800px-Men_not_allowed

Troubles always come in groups… huge groups. And troubles have a special affection for your dear author. And the beloved troublemaker of all times… The laptop… (For glimpses of the trouble-making refer this followed by this). So one fine day pretty close to exam time; when my laptop entered the yearly phase of trouble-making (this time it was motherboard which had passed away); I had no other option but to bunk my classes on a weekday and give the service center a visit.  And after gloomily handing over my beloved laptop in the center; and having ‘something’ to eat from the roadsides of Kolkata, I decided to return back to the hostels. And this is precisely where the fun begins…

I look at my watch which says 5:30 PM and rush to the metro station… And I saw exactly what was expected – A sea of people… No literally… Combine the following facts together – End of the office time; a country of 1.2 billions; a city of over 4 millions and the cheapest metro of the world. What else would you expect? So waiting for the metro amidst the crowd you realise how insignificant you are and how large is the world.😛 And as soon as the train arrives, the fiercest of the races starts – the race to a vacant seat. Being extremely well versed in the art, I kicked a person ahead of me, punched another who was trying to get ahead and gloriously sat on the seat which I had won. But as fate always has it moments of glory were limited. A couple of moments elapsed and I realised the mistake – the above the seat, proudly announced, “WOMEN ONLY”. And so did the eyes of a lady standing just in front of me. I cursed my luck and the race which I lost after winning and humbly left the seat.

After the metro, came the train, where luckily seats are not reserved for women (certain compartments are). But there too, neither my luck nor the fairer gender spared me. After successfully establishing myself on a hard earned seat, I thought I could relax an have a nap. So with A.R. Rehman plugged in my ears, I peacefully dozed off. But for long… a (gentle)man wakes me up. I realise that a lady is sitting next to me and the (gentle)man sat besides her. “Don’t sleep!  Sit properly!”, said he. I analysed the situation… dress extremely traditional, age- 40 to 50, man and lady sitting side by side – Conclusion: They were a couple. And the problem was that in sleep there was a slight possibility that by mistake I touched her wife. I mean… what the hell… If you have problem with sitting besides a young ‘potentially dangerous’ man, why don’t you exchange your seat with your husband? Why disturb the sleep (which is the most dear thing to a student) of a person who is now forced to keep his eyelids open, staring at nothing for the 2 hour journey?

And finally the bus… For the half an hour journey, I deliberately chose a bus which was scheduled to depart an hour later (as it was be empty) so that I could securely get a seat and ‘relax’.  No use… Slowly as people poured into the bus, I could see millions of standing souls. And… despite 50 per cent seat reservation… a few of the souls were ladies. Unfortunately one of those souls stood besides my seat. And being a young blooded gentleman, I forgot all my sleep and left the seat for her… so that the atrocities of the violently rocking bus (yup… it was on Indian roads) are born by these tired legs…

In short that day (as many other  days) made me realise that we are the most unfortunate group in India. Caste reservation eats up half of the seats in the competitive exams for any ‘general’ candidate. As a ‘young’ citizen you are supposed to be responsible and sympathetic. And as a guy, you must be considerate towards women – even though they receive reservations in buses and trains; they pay atleast half of the fee we pay in any exam, preferential treatment in scholarship and so on…

But… Ladies! Beware! Every gender has its day (or set of days)… There would be a day when train compartments would announce “Women Not Allowed”