rickshaw-wallahs here have a steady business. Some say they worked with the Metro before taking up driving rickshaws.

On the other end of the Red Line, across the Yamuna, Seelampur tells a story similar to Rithala. It’s a huge, barren station, with no advertising, opening out to an equally large, empty public space. The neon pink sign of the Metro Walk mall calls attention to

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