Intimidated? Yes. Nervous? Yes. Truth be told, I was apprehensive about taking public transport in Delhi, not because of the catastrophic 2012 Delhi gang rape, but…the fear of the unknown. I have never seen how the metro looks like, nothing about them in the Bollywood films I’ve watched, did not Google or Youtube the metro, certainly did no research, nothing at all! This trip was “planned” that way. Hey we’re backpacking!
When my host (I couchsurfed, you can too!) dropped us at the metro station, my friend and I were excited beyond words! Before anything else, we had some purchasing and topping up to do.
There was only ONE machine to buy the tickets from. Guess what? That very machine was out of order! After asking around, we were told to get the tickets at the counter.
We realised that the counter sells only one-way ticket, also known as the “token”. We didn’t want that. We’re coming back, so the normal “travel card” was what we needed. We were directed to another counter, (probably Customer Care Centre).
The Customer Care Centre wasn’t caring enough. The counter was so pathetic, it is located parallel to the entry/exit points. The space leading to the window and the window itself is so small, and there were a lot of people with problems, so this was pretty much annoying. The idea of queuing or personal space don’t exist in India, so if you can’t beat them, join them. I elbowed my way through that small space (about one feet), and mind you, I’m nowhere near petite. After going back and forth (from the right to the left side) a million times, we finally got the ticket.
Topping up the card my host lent was not so much of a pain as getting a new one, but this was…a bit challenging. The machine looked like it was transported through a time-travelling vortex. It looked old (line began operating in 2004, so not supposed to look THAT old) and I couldn’t tell if it was working. I asked a local for help but he was just as lost as I was. Someone else offered to help. Ahh a light at the end of the tunnel. I glanced over my shoulder, a crowd was forming behind (no queue, remember?). I began to feel terrible for hogging the machine for quite sometime (stupidity is intolerable in Singapore). The light was there, but not for long. Darkness in the tunnel again, urgh! Apparently some of our notes were not accepted. Dammit. It’s not our fault that we were given toilet-paper-like notes!
After going through the metal detector (thankfully the female line is smoother, more males around here), we went up the escalator. Looking at the route map, we spotted our destination – Chandni Chowk. The problem is…we have no idea where we were! We spent quite a while to figure it out and decided to give up after sometime. So we headed straight to the platform. Seriously, what is so hard about indicating a “you are here” on the route map? Or the name of the station on a huge plaque above our heads?
By some miraculous discovery, we found our stop – HUDA City Centre. Oh Delhi Metro… You can be a pain, but despite these five problems, I really enjoyed the ride.