January 13, 2010 by Preeks
When you watch too many American shows on TV, you tend to form an image of working women in your head – Smartly dressed, running late in the morning, talking on the phone to clients, picking up Coffee at Starbucks, catching an early Train. It’s been 3 months since I started my professional life, and I am proud to say, I came verrrry (think nanometers) close to this image two days ago! Except that, instead running late in the morning, I was running late in the evening, trying to make it in time to the office to “Log Out” and hide my absence for the day. Instead of coffee (Which I despise despite being a South Indian!), it was 3 McDonalds Burgers and 1 McPuff and 1 French Fries (Commmmmon! It was lunch time and I was DAMN Hungry!). Instead of talking on the phone to clients, I was talking to my team-mates (Is the Boss back? Please say no!!).Instead of an early train, I was SQUASHED like a mosquito in the Delhi metro! That’s right, people – SQUASHED!
(PS: Did you notice, the “Smartly Dressed” notion of working women was deliberately left out in the comparison? I think I am smartly dressed. Those who disagree, in the Queen’s words- Off With Your Head!)
Which very aptly brings us to the topic of the post – SQuashED! It was the last day of Auto Expo and I chose that day to make a fleeting visit to some place to do an errand of an urgent nature. The timing was perfect – Boss was not in office, we had some field work to do (No fishing around for excuses!), it was relatively a sunny day (Which happened to be the BIGGEST wrong assumption of the day) and this errand had taken a sudden form of urgency. So, there I was, in the Noida metro, traveling all the way from East Delhi to West Delhi. It was all going smoothly, the work was done efficiently and I was already on my way back before I knew it. Except (Of course, there has to be an except! What’s the point of a post otherwise?!). So, except, it was the last day of Auto Expo – The Auto Expo, witnessing record crowds this year. An unassuming me got into a Metro, which only seemed slightly crowded to the naked eye. I turned on Music in the IPod and for exactly 3 seconds, I closed my eyes, trying to figure out the lyrics to a Gomez song. When I opened my eyes, this was what I looked like: Excuse the drawing skills and the image is not to scale, but you get the picture right?
In the 3 seconds of Gomez music, a swarm of humanity entered the Metro, I was Squashed between people, I was standing on two toes, my other leg was on some X’s Bag, I was not holding on to anything, and as the figure suggests there was no room for air, the entire “room” was people! Go Figure!
My biggest worry incidentally, was pickpockets! So while the rest of the crowd was looking for ways to breathe normally, not fall down at turns, I was balancing without holding on to anything, except my Bag which was clutched TIGHTLY Under one arm (Seriously, my knuckles were white from the pressure of holding so tight!). The other arm was wrapped around the Long Coat’s Pocket (Please observe, long Coat => Smartly Dressed!), which was holding the precious Touch phone, the I Pod and the Metro Card. I would be joking if I said the scene was funny. Because, the scene was HILARIOUS!
And have you noticed, in scenes like these; people tend to form camaraderie with the other victims. So, there was an X who graciously invited me to rest my foot on his bag, a Y who was doing acrobatics to give me some space to stand, a Z who was so busy protecting his girlfriend that he got run over at the next stop. At every stop, more people kept coming in, and I was getting more squashed, till that point of saturation. That was the point when I gave up trying to make room. I just “hung” in the air thereafter.
Now, the initial plan was to get off at CP, grab a quick lunch at McD (like all those smart women), take the next metro and reach office in time to Log Out. Somewhere, half way through this fiasco, the half asleep mind of mine decided not to get off at CP. To hell with lunch, it was more important to reach office alive. As CP approached, my new friends of the metro started preparations to disembark. They asked me if I wished to join and I refused. When the train stopped at CP, there was a rush, I was pushed under someone’s arm, and while I was trying to straighten up, I heard the familiar sound of the doors closing. I was just about to Thank God, when I realized I was not in the Metro anymore! I had been pushed out of the train at CP and I didn’t even realize it. Friend Z smiled and said, “You are welcome!” and I was all aghast. I can’t blame him you know. Imperceptibly nodding the head to say “No” doesn’t work in crowded metros apparently. Lesson Learnt.
So out of compulsion, I went out, got myself that gluttonous lunch as a compensation, gulped it in and caught the next crowded Metro. This one emptied out at Auto Expo. I reached office in time, walked around casually to erase any suspicions, logged out, took the company bus, reached home and quite literally, CRASHED on the bed!
So much for the working women image! Sheeeesh!
Take Care folks and don’t take the Metro when bunking office, because – Karma Rocks!