I am travelling in a first class compartment of the Mumbai suburban railways, and two youngsters come aboard at a particular station. By the way of their dressing it seems that they were in a wrong compartment. But who am I to judge. May be they are rich enough to travel by first class but not educated enough to have the right sense of dressing. But the people around me seem to take more than just notice of it. One particular ‘gentleman’ inform them in much more than a polite manner about the situation. They quietly alight at the very next station.
Another incident. Again in the first class compartment of a suburban train. Again a youth enters the first class compartment. His way of dressing is not to much of a high class, but he is accompanied by his mother, who, because of her age, might not be in a position to dress to the liking of the first class ‘gentlemen’. People start giving mean stares and a self-appointed leader gets up from his seat to inform in a loud voice, “This is a first class compartment”. The youth looks up at him, in to his eyes, and replies, sternly, “So?”. The leader quietly sits down. Case closed. It’s established that the youth, and his aged mother, are bona-fide first class travellers.
My colleague once said that he felt that first class travellers are kind of snobs with too much of self-pride. Though I travel first class, I do not take his statement as a personal offence. The above two incidents are case to the point.
In the first incident, these two youths looked to me like first timers to the city. Now, travelling in Mumbai suburban trains, is very difficult due to crowd. And more so, for people from outstation. I am sure these youths had taken tickets for their journey but landed in the wrong compartment due to lack of knowledge or, may be, lack of reading skills. Of course, Mumbai suburban trains are colour coded, but thats a fact known to mumbaikars, and not publicised to the nation. So the youths were not much in wrong. It was for the people to guide them properly and in a more polite manner. Who are we to judge whether a person is bona-fide passenger, going by his attire? If we go by attire, I guarantee that more of the very well dressed passengers are travelling ticketless.
The second incident was kind of a virtual slap on the face for the self-proclaimed leader. Seeing an old lady with the youth, he could have been more considerate by offering her his seat. But he prefered to be a leader. And he got his dues.
People….People…Let the ticket examiners do the job meant for them. For us, it a responsibility to look in to our pockets and check whether we are travelling ticketless.