Looking out of the window

Hi all,

This is an email that I just received from my brother. I'll copy-paste that here, with his permission, of course. Before you read further, I'd ask you not to generalise on any of the observations he has made; rather look at the incident and tell me what you thought. Also, I guess my mother's genes were inherited not just by me but by my brother as well -- everything down below (and the title of the post as well) are his. Family traditions, anyone? :)

I got up in a public bus the other day, and found it packed. Packed in the sense, no one was standing, but there was no sitting space either: there was a passenger to every seat. But then I noticed that towards the front of the bus, there was this one seat by the aisle that was vacant. It was one of a two-seater; the seat by the window was occupied by a man. Down the length of the bus, the aisle divided the two seaters into two categories, the left side was reserved for ladies, and the right side was for gents. I sat down, noticing a large woman sitting opposite to me, across the aisle. I say "large", because that was indeed what she was: five feet nine inches tall, and with a girth of nearly two and a half feet at the waist (by my estimates, which often turn out to be wrong in the negative side), and quite young too. I looked out of the window, thinking: "size does matter!!" and feeling the emotional equivalent of this smiley: [;)]. The lady in question was talking on her cell, and I faintly remember her saying something like: "Oh I'm so sorry! It seems you'll get up from the stoppage after the one I get down at…"

I was looking out of the window, thinking about the ill effects of obesity, and how I would never become fat, when I heard someone say: "Please, have my seat!" Someone must be offering a seat to an old person, I thought. And then the oddity struck: it was a woman's voice. I turned my attention to the inside of the bus, and gaped. Miss Large was offering her seat to an old man who had just boarded the bus. The next stoppage was half a kilometer away and there was no way she would be able to sit until someone got down.

I looked out of the window again, ashamed and embarrassed. This was the first time in my life I saw a woman offer her seat to some old person. And an old man at that! I had seen from experience and observation that, women were so pampered with courtesy that they themselves seldom showed any semblance of it themselves. Case in point is this incident: I had never, I repeat, never, seen a young lady offer her seat to any old man or woman before. Cases of men getting up to offer their seats to some old or incapacitated person are frequent; but this was a first of its kind. And here I was making fun of the lady, I reproached myself.

I stole an admiring glance at Miss Courteous, and found her talking on the cell phone again, probably to the same person that she'd been talking to earlier, for she concluded with: "Yeah, I'll be just getting down at the next stoppage…. I'll tell him, yes…Good bye!" I heaved a sigh of thankfulness. At least, she would not have to stand for too long! The bus gradually slowed down. Miss Broadminded made to go, and even as she was gathering the straps of her vanity bag on to her shoulders and adjusting her hair, she told the old man: "A lady will get up in the next stoppage (which was a minute away). I've told her you're sitting here. Please leave the seat to her when she boards the bus. This is a ladies' seat." And she got down. The man stared blankly at her when she spoke; then got up immediately. I rose to offer him my seat, but he waved his hand and said in a tone that pre-empted any persuasion: "I'd prefer to stand."

I sat down and looked out of the window.

-----

End of my brother's email, and my experience is this: I have seen women give up a seat quite a number of times... maybe he hasn't travelled so much to have actually seen that happen. But yes, I also hate it when women ask old people on ladies' seats to get up because it is a ladies' seat. Also, I must mention in haste, that that too is uncommon.

Comments

  1. You are right. Most of the time women don't offer seat to anyone. But here in Delhi, almost everyone is same. No gender bias. No one offers seats to anyone, unless bus conductor shouts. :-)

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  2. I don't believe in this bloody condescension. In my estimation that woman (no, I won't call her a lady) was being pretentious and pompous. Not courteous.

    That's why I don't believe in this chivalry BS. Because that's exactly what it is: BS.

    I believe in courtesy, but I never think it should be wasted on strangers -- men or women for that matter. It's just bloody pretentiousness...

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  3. Just to clarify. I'm not against men or women... I think courtesy has its place when it's not a big show.

    What I am really against is this pretentious nonsense. And Chivalry (and the whole concept of it) is absolutely pure bull.

    I could go on and on, but I am a guy who hates putting on a show and this kind of thing is a show.

    I may sound vehement, because that's exactly what I am. I hate this posh society rules like opening the door for somebody else and that kind of thing and I'd rather be considered a boor than fall into line with the so-called genteel society.

    Pshaw! To think of it, all this nonsense has been imported from the West.

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  4. Very interesting story. I have myself never seen any woman get up and give up her seat, however young or old she's happened to be. On the other hand, I have seen many cases where a woman has asked/forced someone out of their seats because it is "ladies" seat.

    Very interesting story indeed. I think as a egalitarian society, we must do away with "ladies" seats and such LOL :)

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  5. woohooo,anti-climax to a love story ..nice post

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  6. Alka, yeah well that defines a new level of Darwinian evolution I suppose :)

    Hari, of course she was all that and much more... if I may choose one word, selfish!! Your comments are stirring, and let me just say that it is better to be a brazen outcast who believes in what he does rather than a hippocrite who always tends to belive what everyone else does.

