Bangalore (SBC): A May Day outing with the family, quick access to Malleswaram’s shopping spots, and the thrill of travelling by a Metro train from a neighbourhood station. There were reasons aplenty for Nagasandra residents to board the first train opened to the public from their station at 4 pm on Friday.
As the train approached Nagasandra station, there were whistles, claps and loud cheers from those waiting on the platform. “I was the first to set foot inside the train when the doors opened,” said Girish, all animated. He claimed that he had done so when Namma Metro began operations from Peenya Industry on March 1 last year as well, and came to the station hoping for a repeat.
Mythili Dinakar and her husband were all smiles as they dashed into the train. The couple, who live just across the station in Shoba Apartments, had many of their neighbours for company. “I cannot tell you how excited I am. I was looking at my watch all morning and waiting for it to touch 4 pm.”
Shopping was at the top of this homemaker’s mind. “It used to be a nightmare to head to Malleswaram crossing Jalahalli Cross by car. From today, I will use the Metro. What a big relief that I do not have to depend on my husband to take me around,” she said. To this, her spouse Dinakar added good-naturedly, “See, leaving me behind makes her happiest!”
Senior citizen M Panchakshari and his wife had come from Jayanagar for a housewarming ceremony in Nagasandra. “I read about the train in the morning paper. We decided to hang around at our relative’s house till 3.30 pm to board it. We are so lucky it started today. We can now get down at Mantri Mall Sampige station and take an auto or a bus to our house,” Panchakshari said.
A Family Affair
While helping his 65-year-old mother S R Lalithamma disembark the train, commuter M S Ramesh told Express that his extended family comprising 17 more members had come to be part of the historic ride.
Kshithij, a kindergarten student at National Public School, Yelahanka, too was among the commuters. He had come with his grandfather Ningaraj.
For some, the biggest lure of the Metro is the escape from pollution and traffic, while for others, it is the cheap ticket rates. “It just took us exactly 26 minutes to reach Sampige station from Nagasandra. I used to spend one-and-a-half hours to cover this distance by car,” said Parameshwar S K. “Now, I can avoid the stress of driving too.”
Parameshwar is not alone in this line of thought. Businessman Madhusudhan travels to his office near Majestic by car every day. On Friday, he parked his car at Nagasandra station to check if he could use the train and then take an auto for a short distance from Saturday. “I spent `30 on the ticket and `32 on an auto, which works out cheap for me. I hate to drive the long hours.”
Meanwhile, youngsters were busy capturing the moment for posterity with selfies. Some even uploaded them online before the end of the ride. “It is really nice” and “we love the ride” were the most repeated comments from those aboard.