so i planned to go to india’s literary institution in delhi, sahitya akademi. it is near mandi house metro station, just two stations from CP–which i can reach by bus from right across the street. there is ‘meet the author’ session, starting today. though i forgot the author who was going to inaugurate the event, i remembered that he is an important literary figure hehe.
but things did go as i planned. i was waiting for about 10-15 minutes but the bus did not show up. it was already 16.45, while the event would start at 17.00. i took an autorickshaw to the nearest metro station (i think), haus khaz. this stations, along with many others, is new and i admit i shoud thank commonwealth games for changing the face and body of my city (there IS a sense of belonging here). was waiting but again, the metro did not show up. once it came, it was so full that i decided to take the next one. otherwise i would be like a sardine. fortunately the next one was not full. i could stand up normally, hang on to some pole and feel the AC. my nose is not offended by any bodily smell of other people surrounding me… but, again and again, luck was not on my side. the metro had to be delayed for some power reasons. felt like an idiot, standing there, stagnant, out of place.
when the metro finally departed, we had to curb our joy as in the following stations, lots and lots and lots of passengers went in. i was standing near the door and i could see how people struggled and insisted to get in. there were shoutings, too! this reminded me a bit of the train’s general class… so it was rush hour and maybe also because of CWG. i saw some people wearing new clean white jackets and red pants, although i was not sure they were athletes. the metro was so full that you dont need to hold on to anything as your body already leaned against everybody. this is not something new for me, i guess. and it’s the indian factor also. however, i was a bit scared because besides me, only one lady was in the compartment… what if some madness strike the consciousness of the mass (men) and they all attack me??
it was in patel chowk station that the guy next to me signalled that he would go down at the next station. i gave him way, i didnt realize that i would also go down there, rajiv chowk, as i had to change to blue line. i know that rajiv chowk is the most crowded station. when i looked outside the window, i didnt dare to imagine how i would get out and get fresh air 😦 as i expected, people from the outside already forced themselves to get in. i joined to flow of the outgoing passengers, gasping, trying to maintain my balance (i was reminded of a band concert in bandung, west java when i fell down amid the chaos). i felt that my strenght was defeated by the mass and i almost gave in when a guard pulled me from outside so that i could stick to the passenger in front of me. i knew that if i broke the line, i could never get out. i felt i was not stepping on earth. but that guy really saved me. but i also had to, maybe unconsciously, stay close to the passenger in front of me. i didnt let him go and i felt that his strenght somehow dragged me… haha! then i realized that i held the arm of that man very tightly… then i said ‘so sorry!!’ when he, also finally realized what happened to his arm, looked at me. and he said, ‘it’s ok’. oh god… then i breathed and climbed upstairs. i was definitely late.
but it’s ok. when i reached sahitya at least i saw some great books. wanted to buy bama’s sangati but the price was… fourfold of the xerox copy hehe. i went to the gallery and really enjoyed it. i really miss my routine in jakarta, going from one art gallery to another. some amazing paintings!!! they are i guess to be put at some places (metro stations), in conjuction with.. what else… CWG… I also went to kamani auditorium to check the event for that night. there were rajahstani music and dance, the ticket is 150 bucks.
i left. thinking what to eat and where.
before i reached mandi house, i took the wrong metro, going to the opposite direction. so i got down at karol bagh. the good thing is i could see another part of the city, near my friend’s place. moreover, when i was about to join the queue, there
were actually some special lines for women. so even inside the metro, they were all women. i felt so comfortable (and it was not packed), psychologically. saw women wearing saris, carrying apples, their hair decorated with kumkum (?).
some world, apart from my boring campus life.