    Supremus, really? Thats kind-a new. I have seen ladies offering seats to elderly people, though. Yeah the concept of 'ladies' seats are a bit debatable, but they have their utilities nonetheless.

    Shantanu, love story? :O Yeah well if you say so :)

    P.S. - Welcome onboard!

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  7. Western culture and their hypocrisy is revolting to say the least. That's why I am so against imported cultural nonsense... our culture is 1000 times more sophisticated and than any Western civilization... we do not need their customs and habits.

    That was the reason I am so vehement. Not because I am actively against courtesy -- but because Indians don't need to be taught courtesy by following alien customs.

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  8. Good one !

    Women can also show respect for the age ...

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  9. That was really disregardful of Ms Giant....but in the end it doesn't matter whether its a man or woman...I've seen shameless men who even refuse to make eye contact when capturing ladies seat in the bus and pretend they're dumb...its basically your individuality that counts.-Non MAC Anonymous

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  10. A good one! But, one thing!! I've seen many girls get up and give their seats to old people(I myself have done that so many times). But women doing it is rare. Maybe age does do something! :) Abt that lady's behaviour, one word sums it up. She was selfish... Did she think that she was doing a great favour to the old man by offering her seat? Utter crap!! She was just being calculative.

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  11. Hari, with all due respect, I disagree with your point of view. It has always got to be give and take, and by no means can a civilization claim to have attained perfection until every part of it lives up to the same level. There is a very fine line between aping a habit and adapting the good things in the habit into your own fold. We are indeed much better off in some areas, but we also need to learn a lot of things.

    Vinod, yes, they should. This one was probably an exception, I'd say.

    Non-MAC Anonymous, well said! And as one of my favourite sayings goes, "There shouldn't be trickery in your own plane of thought". That is probably a poor translation, but the original in Bengali by Sri Ramakrishna says, "Bhaaber ghorey jeno churi naa thake".

    Alpine Path, yes, and as I mentioned in the post as well... I have seen girls and ladies giving up seats for elder people. And yes this lady was calculative and mean and selfish... all of them, yes!

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  12. Darwinian evolution? I don't know. Never been there.

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  13. groaaann.. right now.. id be glad to fall asleep in that seat..

    * okokok wake up!*

    im bAAAACK~~ and will be hugging my pillow for a bit and then i shall be PHIT AND PHINE to take on the world again.

    hows it going?... got a girl yet?
    *runs away very fast*

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  14. Grafxgurl, ahh... it feels really good to have you back! You rest as much as you like... and then some more cool posts please!

    About getting a girl... wait for my next post! ;)

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  15. I have very often given my seat {ladies seat} to an old guy. only to have another woman ask him to get up because its a ladies seat. And i'm like - WTFMAN! Its my seat I gave it to him. Even if he gets up, I'm sitting there and not letting YOU park your lazy ass there.

    for somebody popularly accepted as softspoken, i am quite vocal when somebody is being unjust.

    i don't expect anybody to offer me a seat and all. I like chivalry, I enjoy it to be frank, but I admit it chivalry is dead and gone. i still wish guys would open doors and pull out chairs and offer seats. but i guess they're too busy to do all that anymore.

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  16. i wonder what should one do when an OLD, really old guy offers a seat because you are carrying that huge backpack of yours.

    What do you tell him, if you refuse you are saying - you are too shaky and old to offer me a seat, sit down oldguy. would that hurt him?

    or is it ok to let him stand for a while and feel good about himself. Its a tough situation. I don't know what I would do.

    I could ofcourse carry the backback and stand, because I wouldn't even get into a crowded bus with something I couldn't handle. Its just a question of hurting an old guys ego or not, or being courteous or not.

    tell me na.

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  17. sorry for the long comments, i am in an exceptionally chatty mood right now.

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  18. Selma, don't worry about long comments: your comments always carry a lot of weight and you are more than welcome to write pages after pages here.

    What you say is true... and as I said in the post itself, I have indeed seen girls giving up their seats to other people. Yes you are right in saying that your image is rather of a demure person: but the fact that you stand up against injustice means that the inner metal has become tempered steel: good to know that.

    Usually, when old guys offer seats to you, I'd say a good thing to do would be to just let them hold the backpack or keep it below their seats while you still remain standing. That way, their offer is not spurned and they do help, but in a much easier fashion than having to stand up and leave their seat.

    And who said chivalry is dead? I'd say there is an organised conspiracy going on amongst all doors (refer to earlier post) to prove that I am unchivalrous ;) And yes, whenever you are in a chatty mood, do drop by or give me a call. I specialise in bringing people back to normal :D

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  19. nice:-)

    That was very rude of that lady.. hey, I would give my seat to anyone in need:-)I always hold the door for anybody behind me and almost always(if I can)let people go waiting to mae a turn:-) I believ in courtesy:-)

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  20. Mommyof2, Yes, it was rude indeed. And I too believe in courtesy... and I applaud you for the courtesy you extend to others :)

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