Inside Iran #2: Riding Tehran’s Metro “Mart”

If there is one thing I love to hop onto in every major city, it’s the MRT (aka life savers).

Tehran was no different.

For the tourist in town, Tehran’s metro is wonderfully easy to navigate given that most signs, as is the case across Iran, are in Persian and English. Navigating this system during peak hours would be a nightmare for most. Not so much for the Indian baptized on the Mumbai local.


Shahid Beheshti Station on Line 1 (Red) in Tehran, Iran.


First and last compartments of all trains are for women. Again, nothing strange to the Indian traveler.


Stations clearly marked in English but announcements are in Persian. So stay alert!












You can manage a calm shot like this from the inside only in the afternoons













I was also looking forward to experiencing a mighty interesting phenomenon that I’d read which plays out primarily in the women’s compartment. And I sure as hell wasn’t disappointed!


The women’s only compartment turns into a private shopping universe once the train pulls off a station.


It’s a women’s ‘bazaar on wheels’ where the young and the old shopped for make-up, jewelry, socks, scarves, hair clips…

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… got a temporary tattoo on their arms…




… or gifted themselves some kickass lingerie. Yes, lingerie.

Not kidding.

Bras, panties and lingerie (the kind that makes any (wo)man blush!) in all sizes, materials and vibrant shades.

I tried to be terribly discreet while photographing most saleswomen and co-passengers.

The saleswomen sometimes went a step further to ‘demonstrate’ their wares leading to very embarrassed giggling and amused expressions across the compartment.

There was this one particularly aggressive young lady selling fake denim stretch-pants. She pointed out that she was wearing one, whipped up her manteau and shirt in one quick move and proceeded to tug at the elastic band declaring to us how snug and comfortable they were.

I felt my jaw drop wide open… and burst into laughter with my fellow passengers in disbelief!


Gave in on my third ride – Earrings for 10 cents!