It was a just another gloomy Gurgaon dawn. I had to travel to Delhi for a meeting near Connaught Place. I wanted to avoid the stress of driving all the way. So I took a cab to the metro station and boarded an early train towards Rajiv Chowk. I even got a seat. I guess it took me about an hour and a half end to end. I had reached well before time for the meeting. My colleagues had also joined meanwhile. It was a meeting like most other meetings; routine and uneventful but tiring nevertheless.
By the time we were done, we were famished. We then moved to Khan Market for a quick Italian lunch at the Big Chill Cafe. I then hitched a ride on my friend’s car till Malviya Nagar. It was almost six in the evening by the time I took an auto-rickshaw from Malviya Nagar to the Hauz Khas metro station hoping to return home before sunset. I was exhausted by then; more so perhaps from all that cheesy rice in the Risotto. Of course, I had no clue then that this would turn out to be a trip down the rabbit hole. Down the escalator I went.
I’d read somewhere that a metro is a wonderful machine that ingests and then spits people out at their destinations as fast as possible. So, ingested as I had been, I moved along the serpentine security check queue, through the routine frisking by the CISF personnel and tapped my metro card at the turnstile. It dutifully swung open to welcome me to the Metro’s gut. Now, only a descent of stairs separated me from the platform. On one side the platform was labelled ‘towards HUDA city metro station’. I moved down the stairs and over to that side.
Like most others entering the platform, I whipped out my smartphone. Then I tapped out a few WhatsApp messages just in case data services blanked out once the train moved. Just then a train arrived and I boarded. Again, I found a place to sit. So I cozied up the cold aluminium seat and proceeded to read some news off the Play Newstand app. While I was engrossed in reading, but I do recall having heard ‘Qutub Minar metro station, the doors will open on your left’ (or right, I don’t remember exactly) announcement inside the coach. Qutub Minar is the third station after Hauz Khas, towards Gurgaon.
I continued reading news off my phone for another fifteen to twenty minutes, but I was ‘aware’ of my surroundings. Imagine my shock when I heard the announcement ‘Next stop: Hauz Khas metro station, the doors will open to your right’. I was utterly stupefied. Had I not boarded from the same station just a short while ago!? I felt pretty lost and so I double checked my WhatsApp messages. Sure enough I had boarded this very station a short while ago on a trip towards HUDA City Center metro station, Gurgaon. How the hell did I end up where I had just started off from?! Had I dozed off? Was my mind playing tricks on me? I still don’t know for sure.
Anyway, so as to not risk going entirely in the opposite direction, I scrambled out to the platform before the doors closed behind me and the machine moved on.
Once I’d assured myself that it was all for real, I crossed over to the other side of the platform. Once again I boarded the next train to HUDA city metro station, Gurgaon. This time, my senses were ultra-primed! Thankfully, this time I reached my intended destination.
I've related my experience to a few, who shook their heads in disbelief. Some told me a few spooky tales themselves. A few others simply laughed.
Anyway, I know this story is true because I had lived it. I hate to admit it but I was spooked by the Metro!
Footnote: I’m sure there are many rational explanations to what could have actually transpired. You’re welcome to share your thoughts :)