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About the recent addition to the Bangalore Metro

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14 Oct '23
6 min read


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I have always been a fan of the Bengaluru “Namma Metro”, the intra-railway network that is intended to de-congest the city's bursting-at-the-seams road traffic and provide citizens an alternative public mode of travel. Its construction began in 2007, the first line, called the Purple Line, became operational in October 2011 and I took my first Metro ride on 15th June 2012. I remember getting on at Church Street, getting off at Indiranagar, crossing over to the opposite platform and taking the train back to Church Street because, honestly, I had nothing to do in Indiranagar. The trip had been simply to try out the Metro itself. 

Over the years, my usage of the Metro evolved from frivolous to meaningful and for the entirety of 2018, extremely purposeful - travelling to and from work everyday. During that period, I got so accustomed to travelling by the Metro that I had almost memorized the time table of when the trains would reach each station on my route to-and-fro. 

My first trip to my workplace was on 1st January 2018. Back then, the final station on the Purple Line that took me to my workplace destination was Baiyappanahalli. 

On 25th March 2023, there was a slight improvement on the Purple Line that connected the stations between KR Puram and Whitefield. At the time, I didn't really care about this development because I was still a resident of JP Nagar (South Bangalore) and “namm area” had been connected for quite a while. But in July of this year, I shifted to Whitefield from my parents' place to a residence closer to my workplace and that's when I started caring. 

Now, let your mind wander for a bit and imagine you're on a deserted land, with almost no avenues for food and the only, only source of nourishment (seemingly) available is an apple tree in the vicinity. But you've already seen a small squirrel take a bite out of one of the apples and drop dead. So you know they're poisonous and hence, useless as a food source. This is a bit of an exaggerated example, but that's how the KR Puram -Whitefield stretch felt to me without its connectivity with the rest of the Purple line. 

Effectively useless. 

I continued commuting between Whitefield and JP Nagar by road for the next few months and every inch of this travel was torture. I'd obviously tried the only other option available to me - leaving my vehicle at Baiyappanahalli and taking the Metro to JP Nagar from there, but even this brief road commute was half the total distance anyway. Bangalore seemed to share my feelings on this since despite the creation of this stretch, there was no respite on the roads from the sea of vehicles I would find myself submerged in on every occasion. I even took the feeder bus once, but even that was too crowded and felt somewhat inconsequential.

Amid this first-world misery, as I continued checking for signs of a bridge in this Line every other day in news articles and Tweets, the sinusoidal nature of my hope began to flatline with “tareekh pe tareekh” for when the launch would happen. Eventually on the first week of October, there seemed to be a glimmer of hope. But by now I had given up and had become a stoic human being.  Even on the night of the 8th Oct, when friends from all over the city were texting me both out of genuine second-hand jubilation and friendly taunts about the next day's expected announcement, I shrugged them off and said - “Enh, launch, no-launch, I don't care. I'll believe it when I see it.”. The stoicism was well-intended and executed, but secretly, deep down, I was on the edge. Towards the end of the day, I felt myself crack when in a moment of weakness, I clicked on a Tweet link from @WF_Watcher

They (an avid Metro progress observer) seemed genuinely hopeful about the ride the next day and while I didn't show it, I was rooting for their first ride on this complete stretch as well. Momentary happiness was once again replaced by pessimism as my head hit the pillow.

My pesimissm seemed unwarranted however, because, on the D-Day that was 9th October, it finally happened. And the (virtual) crowd. went. wild. (Photos of wildness provided below as collage). The celebration was well-warranted. I found myself mentally applauding BMRCL and everyone who made this happen. 

 

Tweets from https://twitter.com on 9th October [1]

I unfortunately could not take the debut day's train rides but I kept following everyone's happiness online and found myself revelling in their joy. My own joyful experience came three days later, when I had to travel to a conference at Trinity. I had already made up my mind to travel by the Metro because the venue of the conference was only a few minutes by walk from the Trinity Metro Station. Even though the conference promised to be a lot of fun, I was more excited about this upcoming trip. On the day of the conference, my wife dropped me off at the Kundanahalli Metro Station on her way to work and I think I got off the vehicle and ran off without even bidding her goodbye, like a child excited for their first day of school. I'm not very proud of this but I wasn't extremely sorry on occasion of said excitement. The Kundalahalli Metro Station is the 6th station from Whitefield but since it was around 10.30 AM by the time I got to the station, the coaches were close to empty and I found an empty seat as soon as I got into the train. 

Even as I sat there taking in nildana after nildana , noting down the time when we reached per, I think I still didn't really believe we'd get past the KR Puram station. When we finally did though and the train sped past to Benniganahalli, I was so overjoyed I think I was grinning like an idiot throughout. Thankfully, there were very few people on the train to witness this sight.

Timings for when the Metro reached each station (AM) [2]

We finally made it to my destination and I walked out with a victory dance playing in my head. 

The title I've chosen here is a slight modification of a humorous line from a tamil movie called Panchathanthiram where one of the characters calls a diamond a chinni kallu yielding pedda laabam (a small stone worth a lot). 

This small stretch between Baiyappanahalli and KR Puram might have been just that. A small stretch. But its bridging brought so much joy and respite to an entire city that is frankly immeasurable. 

The Metro construction in this city is far from complete. 

But for today, I'm considering this a win. 

 

Image Credits - 

[1] Tweets from https://twitter.com on 9th October
[2] Captured by self

Category : Travel


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Written by Abhiram R