Haggard and fatigued, I entered the women’s coach of Delhi metro. That was my first day in college and I was going back home. “Get back you men! You’ll be penalized for standing in women’s coach, came a voice from outside. The security in charge was trying to push men out of the women’s coach through her words. Typical Delhities! They unheard the security in charge, it seemed so to me at least. The doors closed and men shifted more into the women’s coach rather than moving away from it. They were staring, smiling, passing comments as if they saw the feminine crowd for the first time. “Filthy men!”, shouted a woman standing at the end of the coach. And the quarrel between one of the men standing in women’s coach and this old lady began! They were casting aspersions on each other until the lady got down at her station. I was exhausted but I don’t know why my mind was so interested in capturing every motion and conversation in the coach.
I never understood this one thing that when there are 7-8 coaches in a metro line then why the coach next to women’s coach is the most crowded one and the rest are moderately crowded? Why do we notice the crowd on platform thickly populated just next to the women’s coach and why no one wants to go for the last coach? While I was thinking all this, I just noticed a fat lady staring at me as if she wanted to eat me! Give me a break! Are those men less irritating that even she wanted to stare?
I was thinking about this regressive mindset that people carry. When a women stares, its fine. But when a man stares, it’s unethical. No! That’s not okay. Staring, stalking, harassment is just not okay, irrespective of the fact that a woman does that or a man. I never felt the need of gender sensitization before. I guess sooner or later we tend to learn a few lessons. This was mine for today. Moving on, I came back to my senses and there were still four more stations for me to reach my destination.
Then my mind diverted towards a couple in the same coach. They seemed to be engaged. How do I know it? Their conversation and ring fingers said it all. I was listening to their “personal” talks. Eep! I didn’t mean to say that! The crux of my mind’s diversion towards the couple was another one question in my mind. If you want to stand together, why do you stand in women’s coach and not in the ‘mix’ coach? I mean, stand separately in women’s coach and let your male counterpart stand away from the reserved coach. Definitely you trust him for not harassing a girl, but mind it, only you do, the rest do not!
With this aggressive mindset, I got out of the metro. I had reached my destination. With my new thoughts, refreshed thinking, fatigued body, but active mind and experiential journey I went back home and never discussed it with anybody. Today, I find this platform fit for sensitizing the readers towards the ethics of travelling in a metro and to also tell them that a coach “Reserved for women” means reserved for women alone! No reasons. No excuses.
About the Author: This article is contributed by Atima Dhall, our intern. Atima is an under-graduate from Shyama Prasad Mukherjee college, Delhi University. She aims to conquer the world with her writing and sights at instigating people to differentiate between black and white,i.e. justice and bigotry. With immense optimism and buoyancy, she scrutinizes her society and intends to work for its betterment through her writing.