Ladies Line


Onli Ladis Plis
Onli Ladis Plis

The best thing to have happened to Delhi since Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Janpath and the likes is definitely the Metro. And the best thing to have happened to Delhi since the Metro is the much revered and envied Ladies compartment.

For the uninitiated, the first compartment in the onward direction of every train is reserved for ladies. Apart from the obvious benefits of the move for women, men are in a way benefited too. Now they know exactly where to slyly fixate their wandering eyes.

Being the privileged member of this inner circle of first compartment, I’ve chalked out 10 categories of women who frequent the hallowed premises; for those who aren’t satisfied with observing from the sidelines.

1. Loud Talkers (Phone or otherwise)

"I'm telling this *only* to you."
“I’m telling this *only* to you.”

It’s no secret that women love to talk. But imagine the plight of others when it is at volumes hard to ignore. I’ve unwittingly been party to conversations ranging from relationship woes and in-law bitching to career advises being dispensed and shopping lists being exchanged.

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2. Bling Brigade

The word subtle ain't in my dictionary.
The word subtle ain’t in my dictionary.

A category that’s easy to come by and hard to miss. Delhi being Delhi, women love to dress up. Can you imagine the horror of the local grocer discovering your non-kohled eyes or un-painted lips? *shudders*. Look around the metro any time of the day and you’d find women from all age groups in the most garish and lurid of outfits, complemented by gaudy make-up and blingy accessories. These women surely must be the stars (literally!)Β of someone’s universe.

3. Goggled Girls

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This particular phenomenon must probably be as old as the sun itself but still baffles the daylights out of me. Now I understand you’d like to protect your kohl-lined, mascara replete eyes from the bright glares of the sun, but what I don’t get is why keep ’em on when there’s no sun? This category of women heroically keep their sun glasses perched up on their noses even when the metro’s running underground. Maybe it’d take a few years of scientific study to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Oh you must!
Oh you must!

4. Rule Breakers

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Being an Indian automatically grants you the license to break rules. Hell yeah! We’re risk takers that way. No wonder then, that this category (which belongs to all socio-economic classes of society) takes utmost pleasure in sitting on the floor and munching snacks from their carefully packed ‘dabbas’,Β when announcements to the very effect are being made every 5 minutes. It’s damn cool you know!

5. Scooch Requesters

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Anybody who’s travelled in the ladies compartment even once in her life would tell you about its unsaid rule. Have even an inch of space between you and the person beside? Well you gotta scooch for anybody who asks for it, no questions asked.

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And the worst is when a female who, well to put it delicately, would never fit into the tiny space, requests you to do so and ends up hogging all of it leaving you gasping for air or your former seat. I once had to endure an experience of a scooch requester’s half thigh resting on mine. Oh the horror!

6. Stareres

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Without a doubt women check out other women more than men do. And metro isn’t any different. You’re sometimes at the receiving and sometimes at the giving end of it.

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But there are women who’ve made it their business to unflinchingly stare at every female who travels with them. And the professionals that they are, they remain unfazed even when you catch them in the act.

7. Music Lovers

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Music is a good thing, maybe the best of things. But what happens when you have Justin Bieber or his Bollywood equivalent Atif Aslam blaring from the headphones of the person sitting next to you? Not the best of situations is it? And then there are those who rock their heads and lip-sync to whatever song they’re listening to. Well, music makes you do stupid things.

8. Bookworms

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Whenever you spot a female intently staring into a book in her hands and her mouth bunched up, you know you’ve come across a bookworm. Whether she’s standing in the crowded lanes hanging on to her dear life or sitting on the luckily found (grabbed?) seat, she’d not lose sight of her knowledge reservoir even for a second. Time well spent won’t you say?

9. Cool Crusaders

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There’s a reason why shady institutes which loudly claim “ek mahine mein angrezi speakna seekhiye” (learn to speak English in one month), have mushroomed across the country. Because talking in English is just so cool. Can’t get your work done? Shout in English. Want to clear an interview? English silly!

