The Blog of Cafe Dissensus Magazine – we DISSENT

Squat the Delhi metro system! Now! Everyone!

Photo: Deccan Herald

By ARAM

To say that the weather this year has been ridiculously bad would be an understatement. Delhi government’s move to give free access to metros and buses for women couldn’t have come at a better time with the incoming monsoon already declared by the met department.

We call all persons with female bodies, commonly known as ‘women’, to flood the metro system and use it as public space henceforth. Its free, it has A/C, clean floors to relax on. We especially invite all pavement-dwelling, homeless women and their underage children to start squatting in the metro system. You can even start hawking inside to sell dry items which hopefully won’t dirty the place and irk the middle class notions of “swachata”. Also, the middle class women will have more purchasing power which you can tap into since they don’t have to spend money on public transport anymore.

You can make your children do their homework in the comfort of the A/C and the bright lights. You can have a good sleep in the heat and also have a roof over you when the rain hits in the coming months. Intersection stations such as Rajiv Chowk, Kashmeri Gate, Hauz Khas, etc. are a particularly good spot for resting with their ample, airy space. These spaces are also ideal for starting pakoda businesses that Modi encouraged a few years ago. Let’s set an example! A good pakoda, tikki or panipuri stall would succeed more than that tired, old, overpriced Cafe Coffee Day and Domino’s in Rajiv Chowk or McDonald’s at Kashmiri gate.

But if you need some peace and quiet to rest, you can try less used stations on the yellow line, or newly built lines such as the violet. Less used stations are particularly well suited for taking a quick nap. We suggest you target the underground lines as they are much colder. The only problem is that it is difficult to smoke a bidi, cigarette or ganja inside the metro system or chew paan without breaking the law. Smokers will have to figure out this problem with their usual cumbersome but crafty spot-hunting.

To our friends, who identify as hijra, transgender, or crossdresser, we call you to claim your free ticket if you are directed towards the “ladies” for frisking. Let’s exploit the state’s double-standards and turn them in our favour! Finally, as an ultimate revolutionary act, we call upon all “straight men” with even slight ‘feminine’ traits to cross dress and become more queer. Lay claim to freebies/welfare offered by the state which clearly belongs to ‘all’ and not merely ‘women’. The state is merely encouraging a more feminized mobile citizenry but we can harness the potential of this policy and turn Delhi into a true queer, democratic space that it deserves to be, at least when it comes to public transport. Now is the time to come out!

We do not know how long they will keep running this offer, or if at all, so we request you to start squatting at the earliest and make the metro system look like any other railway station, crowded, messy, noisy and filled with squatters. Occupy this rather well-made infrastructure and make the most of it, good weather or bad, its cleaner and more comfortable than the pavement, to hangout, to live, to chill, be entrepreneurial, to work, or just slack.

P.S. From our experience of the metro, airport line seems to be the best option for both resting and as a potential market space. It caters to global, upwardly mobile rich people and also since it connects with the airport you can target potential foreign clients in the comfort of the metro without hunting for them at Paharganj.

Bio:
Auxiliary Random Access Memory is an entity which is physically located towards the southern and eastern coast of India at the moment and has been trying to find new spaces of encryption.

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Cafe Dissensus Everyday is the blog of Cafe Dissensus magazine, based in New York City and India. All materials on the site are protected under Creative Commons License.

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Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine, “Hatred and Mass Violence: Lessons from History”, edited by Navras J. Aafreedi, Presidency University, Kolkata, India.

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