I MET HER AT THE SAKET METRO STATION, where she bought a small, black plastic token to travel to Rajiv Chowk. After passing through two rounds of security, we reached the row of small gates where passengers get their Metro cards and tokens scanned before proceeding to the tracks. She seemed confused as she tried to find a slot in which to place her token, and she could not persuade the gate to open. A few awkward seconds passed and she turned to a young man walking through the gate to her right, but he had zipped through too quickly. In a final attempt, she turned round and asked a man standing directly behind her how to work the gate. He gestured for her to place her token upon a small, demarcated rectangle in the shape of a Metro card. And once she did, the gates swung open. She was ready for her first-ever Metro ride.
When Rini Simon Khanna reached the large, airy platform, she started listening attentively. “You can barely hear the announcements,” she said in disappointment. It wasn’t that she was concerned that she would fail to catch a potential delay or a change in service—it was the announcement itself that she was waiting to hear.
Our train came in a few seconds and, positioned just at the edge of the sliding doors, we were among the first to board. “Please stand away from the doors,” announced a voice from inside the Metro car. Khanna flinched. She wasn’t amused. “That sounds different than me.”
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