New Delhi : Cupid can strike in the unlikeliest places, even in the congested confines of a Delhi Metro station or train. Ask the many youngsters who traverse the length and breadth of the national capital and its suburbs in the trains and find that romancing in the crowd may be just the way to go.
For those looking for love and those already head over heels in it, Delhi Metro is veritable Cupid land — the crowded refuge of a couple looking for privacy or providing the opportunity to find that certain someone in the long journeys made day after day.
A day before Valentine’s Day, some recall how they found love when they were bored of commuting alone.
Jitin Walia, a 19-year-old Delhi University student, found his first love in the Metro.
“I travel from Badarpur to Rajiv Chowk every day. I used to see her at Badarpur station around 8.30 am every day. After a couple of weeks she also started noticing me, and flashed a friendly smile.
“Earlier, she used to get into the ladies coach. Then one day, she hopped onto the compartment I was travelling in and gave me a friendship band. We liked each other and have been dating from that day six months ago,” Walia said .
Surabhi Kumar, another student, describes Metro stations as a comfort zone.
“Metro stations are the best comfort zones for youngsters like me as I can spend an intimate time with my boyfriend without the fear of moral policing. There will be lot of crowd and nobody will look at us. The stations are very clean and are airconditioned. And the small restaurants are economical and fit our pocket,” she said.
Interestingly, preferred stations for many to spend time with their loved ones are the busiest: Kashmere Gate, Rajiv Chowk and Central Secretariat.
“About 5,000 youngsters, most of them college-going, visit every day and behave decently,” said Vishika Gulati, who is working at the Take Away restaurant at Kashmere Gate station.
Management student Sameer Suri saw a business opportunity in this and started the portal www.MetroMates.in
“It is quite natural to get attracted to a fellow passenger whom you meet every day. Realising this, during my one-hour travel from Janakpuri to Saket daily, I got the idea of a web portal for Metro commuters. This portal provides a platform to interact without any uneasiness,” said the 24-year-old management student.
The portal asks for details such as your sexual orientation, personality traits, height and waist size, and whether you’re signing up for dating or friendship.
“After a person signs up, he or she is given a unique bluetooth code. While travelling, you’ll have to turn on your bluetooth device, and set a phone name to MetroMates.in/yourusername. After you do that, other MetroMates users will be visible on your (GPRS-enabled) phone,” Suri said.
For easy identification, the portal asks its users to travel in the last compartments.
The portal launched in January 2011 has 8,332 registered users. After its success in Delhi, the portal can now also be accessed by Bangalore and Kolkata Metro commuters.
According to an online survey, in which 300 commuters participated, 23 percent have made friends during travel and even found dates among their fellow travellers; 51 percent felt that the Metro is a better option to find friends than finding love or a date.
“I started accessing the portal six months ago and it helped me find my love Sandeep Saxena. Our relationship as just co-passengers travelling together transformed into friendship, later we started dating, now we are in love and engaged. Thanks MetroMates,” said Renu Sharma, an IT professional.
“Metro has become a lifeline for Delhi denizens, we want to provide safe environment while commuting. Though there is no set rules or moral policing, if any commuter going beyond the decency level, immediate action will be taken as we have security personnel and CCTV coverage,” a Metro official said.
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