Daily commute. Two words which can inspire much fear/irritation/feelings of oh-not-again in most work-from-office folks, who, as is obvious from the phrase, commute daily. When BO (BlogOwner, for the uninitiated) was a hot-shot daily commuter, consumer of breakfast on the go, stilettos clicking away on the granite covered metro station floors kinda gal, BO somehow chronicled profiles of the various kinds of commuters she met and at times, while zoning out while watching a movie here, or typing an email there, those profiles emerge and make her giggle.

We’ve seen tons of posts on Bombay commuters, and how Bombay people have building friends, bus friends, train friends, office friends, grocery friends, chowpatty friends yak yak yak. Now it’s time for the DELHI folks to show them that we’re not behind. We are, in fact, way more advanced. We can find various kinds of “friends” in one place – inside the hallowed corridors of a Metro Station and the Metro Train itself.

1. The Unwitting Metro Traffic Regulators (“UMTR”)

They are found as listless stationery objects on the escalators inside or leading to the metro station, standing still – not only on one side of the escalator (so you know, if the person behind them somehow forgot its their appraisal at 10 am at office and left home at like 9:40 am, they can simply choose to walk past on the other side and wouldn’t have to JUMP over you to get to the top of the escalator). Now, BO happens to be a fast-walker. Even in stilettos. If she’s stuck behind someone who’s ambling away to god-knows-what, she will overtake them, ruthlessly. Even if it’s an 80 year old lady. She will form bend vertically, run-walk it out, avoid incoming traffic while said pursuit of overtaking takes place, silently whisper curses to those ladies with giant handbags which take more space than them (therefore leaving less space for BO to navigate through her overtake), awkwardly say “EXCUSE ME PLEASE” (almost begging), but will overtake slow walkers. But she’s found that if she’s stuck behind an UMTR, it’s much faster (and safer for her neighbours because she’d avoid the I-want-to-kill-somebody-NOW mood) for her to get off that escalator, and take the stairs. At least on the stairs she can find space to overtake slow-walkers (WALKERS, not stationary objects). However, everyone is not as tenacious (and does not have such crazy-aversion to slow-walkers as does BO). They will accept defeat, and simply stand and wait behind that UMTR. Some catch up on a newspaper article on the way. Some reply to pending Whatsapp messages. Some manage to set up their phone with their headset, right music playlist etc for the upcoming train journey. What the UMTR has rather unwittingly done, is slowed down 54223 other commuters who could’ve caught the next train, instead. Have these lurkers been planted by the DMRC? Hmm?

2. The Boy Problem Discussers

The most entertaining, the most coveted (by BO), the most engaging train friends – say hello to the Boy Problem Discussers. BO has a knack of entering a compartment, quickly scanning and figuring out which part the most gossipy girls would be, and securing a spot (albeit standing spot) right there. Most people aim for seats, but not yours truly. When you have a day ahead of sitting, why waste this golden opportunity for free audio ent? Teenage girls travelling with their girlfriends to college seem to have only one topic for discussion – “yaar, mujhe lagta hai uska koi chakkar chal raha hai“. North of Rajiv Chowk on the yellow line (the one which goes all to the way to DU) you find tons of groups of 2 girls busily discussing their love lives. Like an M&B novel, BO would consume the gory details of that last break up, and that age old question of “why hasn’t he called me yet”. Gullible young ladies taking the metro seem to think that is THE best spot to discuss their private and exciting lives, where their stories are secretly being enjoyed by the 20 other women (wayyy past their teens and boy-angst-discussion-days) in their vicinity, pretending to be dozing off, or fake-scrolling down their phone (side note: let’s take a moment to thank those lovely smart phones which turn into the most trusty little deflectors and avoidance devices, and come to your rescue whenever you’re stuck in the lift with your boss, or worse, are about to run into an acquaintance at a mall but secretly think they may not remember you so you pretend to not see them by fake scrolling on your phone) – but actually soaking up every little detail of this DU Drama with bated breath.

