July 22, 2006

Minding our 'P's' and 'Q's'

I travel by the local trains in Bombay everyday, and it pains me to see how basic norms involving discipline and respect for co-passengers are flouted with ALARMING regularity. And the 'fairer, weaker' sex, certainly does not seem weak when one is a witness to their brand of cavalier behaviour.

There are two or three things that really irritate me.....

A) Scene One: You enter the train and voraciously wolf down food from a packet. After you feel satiated, you chuck the packet right out of the window.

Scene Two:It is a rainy day. The Mithi river begins to overflow and trains come to a halt. We all get together to 'raise our voices' against everyone from the Chief Minister to the BMC Commissioner. Because the Mithi river is clogged and they fail to clean it up. Now, all the garbage we chuck on the tracks also contributes to the multitude of garbage in Bombay to some extent. If we want change, it has to begin with us. Yes, us.

B) This is still fresh in my mind. Everytime a Virar-bound fast train rolls into Andheri, people rush into it without waiting for passengers to alight. Today, I was in one such train at six in the evening, and it was almost empty by usual standards when it reached Andheri. There were only four people waiting to get off the train. The first two jumped off before the train came to a complete halt, and then it was just Ipsita and me waiting at the doors. But without caring to see if our feet had landed on the platform, the Virar people just pushed us aside and jumped in. I managed to get out safely, but Ipsita was in a real predicament, what with one leg on the train and another on the platform. After pulling her out, I just couldn't take it anymore and yelled at this fat old dame who went in by pushing Ipsita into that dangerous position. I called her a stupid fool and told her that she needed a dose of civic sense. I'm surprised I didn't use any of the colourful Bambaiya statements that I had practised on Reuben just an hour earlier. As a parting shot, I shouted into the train window, "You call yourself first-class citizens, do you ?"
Many people on the compartment gave me this 'do you think you own the train?' look, but I couldn't care less, since it becomes all the more irritating when I know that Andheri-ites don't reciprocate their behaviour. When the same people pour out of trains at Andheri in the morning, like an insult to family planning, we give them a fair and square chance to get off before clambering in. Although I agree that people sometimes yell at them to get off soon, they WAIT before entering the train, despite the second-hand treatment they receive in the evenings themselves.

C) In crowded trains to Virar, the demand for a seat is quite high, and people 'reserve' seats with other passengers who get off earlier. So, once they enter the train, they aggresively shake everyone and ask them 'Kaha utarna hain ? ' (Where do you have to get down?). Sometimes, there are these extremely tired people who are fast asleep and are rudely shaken awake only to be asked - 'When you will you get your magnificent posterior off the seat ?'

Before the station issues a railway pass, they should put the person in question through an etiquette course. And make money on that. Really, I should be the next Finance Minister of India ! India's GDP will exceed that of both the US and China put together in one year flat !!!


Argho said...

Pretty passionate comments there..bring back some fond memories from my days in Xaviers and the associated travel....I've not travelled by train in a while but I see where you are coming from and I wish you all the best for a safer travel...don't loose the passion...don't loose that desire to change...all the best


Ranjana said...

thnx argho.......hopefully ill be the same even 10 yrs down the line ! i believe i will....

Mumbai Guy said...

Chidambaram said the same thing. Still you can contest the post nest time. good luck.

Ranjana said...

Then I guess Chidambaram is old and tired and i'm not !