15 Rupees – Part 1


15 rupees

By Ravi J Singh

“The next station is Tilak Nagar, the doors will open on the left. Please stay away from the doors” – This announcement has lately become the cue for me to vacate my hard earned seat in Delhi Metro, which I mostly win at Rajeev Chowk metro station. It being the biggest terminal so far in Delhi metro for different metro routes, always gives you an opportunity to earn the seat, but only if you are already in the metro not outside.

However, even for that you have to act smart, you need to be swift and precise, you need to read between the lines, you need to understand the sitting composures of the people occupying the seats, you need to make a very good guess if the person will change the metro on or before Rajeev Chowk or not. Otherwise your bet can just get horribly wrong, making you stand the whole journey. And, these days from the time they have this separate compartment concept for women, standing in metro has become very less attractive.

See it is not a joke after all, you need to have a hawk eye, the analytics need to be good, sixth sense needs to be precise; the seats are limited. Moreover, you cannot bet on the four seats which are reserved for elderly, physically handicapped, and the weaker sex, oops, the stronger sex, sorry! So, that leaves you with only 12 seats. I don’t go for the 2 couple seats at the side, not my turf.

My law of probability says only 30-40% vacancy rate for these 12 seats on Rajeev Chowk. And, moreover there are other smart people too who act the same way and stand literally on the top of their ‘party’, to ‘say’ their claim on the seat. I was lately becoming very good at this business, as my guess earned me the seat today as well.

It was still another 15 minutes of journey remaining when at Patel Nagar entered two women and three men, the seat next to me got vacant and one of the lady and the man shot themselves for that seat, man just winning the race with a millisecond. I don’t know why I felt bad for that lady. Not that she was very attractive, she was of average looks, not my kind, but I felt bad for her loosing the game. 2 minutes later another race was won, the good man won from the apathy-man inside me, and I decided to offer my seat to her.

But, suddenly a young boy seeing this as a chance snapped towards the seat. “Hey, hey, hey, I vacated the seat for the lady”, I told him catching him from his shoulder. “I never knew, I thought you were getting off the train”, he replied a bit frustratingly while the lady occupied the seat. The conversation was enough to evoke attention of the 30-40 souls present around us. I told him smilingly “you saw I offered her the seat, and got up, still you thought I was getting off-board”. “Anyways, you were sitting on the ladies reserved seat, see there”, he pointed towards the two corner seats, which are reserved for women and tried to enlighten me. I was not surprised on his shamelessness and ignorance, and replied “Dude, those are only two seats in this row which are reserved, not the whole row”, and added smirkly “By the way, you seems like to be one of those men who even after occupying those two seat do not get up by themselves when a woman arrives around you”.

This line was enough to embarrass him completely, there were chuckles around, people were entertained swiftly, don’t know if some lessons were learned or not, no apology was offered by the guy, no appreciation was shown by the lady. The chivalry took the backseat. The metro and its travelers were mundanely running on the tracks as usual.

“The next station is Tilak Nagar, the doors will open on the left. Please stay away from the doors”. My station had arrived, or rather, the metro train reached my daily destination. I got off the train and ran towards the exit point. I had this weird habit of running towards the exit point daily, and challenge myself to be at least amongst the first three people to exit from the card swipe area, as if some gold, silver or bronze medals were awaiting me. But, I was winning, winning in my mind, and by now had scores and scores of virtual trophies and medals and self- acclamation of ‘how fit I am’ with me!

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