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Metro Physics, Chapter 1: “Human Pendulums”

Sleeping in Delhi Metro | Sharing Observations

Balancing Precariously

I said it before and I will say it again, I am on my way to Nobel Prize greatness as I slowly unravel the Physics that drives the Delhi Metro. Today, I present to you a phenomenon that not even the most regular Delhi Metro riders must have noticed or bothered to think about. I call this the “Human Pendulum” or “Metro Oscillations”. This spectacle is witnessed only during the peak hours, i.e. when the Delhi Metro platforms are literally spilling over with people.

Turn your eyes towards the exit points, where humble mortals like us are greeted with long, never-ending queues. Here, everyone waits patiently for the person in front of them to use the Delhi Metro card or that plasticky coin thingy. Now observe closely, you will find that during times of very long queues, the people have little space for moving ahead. Their gut instinct tells them to keep moving ahead, in whatever little space that precedes them.

As a result, rather than stepping ahead, they tend to step from side-to-side. If you are observant like me and take a few moments to view this sight of quiet human suffering, it seems like the people are moving like a pendulum, oscillating between long lines of bodies bathed in stinking sweat, their elbows slowly brushing against each other’s. What makes this sight even funnier to me are folks who keep peeking ahead, raising themselves on their toes, as if their hate vision emanating from their red, tired eyes is going to make the people in front of them vanish into thin air!

For me, viewing this has now become a routine affair, since my exit Metro station, i.e. Noida-15, is always overflowing with humanity. On some days, I catch the glimpse of these over-touchy women who seem to get an electric shock every time a human pendulum dares to touch their skin. The look of utter disgust on their faces is priceless.

I am just waiting to unintentionally come across such a moment and I plan to lambast that pseudo-Princess for ‘expecting to be dry when swimming in an ocean’. If you didn’t get my metaphorical conclusion here, it’s time to go back to school, if you did, there is no need to compliment yourself…it was too easy to understand.


  1. arey,,, very gud..:))

  2. Last part was 2 gud

  3. REcently, metro fare were increased
    Revised rates led many to believe that the rush would now give way to some better elbow room but this has not been the case - there are so many commuters that no matter how good or bad the public transit system is in Delhi, you will always find a crowed. Same applies to e-ricks that despite the nuisance are flourishing, providing to be a constant irritant to many folks like me


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