The delhi local
Stepping on to the local train of Delhi was a one of its kind experience. No these trains are not as advertised and sworn by as their much glamorized Mumbai counterparts.
The local trains of Delhi are popularly called EMU trains . (Electrical multiple Unit trains) These trains journey from the heart of the capital to the far flung areas around the state and beyond.
Bracing myself for the uphill task of getting into the overcrowded compartment and securing a seat I paced nervously on the platform. As the slow hum of the engine got louder the whole platform came abuzz with life. Every nook and corner came alive. As the train lurched to a grinding halt, the slow resting mass of humanity galvanized itself into motion, and everyone scrambled to get in the train and secure a seat for themselves. I quickly ducked into the one marked as the “mahila dabba” and got a seat beside the window.
I had boarded the train at the Okhla Station which is a busy spot for local trains. The initial scuffles that occurred while boarding the train were all smoothed out by the hypnotic movement of the train. Every other passenger had fallen in tandem with the sway of the coach. All the people had escaped to their respective worlds, gazing at them through the window.
The delhi local train circuit has the trains passing through the busy stations of Ghaziabad , Faridabad, Sonipat and Ballabgarh. The local trains of Delhi serve as a life line for many who have to commute daily to the city. Laborers and workers. The Delhi workforce. For many the two hour commute is a daily affair. Its just an other part of the process that makes them earn their livelihood.
The train that I had taken was the Shakur basti- Palwal EMU. Its one of the busiest routes. Its path runs from one end of the delhi state to Palwal in Haryana. It carries a huge number of passengers and goods everyday. I saw the deft movements of the ladies who carted of heavy loads of goods on their heads with sublime ease. The train had left the last part of delhi – Tughlakhabad station and was now speeding through the fields in to Haryana the neighbouring state of Delhi.
These trains help run a parallel economy in the smaller towns. The women especially benefit from these trains. Many women buy goods from the markets of Delhi and then sell them back in their respective towns. They travel daily to the markets refurbish and restock their goods and then return back by the evening train. The “ladies dabba” is the exclusive women’s compartment which allows them to travel with a sense of security and ease. Out of the twelve coaches in an EMU two are the ladies Dabba.
As the train made its way towards its final destination it crossed over the industrial town of Faridabad, The train compartment had steadily emptied. Only a few people remained in the compartment. The train finally reached its final stop -Palwal an hour late from its scheduled time. As it was running late it immediately departed again for its run on the train route. I stayed put as I again became of the journey that thousands undertake every day.
Approximately there are more than 110 trains on the circuit, they make sure that the supply of milk and vegetables remains uninterrupted. The train network ensures that the city of delhi stays functional, and on its feet .