Students of Lady Shri Ram College for Woman in New Delhi

This category of women (mostly college girls) make sure they shout at the top of their voices in totally accented English with the words ‘dude’ and ‘like’ thrown in after every second word. Oh it’s not like they want to, they HAVE to. How else would you know they’re from the cool breed?

10. Sleepers

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The oldest and the most famous category in the world of trains. The moment they get onto any kind of moving vehicle, a fog of drowsiness encircles them and they quietly submit to its incessant clamour.

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This category is the worst enemy of the ‘scooch requesters’ and some even feign sleep to belong to this category as soon as they comfortably settle in their hard-earned seats.

So which category do you belong to?

In case I’ve missed any, please add it in the comments section.

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20 thoughts on “Ladies Line

  1. I love the women who stare at each other. I would give anything to know what they are thinking although I think it is jealousy or scrutiny. One wonders about what and how the other is talking? Does she measure herself against the other? Do they look at what they are wearing because I know women spend countless hours trying to decide what to wear and buying things that they can afford and also measuring other women by what they have bought and wondering if men are falling for it or what. It often befuddles me. But, like my countless hours trying to become someone who they might find attractive and I easily withdraw when I see a man with whom I cannot compete, I’ve been known to stare. I am witnessing the meaning of life when I do.

    When I saw the woman reading in the image, I thought of how much I want to talk to the women I have seen who do the same and while they are attractive in their trance, I fear both that they are more interested in their reading than striking a conversation with me. I want to recite a poem that I have memorized but it doesn’t matter that I am a reader too. There must be limits to whom Pablo Neruda is attractive.

    1. Okay, truth be told, we women do judge other women. Sometimes out of admiration, sometimes jealousy and sometimes just..well..to judge πŸ™‚

      But the next time you see a woman reading a book, you should totally go and talk to her Mario. And be sure to let me know how it goes πŸ™‚

      1. OK. I will try, but like I said, I am so old now that I have no hope for anything more than the words I might utter no matter how much better they have become in my old age. It is a shame that I have always looked for this day and I can foresee even better ones to come, but I am now a narrator to a love story, where I stand by and watch the young lovers, who by their fleshly perfection get to engage in what my old body could only dream.

  2. Hi Anushree! This is a great post! I live in Mumbai and visited Delhi last year and also took the metro. While traveling through the metro, I observed the women and also noticed that although, there’s a ladies coach it’s connected with the gents coach. Men can watch/observe women through the open coach. I was amused and a little irritated, to be honest. I wondered what Delhi girls/women feel about it?

    1. Hi Sharayu,
      Am glad you liked the post πŸ™‚
      Yes it is true that the coaches are connected and men do tend to watch women (for God knows what joy), but apart from this slight inconvenience this factor also serves a useful purpose – a lot of times women with infants can talk to and take help from their husbands, women can get in the men’s coach and then walk towards the ladies coach, couples can stand between the coaches without the girl having to deal with the male crowd. Everything has it’s own share of pros and cons.
      Besides I guess most women in Delhi are by now used to men watching them, so it hardly makes that much of a difference to us. Hope that answers your question?

      1. Anushree,

        I guess I understand that it feels normal and at times convenient to have this ‘connected coach’ system. πŸ™‚
        Mumbai is starting the metro soon and I’ll let you know how I felt after travelling there and if it has connected coaches. πŸ˜‰

        Oh and I absolutely loved the color coded arrows on Delhi metro platforms. Very useful. πŸ™‚

        1. Yeah, do let me know how the much awaited Mumbai metro project turns out. I travelled in the Mumbai locals too when I was there for a professional stint and can safely say that the metro would be quite a welcome change for the Mumbaikars πŸ™‚

  3. I love Delhi yaar. Everyone gives everyone else an excuse to giggle πŸ™‚
    I guess you didn’t realize you had a funny truism in your earlier ‘About Me’ area … Jack of all and a Master of Business Administration.. You changed it to something very serious πŸ™‚

  4. You left out the quizzer who has only one question ” yeh Lajpat nagar station kitna dur hai” despite the announcement saying “agla station lajpat nagar” πŸ˜€

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