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This woman was dismissive of the rights of others, despite being an educated, aware woman. She also failed her son as a mother.
I was travelling from Warangal to Secunderabad last Sunday. Owing to my unplanned travel, I couldn’t reserve my ticket in advance and realized a few hours before the travel that the reservation window had closed. With no other option, I had to travel in a general compartment. Besides, my interest in travelling with common people trying to know their untold stories would be satiated.
While on the platform before the arrival of the train, I learnt that there was a ladies coach to this train. I frantically moved to the end of the platform to board the ladies coach. A few minutes after boarding the train, I tried to settle down in the pandemonium. As I still tried to figure out a corner to settle down, the train left the station with a gentle push.
I looked around and noticed a lot of men travelling in the ladies coach. A boy 15-17 years old was savoring his samosas sitting in the single window seat. Soon I noticed that the men who entered the ladies coach comfortably settled down on the seats and I could see many women standing. An old woman, who could barely stand looked around for a seat and requested people to budge a little. None responded positively. So, she settled down on the floor.
Seeing this, I requested the teenage boy to get up from the seat. I said that the coach was allocated for ladies and seats should be offered to them. He arrogantly said “No” and looked outside the window. I again asked him to get up from the seat. He replied nonchalantly, “this coach is not a ladies coach.” I reminded him of the signboard written on the train. He didn’t reply to this, and another woman, whom I supposed to be his mother, pitched in.
“If this is a ladies’ coach, why are there many men in the coach? Ask them to get down. And he is not going to get up. This is not a metro to argue for rights. This is not a city bus or city train!” she said obstinately.
“Of course, no men should be allowed. But, most of them are senior citizens and hence, I didn’t request them. Moreover, I am asking for my right,” I replied controlling my temper.
She began to argue to that, and we had a verbal exchange; people in the coach witnessed everything but none intervened.
I travelled for another 1 and half hours standing in a coach that is allocated for women, and men sat sans a feeling of guilt or remorse. Well, it wasn’t just the pain of standing, but the failure of society that hurt.
The mother of the teenager had failed at many levels.
Had she been an illiterate woman unaware of social responsibilities, I would have given her the benefit of doubt. That wasn’t the case. She was an educated woman who owned a smartphone, watched videos on youtube and conversed in English. The other educated women on the coach too silently adjusted without uttering a word.
I understand that not everyone can raise their voice or stand firmly. But, why did they become only dead spectators? We witness huge support from women from various classes, regions on social media. Videos, write-ups on women are liked, shared and forwarded; but why do these girls fail in reality?
Image source: shutterstock