The Line Not Taken

by Ishaan Mishra

metro

 

I was coming back – fresh from my first DU debate – to college with my colleagues by the only mode of distant transportation in Delhi that we choose to acknowledge. Soon enough, we reached the New Delhi Metro Station, and were faced with an eternal dilemma that had taken up the being of a dull throb at the back of my head whenever I used the metro. But that day was different. I felt particularly inquisitive and decided to get down to the bottom of this particular mystery of life, the question that has eternally bothered the average debater who uses the Delhi Metro: Whether to take the Blue line to college or to take the Airport Express Line (Orange line). We decided to figure this out as Prashanth KP (1st Year) and I took the Blue Line, and Alok Gokhale (2nd Year) took the Airport Express Line. Alok resolved that he was bored enough and not that sleepy and decided to help me and Prashanth figure this one out. Or maybe he was sleepy, and he chose to do this because he could sleep better on the Airport Express line, with its twin seats on both sides of the aisle and near empty running conditions most of the time.

Here are some stats that should help you in guessing who won:

To get on the Blue line, we would have to change at Rajiv Chowk having a total of 23 stations (list 1) coming our way with the Journey taking 51 Minutes and costing Rs. 23. Alok on the other hand would take the Airport Express line from the New Delhi Metro Station and it will take him 25 Minutes to reach Dwarka sector-21 across 6 stations (List 2) which would cost him Rs. 60 (Sunday Discount) and then he would take a Blue Line Metro to Dwarka Sector -14 across 8 stations (List 3), taking 13 minutes and costing him Rs. 15.

Here is a table to put things into perspective:

Blue line Airport Express Line
Stations 23 14
Fare 23 75
Time 51 Min 13+25= 38 Min.
Frequency of Metro (in minutes) 1 Min. 10 Min. 30 Sec.*

 

We were prepared for the worst. We were trained by the best. This was familiar terrain. Alok might’ve thought that Rajiv Chowk was his ally, for the crowd might hinder us. We knew that no amount of armpits, or sweaty brows, pushy people, paan stains, or sharp-edged luggage could stop us. We theorised as to where we had the best chance of getting a seat in the metro and ended up making a run to the ultimate (last) coach as the metro train pulled into the station. All calculations thrown aside, we did not even get a place to sit on the floor near the door to the driver’s compartment. But as the ancient statue in the Katy Perry song says, “There’s no going back!”

Alok got off at the New Delhi Metro Station as I started my stopwatch, feeling very much like I was in the middle of one of those challenges on Top Gear (You shall be missed). He would have to check out of the blue line, go through security, walk to the Airport Express Line, buy a token (as the normal cards don’t work there), admire the marble flooring, world class cleanliness, transparent lifts, notice the statues of 25 metre long dudes hanging from the roof (yes) and then reach the platform with plexi-glass platform screen doors. This was time enough for us to reach Rajiv Chowk, and change lines.

The metro journey was quite uneventful although it had its usual share of sneezes, coughs and farts. The journey brought its own causalities as well. Prashanth was lost to the milling crowd on R. K. Ashram Marg Station. The last I saw of him was when he stumbled, disoriented, out of the metro car on that station. The news of his survival only reached me after a week.

Finally, with my stopwatch reading 55 minutes, I reached the Dwarka Sector-14 Metro Station, and managed to get out of the gates. I walked to the campus and made my entry at 5:57pm. As we later found out, Alok would make his entry at 6:04pm, that is 7 Minutes later, which is a feat considering the maximum waiting time of the Orange line is 10.5 min (verified by the Metro Website), the orange line still has the advantage of 1.5 min (as the waiting time at Both Rajiv Chowk and Dwarka Sector 21 is the same.) We had won (yay!), and my friend was not lost in vain.

So bottom-line of this rambling account is, if you don’t mind being late by about 10 minutes at the maximum, changing trains twice and paying more than twice the amount, and prefer the luxury of a 38min super power nap, hygiene and solitude rather than a crowded car, with no place to stand; forget sitting, and awkward body contacts, take the Orange Line.

Ishaan Mishra – with inputs and comic relief from Prashanth Kay PeE (He says he tried).

List 1

NEW DELHI (Junction) – RAJIV CHOWK (Junction) <Change Here> – RK ASHRAM MARG – JHANDEWALAN KAROL BAGH – RAJENDRA PLACE – PATEL NAGAR -SHADIPUR – KIRTI NAGAR (Junction) – MOTI NAGAR – RAMESH NAGAR -RAJOURI GARDEN – TAGORE GARDEN – SUBHASH NAGAR – TILAK NAGAR -JANAK PURI EAST – JANAK PURI WEST – UTTAM NAGAR EAST – UTTAM NAGAR WEST – NAWADA – DWARKA MOR – DWARKA – DWARKA SEC 14

List 2

NEW DELHI – SHIVAJI STADIUM – DHAULA KUAN – AEROCITY – AIRPORT- DWARKA SECTOR 21

List 3

DWARKA SEC 21 (Junction) – DWARKA SEC 8 – DWARKA SEC 9 – DWARKA SEC 10 – DWARKA SEC 11 – DWARKA SEC 12 – DWARKA SEC 13 – DWARKA SEC 14

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