Retro metro: Kolkata’s time travel machine – a cartoon

May 17, 2019 Off By readly

The Kolkata metro system opened for business in 1984, making it the oldest in India. Unfortunately, having been the first to boast a metro, the city seems to have rested on its laurels somewhat – compared to the metro in any other Indian city, travel on the Kolkata system now feels a little like travelling back in time.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some updates to the lines over the years. But undeniably other cities have overtaken Kolkata. For example, the Delhi metro only opened in 2002, but is now much more extensive than Kolkata’s single line system.

When I think about the Kolkata’s retro metro now, it particularly reminds me of a period around 2002 when I was a teenager and used it every day to go to college. Most days I would arrange to meet my friend Imran before school started so we could hang out. We used to sit for hours on end on the platform stairs and talk about random things (as is often the way with those sorts of conversations, they seemed important at the time, but I don’t remember what we discussed now, really). But any journey on the metro feels a little like time travel because nothing has really changed.

*Some stations in the Delhi Metro have recently started to sport photographs or murals but none of them are at platform level. And in my view none of the images on display can’t compete with Kolkata’s in terms of artistry!

Dwarka Nath Sinha is a designer and illustrator constantly looking for the beauty in the everyday. Stories of real people, experienced or imagined are what excite him and his personal work seeks to explore the same. You can find more of his work on Instagram and on Medium

If you’re an illustrator or graphic artist with an idea for The Illustrated City series, email us at

Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to join the discussion, catch up on our best stories or sign up for our weekly newsletter

Source of this (above) article: