Thursday, December 7, 2017

Anjali - The Hyderabad Metro Ride

Anjali was keen to take a ride on the Metro. Left to myself I would have postponed it to a time when I had no other option. So I am glad she has the drive and initiative to push us through. On Day 1 I somehow managed to stall the proposal and felt like a real heel to hear the disappointment in her voice. On Day 2 I decided not to say No whatever the reason I had for not taking the Metro. So, for just making it happen, this one goes into her kitty.
The ESI station (surly in foreground)
So we started out at an unearthly hour of 430 pm when the soft winter evening rays were slanting across and the weather was just getting a bit nippy. Instead of doing a trip to Mansi's house (which had been her proposal the previous day) we decided to take a ride to her favorite Mythily attas house at Nizampet. There was a bit of apprehension in the air from the adults who were as usual worried about looking foolish or not knowing what to do and lots of excitement from the children who were quite happy not knowing that they had to feel foolish about things they did not know. She probably thinks that it is exciting to do things she has not done yet.
The tree cover 
So it was understandable when Shobhs wondered if we should take her bike and park it near the end of the colony - what? - the station is less than 10 minutes away. But we were nervous and we all walked off stolidly, bags in hand with some stuff for Mythily atta, books to read etc.
Shobhs and Anjali and the TB hospital forest 
The Metro guys have been laying a pavement by the side of the road and I have been cribbing about it since it is reducing road space. Now as the pedestrian I fully lauded them for the good work. We found that there were stairs from either side of the road that led up to our ESI station. There was a lift too but we did not dare push our luck and walked up instead. The ticket counters were empty and whats more, there were helpful young men directing us to the counters. The counter had some mike like thing into which I spoke and the boy inside told me to hand over Rs. 105, at 35 bucks apiece to get to Nizampet.  "The station is called JNTU,' he told me. I acted like I suddenly got an important clue into how the world worked and nodded. We got three blue tokens.
Explaining the wonders of Metro life to Anjali
Then we were guided to two security gates - one for men and another for women. After the patting etc they let us past and we came to the stiles where we had to swipe the coin - or rather place it on a red dot on the stile - and the gates to the Metro opened. (Luckily we did not have to enter our Aadhaar number there). The girls came from their side and I came from mine and we were united again as a family. Then we were guided to take the escalators or the stairs as we wished to a higher platform and there, on the highest level, we entered the station. It was empty, save for another 7 people. A surly faced fellow quickly waved us to some place ahead of where we were standing - apparently the train was coming and it would stop there. How were we to know? I felt unhappy that he showed us our place.

Apparently there is a train every 8 minutes or so. We got in at 451 pm. The sitting space was not much so we did not get a place to sit. There is a monitor above the door which shows the station we are at and the two stations either side. Announcements are made about the station which is coming up so we can get to the doors - they open and shut in 10 seconds or so I guess. Unlike the Mumbai locals, we can get off only on one side (the left side) so there is no confusion. It's quite easy to navigate and I found that my fears were unfounded - as in most cases.

We were happy to stand and watch the surroundings from that height. TB Hospital was like a forest, full of trees. Some pics and within 18 minutes we were at JNTU. We crossed Erragadda, Bharathnagar, Moosapet, Balanagar, Kukatpally, KPHB and then stopped at JNTU. Off we went and stopped at the stile on the way down. We deposited the tokens in the slot and the gates miraculously opened. We got down the stairs, walked ten minutes and voila, we made the easiest and quickest trip to my sister's place in a long time. Some chai, pakoda and some light dinner and we took the Metro back home.

It was a lovely walk back home on a full moon night. And well, it was as pleasing as it could get. We felt quite good by the end of it all. 

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