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Running around the city, a 20-year-old

By, New Delhi
Dec 24, 2022 03:02 PM IST

The iconic transit system marks 20 years of its passenger operations since the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee flagged off its inaugural run between Shahdara and Tis Hazari on December 24, 2002.

It’s often given epithets like Delhi’s lifeline and #DilliKiVibe, mostly because it’s impossible to define what the city is sans this mode of public transport. As the iconic transit system marks 20 years of its passenger operations — since the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee flagged off its inaugural run between Shahdara and Tis Hazari on December 24, 2002 — we travel back in time to bring you a Pandora’s box of some memorable episodes from its buzzy life.

As Delhi Metro chugs to complete two decades of its operations in the Capital, here’s a flashback featuring all that has made it an indispensable part of our lives. (Photo: Sunil Saxena/HT)
As Delhi Metro chugs to complete two decades of its operations in the Capital, here’s a flashback featuring all that has made it an indispensable part of our lives. (Photo: Sunil Saxena/HT)

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was set up as a company on May 3, 1995. It is not only one of the largest mass transit systems in the world today, but also a pioneer that is respected globally for achieving many firsts. For instance, it is the first-ever rail-based organisation worldwide to claim carbon credits for its modal shift and regenerative braking initiatives, and the first in India to start driverless services (in 2020).

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Ride dilwalon ki!

Jacqueline Joseph, a Jesus and Mary College graduate, shares that the best part of travelling in the metro is that one doesn’t have to worry about traffic. “You see diverse people around you — enjoying music, reading books, gossiping about life, sleeping, watching movies and series,” says Joseph, before sharing an amusing experience she had on the Blue Line: “A boy who was watching funny videos didn’t realise he was laughing so loudly because of his headphones. And that laugh of his actually made all of us laugh too!”

Silver stamp

Who can forget Shah Rukh Khan taking the Airport Metro Express to spread the word about Ra.One (2011)? A number of films have shot iconic sequences on the Delhi Metro, including Bewafaa (2005), Black & White (2008), Love Aaj Kal (2009), Paa (2009), Dev D (2009), Pink (2016), Mom (2017) and Rajma Chawal (2018). It’s also a favourite for film promotions, with casts of films such as Players (2012) making appearances. Television serials that have been shot on the metro include Jasoos Vijay (2002) and Veera (2012), not to forget brand campaigns that have sought the popularity of this mode of public transport. Kirori Mal College student Manya Jain breaks down the screen appeal of the train: “Movies portray the metro to be really fun, where you can meet interesting people at times. I love it when I see our very own Delhi Metro in movies on the big screen. It’s like a part of our life being featured. The Hanuman idol in Central Delhi (Jhandewalan) is something that many movies cover while taking a metro shot. All this is because metro is convenient and has made travelling easier in Delhi.”

A cosmos of inspo!

The metro has inspired many Delhiites, including Metro Doodle artist Samar Khan. “It’s so much fun to come up with new ideas from random incidents, everyday problems, stories and gossip of fellow commuters and then drawing these with people around me taking so much interest in it,” he says. Book fairy and founder of Books on the Delhi Metro, Shruti Sharma shares about her pay-it-forward-style initiative where passengers receive and drop books while travelling on the train: “We have given riders a medium to dream through books. Our initiative is growing because of people who see Delhi Metro as an integral part of their lives and who love books.”

#Trending

From a video of a man making his bed and sleeping inside the metro and another travelling in a towel to a school student cleaning the floor after dropping his meal — the metro continues to inspire viral moments both wacky and heartwarming. What also gets witnessed is the inevitable drama that unfolds — a recent case in point being a scuffle two women had over a seating arrangement. In another amusing incident, a monkey even cleared the security check!

Selfie maine le li aaj!

Film stars, celebrities, politicians — all have taken the metro. PM Narendra Modi and German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock, too, have famously travelled via the city’s lifeline. During the filming of the Delhi-set Pink (2016), actor Taapsee Pannu rode the metro to the sets of the film. Veteran actor Shabana Azmi, too, avoided getting delayed for an important meeting in the city by opting for Delhi Metro’s Airport Express line. She had tweeted a selfie, writing: “Travelling by Delhi Metro from airport to make it in time for an urgent appointment!”

Fines in Covid times

The pandemic era saw passengers receive fines for not adhering to the public health norms. Flying squads were deputed by the metro authorities across the network to ensure compliance. In March 2021, over 7,000 passengers were penalised, and the monthly figure in the other months varied from three to five thousand. As the pandemic started waning gradually, the number of penalties also decreased. However, the DMRC continues to keep a keen eye on hygiene, cleanliness and Covid-19- appropriate behaviour.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Naina Arora writes on City, Art and Culture of Gurugram, for the daily Entertainment & Lifestyle supplement, HT City

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