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A 3-Step Formula To Capture A Seat On The Delhi Metro

21/01/2016 8:16 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Indian women travel inside a "Women Only" metro train compartment in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. Five men pleaded not guilty after being formally indicted Saturday in a special court on 13 charges, including rape and murder, in the fatal gang rape of a woman in a New Delhi bus, a lawyer said. The brutal attack set off nationwide protests, sparking a debate about the treatment of women in India and highlighting the inability of law enforcement agencies to protect them. (AP Photo/Yirmiyan Arthur)

On January 15, Phase 1 of Mr. Kejriwal's odd-even scheme in Delhi came to an end. Much like the first half of a Barjatya movie, it went by sunnily - full of enthusiasm and happily compliant people.

For 15 days, the rich in Delhi gave up their perfumed cars and soft Western music to try the metro, where people sweat on you and earphones leak loud regional music into the air. Likewise, the middle-class in the city put up with all the new entries in the metro, without hating the rich too much for making them feel insecure about their fashion, phones and lifestyle in yet another place.

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The Delhi metro in lighter days

As a result of all of this lovely harmony, pollution levels dipped, and Delhi's roads got to enjoy a little nudity for the first time ever.

Avoid standing next to anyone who looks married, sullen and relatively older than you... These people practice their fighting skills at home, in office, with vendors, with life...

However, things were not all rosy and breezy. I have it from reliable sources (namely, a whiny cousin), that during this fortnight, the battle for the shiny-silver, much-coveted Delhi metro seat intensified like never before. And as Mr. Kejriwal plans to release a sequel to the scheme in March, I am sure that this game of thrones will only grow murkier.

So here I have a three-step formula (recommended by 9 out of 10 seat-snatching aunties at Kashmere Gate) to help you land a seat in the metro during the tough times to come. May the best woman* win!

*That's right. If you're in the General coach, please shed hope immediately (unless you are a really old person or a really hot woman).

Step 1: Dive deep into the warzone

Somehow, clinging on to the long hair of the brave sardarni in front of you, you've managed to enter the compartment.

It isn't time to relax yet.

Do not wrap yourself around the pole. Do not settle 1/10th of your bottom on the rod next to the seat. Do not lean hopelessly against the walls. Do not dump yourself on the floor.

These are short-term temptations you must not give in to, if you have a distance to travel and a seat to win.

So "scuse me" your way right into the centre, and squeeze yourself right in front of the seating area.

Step 2: Find the right person to stand next to

Once you're in front of the seating area, you've got to choose the weakest competitors to stand next to.

Avoid standing next to anyone who looks married, sullen and relatively older than you (in other words, anyone you can address as "aunty"). These people practice their fighting skills at home, in office, with vendors, with life in general -- so they're great at it. When a seat in front of them is vacated, they lunge for it with full, fierce vigour, without a care for how they look or how you hurt.

Try standing next to someone who is young, gorgeous and engrossed in her iPhone (in other words, anyone who boarded from South Delhi).

Instead, try standing next to someone who is young, gorgeous and engrossed in her iPhone (in other words, anyone who boarded from South Delhi). When the seat in front is vacated, she will hesitate to put up a fight for it. This is because she is very self-conscious; it would be beneath her to do physically awkward things like almost killing everyone else for a mere seat.

Step 3: Find the right person to stand opposite to

Once you've shortlisted your neighbours, it's time to select the right person to stand opposite to. This is, obviously, the most critical step, because if your Opposite doesn't get up at all, you will have to spend the rest of the journey standing and feeling uncomfortably ugly next to your chosen South Delhi partner.

Tip 1: Avoid the sleepers

They're either going to miss their stop, or they're going to get down at a far-off station which will arrive much after you've reached home and cursed Kejriwal on the internet. In any case, all you'd gain out of standing opposite them is the sight of drooling mouths, half-open eyes, and a soul piercing dilemma, that is : should I wake her up? What if she's fallen asleep accidentally?

Tip 2: Steer clear of the double-deckers

If an aunty has a fully awake baby, child or teenager perched on her lap, make sure you do not target any of the seats next to her. This is because she will deposit the little burdens on a vacant seat as soon as her partner's bottom is one centimetre into the air. You'd stand no chance.

Tip 3: Avoid those who are thinner than you

Do this for the simple reason that you might not be able to squeeze into the little space that they vacate.

Let's get real here. The three ladies attached to your shoulders, hands, and neck are also eyeing the same seat as you are.

Besides, most thin people are found sitting in the "adjust" space, that is, the peak that occurs between every two seats. Even if you do manage to fit into that space, ask yourself, is that shame in the name of a seat even worth all this plotting? Not unless you want to suppress a fart, in which case, that slight ridge is superbly helpful, so go for it.

Tip 4: Prefer people fatter than you

Let's get real here. The three ladies attached to your shoulders, hands, and neck are also eyeing the same seat as you are.

Now if you stand opposite someone your size, only one of you will be able to land the seat. However, if you choose someone reasonably fatter than you, she might leave behind enough space to accommodate you as well as a competitor or two, thereby upping your chances. Win!

Tip 5: Observe and predict

Occupy your mind with the all-important question: who is most likely to get off at which stop?

Here are a few sample guidelines to get you started with this practice :

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*As this statement is also the country's favourite lie, please do not rely on it if all other signs are missing.

I do hope that these tips, which I gathered during four years of lonely travel in the metro (having as I did no smartphone and no friends for distraction), help you get all set for Phase 2.

And if nothing works, you can always rely on good old jugaad:

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PS: Please note that these are not fool-proof tricks. Not all South Delhi girls look gorgeous or have iPhones, not all aunties at Kashmere Gate snatch seats, and so on. As stereotypes go, these are all exaggerated, fairly bullshit and meant to not be taken seriously!

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