….is something every female avoids unless its late night or accompanied by a known male!
I have travelled with RD in the general ( gents) compartment and I have had my share of eve teasing and ‘accidental’ brushing etc etc!
I have been stupid enough not to react to it earlier…
However this post is NOT about all that! This post is about how I DID NOT face any issues travelling in the general compartment which was super crowded despite being alone with R!
So on saturday, we had to travel to the south part of Bombay and the fastest way to do that is take a local train. RD suggested getting into a fast train and since it was afternoon we thought it wouldnt be crowded. Only when the train came we realised it was super crowded. However, missing it would mean we would be late!
RD was holding R2 while I had a backpack and was holding R’s hand. Anyone familiar with Bombay local trains will know that each compartment has multiple entrances. RD stood in front of one while R and I were in front of another. I was too far from the ladies compartment. ‘Should I get in?’ shouted RD. I took a deep breath and said yes.
He jumped in with R2. R and I stood near the second entrance, R a bit confused with the guys standing at the door. The guys saw RD jump in with R2. They looked at me for a second and made space. One of them held out his hand at R. She jumped in and he gave me space. I went in and realised there was absolutely NO SPACE to sit. R was worried about R2. I told her appa will manage. There was no way we could make space to reach RD n R2.
Just then a guy standing at the seat backrest (its a very special place and I havent yet seen anyone in the ladies compartment ever give it up!) told me to put R there. This meant he would have to bear all the pushing of the crowd.
Despite being surrounded by men twice my size who were crowding around me, not once I felt threatened or uneasy. Infact, all of them went out of their way to make me feel comfortable. While there was some body contact due to the crowd and the train motion, it was not ugly or threatening. Everytime there was an apology.
One guy took my backpack and put it up on the rack. Another guy moved to give me space to stand in the side taking all the pushing of the crowd himself. Though I was with my 7 yo, not once did I curse myself for getting in.
Infact, I may have caused discomfort to my co passengers but each of them was wonderful. We didnt get a place to sit but we were treated as fellow human beings.
When it was time to get off, there was a huge crowd in the station for folks to get in. Anticipating that, the guy ahead of me told me that he was going to lift R and put her down or she may trip and fall. I agreed. He jumped down, quickly caught R and put her down while gave me his hand to pull me down, all the while taking the brunt of the incoming crowd. The man behind me stopped the outgoing crowd from pushing till he saw R n I were safe in a corner. Infact the guy who pulled down R even waited till I united with RD and R2.
Such was the goodness of those folks 🙂
I know there are 100s of females who get touched inappropiately and not everyone is as lucky as I was. But on this particular day, my faith in ‘man’kind was restored!
PS – The folks on the other side were kind enough to give RD a seat to sit since he was carrying R2.
PS 1- In many years of travel by local trains I have observed that in a crowded compartment the men always always make space for ‘one more’ person while the ladies keep blocking the path!