The MMTS might be clean and cheap, but its users are just like commuters elsewhere.
On a slow Saturday afternoon, we ducked out of office to take a ride on the MMTS. After a lot of deliberation, we decided on Vidya Nagar as our starting point.
The few people at the booking counter were clustered at one window, all calling out their destination. When our turn came, the woman at the counter brushed aside our Rs.20 note and demanded change. At Rs.2 for a ticket from Vidya Nagar to Secunderabad, it was easily the cheapest ride of my life.
The empty platform reflected the sleepiness of a weekend afternoon. Those waiting had given up standing and were lounging on the benches. Ten minutes later, I started getting bored as well. Having lived in Mumbai and Chennai, this was the longest I have ever had to wait for a train without any announcements about delays.
That’s when I realised what struck me most incongruous about the station — not the cleanliness, not the lack of people, not the absence of trains. What was missing was the flat, droning voice making announcements!
Unfortunately, what was not missing was another standard feature of stations across India — people crossing the tracks despite there being a perfectly good foot overbridge.
The train, when it finally arrived, was understandably full, but with enough standing space. Despite that, there was a bunch of college students who, to show that they live on the edge, decided to hang out of the train.
The compartment itself was a culture shock for my local train-hardened sensibilities. No graffiti, no flyers promising cures for piles, no ‘Vicky loves Pinky’ scrawled on walls. The coach was spotless.
After a pleasant ride up and down the line, we decided to call it a day. The Hyderabad MMTS may be a lot cleaner, safer and cheaper mode of transport than elsewhere, but people and their idiotic actions seem universal.