Mumbai : Day two of Mumbai Metro was a mixed bag for those who decided to brave it out and enjoy the air-conditioned ride from Ghatkopar to Versova. The spanking new bogeys cruised seamlessly and the ride was comfortable to and fro with the air-conditioning providing relief from the sizzling humidity outside.
The only hitch was the accessibility to the Ghatkopar Metro station for first-time visitors. “Metro station kidhar hai” (where is the metro station) was the most heard question around the station.
Those who decided to access the Metro station from the east side of the Ghatkopar railway station were left clueless on accessing it. Yes, the Metro station building station was visible from a distance but the foot over-bridge ended in a cul-de-sac. A senior citizen who decided to take the “as the crow flies” route to the station using the bridge reached the dead end after climbing the stairs.
Two giggling youngsters very helpfully pointed out that the route to nirvana was from the other side i.e. once again down the stair case and then walk your way through the narrow street to the escalator.
The escalator was finally discovered after asking a slew of shopkeepers who by now were in auto mode pointing their hands at the joy ride.
And what a joy ride it was for lakhs of breathless Mumbaikars!
The three air-conditioned bogeys to and from Ghatkopar were packed like sardines. A huge serpentine queue resembling cricket world cup final queue did not stop people of all ages trying to get their Rs 10 worth.
Entire families, college kids, sales professionals, coy couples clinging to each other, senior citizens and aggressive ladies battled it out in the queue to get their tokens. Smart cards were not just available. Rs 10 token was being dispensed with take it or leave it attitude. But to be fair, the metro staff at the station was bravely trying to bring semblance to the chaos of people trying to cut through crowds and the endless queues.
The security check too was adhered to which is surprising for Mumbaikars because barring the airport, Mumabikars are simply not used to being frisked and standing in queue to get inside a train.
Once inside, a huge majority started posing with their near and dear ones in front of the mobile camera, trying to freeze the frames and videos for posterity.
The ramp models and wannabe models could possibly learn some new poses from the crowd that thronged the metro bogey ramp. Not many were bothered about the view outside. And for those who were, the stark contrast of kilometres of huge uninterrupted shanties and hutments fit the description of ‘slumbay’.
The crowd at many stations in between the entire stretch was at best minimal.
The huge crowd that thronged from Ghatkopar Metro station became considerably thin at the Andheri Metro station. Saki Naka was another popular stop where many exited.