3. The Squeezers

We’ve all faced them. “Shift please“, they say, when they see an inch of metal (the seats in Delhi Metro have a metallic finish) between you and the person sitting next to you. Usually, it so happens that the amount of “space” “available” is inversely proportional to the size of the requester’s bum. The largest of aunties seem to think they can fit in one teeny-tiny little spot, while the 8 other women sitting in that row are struggling to breathe. As a NooB in Delhi, BO used to usually just give her seat to any Squeezer who tried to sit (read: squeeeeeeeze in) next to her in the hopes of common decency prevailing and said Squeezer feeling red in shame and going “no, no you sit”. But, she learnt quickly that there is no such thing as “shame”, “decency”, “guilt” that features in the list of traits of The Squeezers. They will gladly take your seat, open their smelly breakfast sandwich and eat it right in front of you.

4. The Pole Huggers

BO enjoys standing in metros. But each person standing inside a train while it’s in motion needs to grab on to something like the pole or one of those ceiling handles to avoid falling over their neighbours each time the train stops/starts. BO at a very tall height of 5’1″ finds it rather difficult to grab on to the ceiling contraptions, and likes just holding – not HUGGING – one of the two poles in each compartment. But, there will come that one person, who can’t seem to get enough of that pole, that irresistible pole, and starts HUGGING it with their entire arm, so now, poor BO who was just HOLDING the pole can feel that person’s skin (or worse HAIR) on her hand. Eww eww ewww. Run. now.

5. The Arty Kinds 

BO’s favourite kind of commuter (no, actually) (after the Boy Problem Discussers… just kidding). They’re going to their fancy art school somewhere, carrying these fancy giant contraptions which BO doesn’t even know the names of. It’s fun to watch them. Just. #peoplewatching

6. The Exam-Today-Must-Revise-NOW-Student 

This kind is somehow under the naive belief that a metro train doubles as a library. They glare at and shush people talking on their phones (BO is one of those. The talkers, not the shushers). They throw nasty glances at their neighbour who’s technically using earphones to listen to music but the volume is so high that the entire compartment is mentally jigging to DJ Waale Babu. Some of them achieve enlightment of epic proportions despite pre-exam stress and plug on a pair of headphones (BO hopes the noise cancellation ones) and immerse themselves in their notes, but a curious side effect of this is that they seem to believe that nobody else can also hear them and they start RECITING and reading out their notes. This is when they become the recipients of nasty glances, and shushes – to which some piously respond “Exam hai, AUNTY“. Ultimate shut-up tool ever utilised by this cunning exam-giver. The shusher is so shocked and taken aback at being called Aunty that she can simply say no more (even the ones who are actual aunties).

7. The Jerks

The ones who have a seat and pretend to not be able to see the 7 month pregnant lady standing in front of them. You know who they are.

Some times, however, a well meaning person can also become a jerk. This is how – whenever BO is well seated (after of course, having defeated fellow commuters in a quick, heated 2 second game of musical chairs when someone nonchalantly left their spot at the most unexpected of stations (like Jor Bagh) after a day of running around is a feeling which is aptly described by the “This is Spartaaaa” gif, you know what we’re talking about) and spots a pregnant lady, she offers her seat politely but specifically to said pregnant lady (because if she leaves her seat without assigning it to someone, one of the other faster moving non-pregnant jerk type commuters can hog that seat – it’s like musical chairs in there you know). HOWEVER, assessment of whether someone is expecting (especially at the early months) can be a bit problematic. What if they’re NOT actually expecting and get super offended that you think they’re so fat they look pregnant?!?!? New strategy – now BO simply pretends her stop has arrived, leaves her seat, only to “realise” after she’s moved that her stop is still a few stops away, and just lingers around somewhere near the gate. The hazard  of leaving the seat without pre-assigning is that one of the other jerks can take that seat – constant dilemma. BO is still figuring this one out. If any one has suggestions on how to deal with this situation, pray tell.

8. The Random Man in the Ladies Coach Post 8:30 pm

Errrrrbody knows this one. Needs no introduction or explanation. This one in fact remains unexplained to BO herself.