It seems like just yesterday I shared my first post on my interesting public transport encounters. Two years ago when I first ventured into blogging I opened up with a post called train tales and I have been meaning to share more of my train incidents and here goes.
Although I have built a certain level of tolerance towards metro transport as I have been commuting to work for the last few years, I can’t imagine riding the train standing throughout the length of the journey especially in the early hours of the day to get to work. The early rising during work week only drives me insane and aching for more rest and therefore I found a hack to find seats which is to catch the train at this specific station where the coach is almost completely empty during the mornings. This helps me tremendously to rest while traveling. I was relieved to find this empty station and every morning I take my train from this stop. In these hassle free mornings I usually slink into an empty seat pull out my oversized Ray-bans and wear them, figuratively drawing the curtains so that I may not be disturbed by anyone and can rest peacefully.
For a while everything was going smooth but one weekday morning as I was dozing away on my seat as usual, I hear a disgruntled tone of a woman from the entrance scolding the passengers around her for not offering seat to a pregnant woman. I am pretty sure all of us in the train had to do a double take staring at her tummy because she didn’t look any pregnant and only after she angrily brandished her finger indicating the tiny pregnant lady hidden behind her did we know that she was fighting tooth and nail on behalf of this other pregnant women and demanded righteous action from us to offer her a place to sit and the funny thing was she kept ordering the pregnant lady to speak up but the woman wouldn’t budge. She just kept mum and didn’t even so much as lift her head slightly even though she had unfailing support from this intimidating lady.
Honestly, without a shadow of a doubt had I noticed the woman first I would have offered my place and so did I and although I was seated much further behind in the coach, my empathy got the better of me and I instantly sprang up, called out to her and offered my seat. As she loomed closer all I could notice was her heaving breath and her shiny sweaty forehead.
I was happy to have helped her that day and partly relieved seeing her seated safely, as the metro crowd can get overwhelmingly large in numbers once the journey progresses. I rode the train standing and let me mention that this isn’t entirely new to me as I voluntarily give away my seat all the time to old people and mothers with kids or if somebody requests kindly and I am always happy to relinquish my seat then. But this time it was a little different and I am hoping you will understand what I went through as I go on but if not, it’s still cool. To each his own 🙂
So the next morning I again catch the train and find my trusted seat and get settled and lay my head on the head rest and within a few stops the same fully pregnant woman from the previous morning gets in, in the exact same manner with her head hanging low and eyes unseen. However, she carefully weaves her way through the crowd and manages to stand right in front of me. (coincidence or what ???) So… What did I do? I obviously stood up and offered my seat and I gave her a look of recognition and quickly flashed a bright smile at her but she just continued to look down and seated herself quietly. My smile slowly faded and I just assumed she was having a tough day or something. I rode to work feeling a little taken aback but I immediately dismissed the thought because I wanted to be more understanding of her as she is carrying a baby in her and I was wondering if it must be really hard during pregnancy and told myself that I mustn’t be judging her and let her be.
The third morning came by and my routine continues but for some reason I decided to take a different seat and sat comfortably but my gut instinct said that my seat will be seized shortly even today and before I could barely finish my string of thoughts, walks in the silent pregnant woman who although never looks up somehow manages to track me down and stand right in front or next to me hoping that I would jump up to offer my seat. This confirmed two things very clearly. Number one being she knows me and number two being she was totally targeting me for her seat privileges!!
You can call me mean or rude but this time I wanted her to make a conscious effort from her end. Not that I expected or passively demanded her to beg for the seat but I naturally expected an acknowledgement of some sort or least a smile from her which obviously never came and I silently observed her through my shades and stayed seated for a little longer than she expected to see what is she going to do. What came next was even more annoying. My idleness persuaded her to let out a strong AHEM!! which was obviously directed to me and not the people sitting next to me She cleared her throat so loudly hoping that her voice will jolt me awake not knowing that I knew what she was up to. Then comes a second even more resounding AHEM!!
Thanks to her that I knew she was not dumb and that she could talk…. but no!!.. not even a “hi” or a “thank you” would come from her strictly pursed lips since her valuable energy has been spent in specifically targeting and hunting me down. Frankly I was quite irritated at that time and my empathy and understanding flew right through the window that very instant. I sharply emptied my seat for her to occupy it and as expected no look of acknowledgement or a thank you yet again!!.The whole world knows what’s “Excuse me” and “thank you” except for this person!! Thanks to my Big Ray ban frames she didn’t see my scornful eyes and the pent up fury coupled with this weird sense of humiliation I was feeling inside but am pretty sure people like her don’t care about others but themselves.
I battled between the overriding emotions of guilt and fury as a tiny voice inside me still insisted that she is pregnant!! And to leave it and be calm… but the other voice coursed through angrily and said “But what about being polite??” Does this mean a pregnant woman can take advantage of her pregnancy and demand another person that too the very same person’s seat every single day whenever they want without any consideration?? Not a hello or a thank you? Not Even once?? Don’t we deserve a thank you and a warm smile at least?
Whatever happened to basic manners and courtesy?!! I caught myself thinking that as a person she right royally used me but to the outside world she might appear as a timid shy fully pregnant lady who needed care and attention but clearly I was being played and I got sick of being the victim. I was deeply tarnished by her inconsideration and it took a while for me to calm down and not be over ridden with guilt for experiencing these powerful negative emotions because I knew that my intentions were in the right place and I wanted to help and be kind but unfortunately kind people are considered doormats to some.
So the reason for this post is to spread the word that everyone deserves a smile and a thank you in exchange of a kind gesture. Don’t take undue advantage of anyone no matter what. Never take a kind person’s gesture for granted just because they are kind doesn’t mean they are spineless slugs. A smile is a universal language and saying a polite thank you costs nothing.