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Who will give a seat to a hapless mother in an Indian bus? No body !!!

an Indian woman carries a child as she queues for an overcrowded train at a railway station in New Delhi.

Just a day after the horrendous and inhuman Delhi gang rape incident, I was traveling via bus to my work place. It was amazing to see that on that particular day, the ladies enjoyed a rare privilege. Usually when a lady enters the bus, she is welcomed by prying eyes and a mixed bag of emotions. But on that day, men were actually competing for relinquishing their seats for ladies, chivalry was the only thing in the air, men very cautious to keep their distance not to touch or everybody was looking with such care whenever  a young girl steps in to bus. Some people even willing to take their luggage, I was totally stunned to see all this. What a wonderful world!! After a few days, everything went back to normal - the usual scanning process and the suspecting looks. 

 Another situation you can see while traveling in Kerala is when a mother carrying a child enters in the bus. Usually when the ladies with kids enter the bus, first they will look at the ladies section with the hope that some other ladies will give them their seats, but in reality it will be mostly men giving them the seats. Now ladies are wise enough not to enter through the front door (the seats around front door are reserved for ladies in Kerala buses), instead they will enter via back door bypassing the ladies section. The other "mothers" and "grandmothers" didn't even care to look at them but they will look at the men with a question in their eyes "why you guys are not allowing the lady to sit" and men in question "fathers and grand fathers", especially those who sit near the door will be enjoying the scenery (which they will otherwise ignore) or just stare at the lady, expecting the lady to pass their seat. The lady with the kid will have to spot a suitable person, better a man, who they believe will stand up. Usually it will turn up to be some young men, "unmarried men", yeah, correct choice, they will stand up. Well, bachelor men/women are supposed to be unruly, selfish and irresponsible, but in they bus, they are chivalrous than the "unselfish family men" and women" !! 

 I have some reservations on why ladies with their kids are entering a "crowded superfast bus"? They should apply some common sense there. Most people are long distance travelers in a superfast bus;  it is a herculean task to grab a seat especially at weekend days and they expect men to stand up under those circumstances let alone the women seated!! Other women also know men will stand up and thus it is not their duty to stand up. After all most women  know the pain of standing with a kid in a fast moving bus and most of them may have enjoyed the privilege before by grabbing a seat vacated by a gentle man, but still they don't consider it to be their duty to stand up for their own species when the need arises. Well, being said all these, there are exceptions. I have seen some girls instantly giving up their seats and they are bachelors...........bachelors rock!!!!

I am not a sexist. But I think both men and women have the same resposibility to stand up when a mother carrying a baby steps in a bus. I have relinquished my seat most of the times. I haven't done that when some ladies who carry grown up children just to get a seat. If it is a genuine case, I usually gives up the seat. Not because I consider women to be weak, but I feel that it is the right thing to do, a random act of kindness. Recently, supreme court, the highest court of India, gave instructions for reserving a seat for mothers in superfast buses too. Well, I think that is the best move to ensure that some justice being done to the hapless mothers. But we need to see how well it is implemented. 

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  1. I don't ride the bus as regularly as I used to, but I would always give up my seat to someone who seemed less able to stand than I was. The etiquette you describe isn't really that different here....and, after all, it is the young men and women who are vital and the older men and women who are less able to tolerate the rigors of a long bus ride. Mothers with small children also have problems. Great observations!

    1. Yeah, I have seen some pictures of Chinese men engage in a bloody fight for grabbing a seat and the apathy is same everywhere. But here women folks are peculiar in that they will not usually help another woman, in most of the things. If some rape or sexual violence happens, it will be the fellow women who blames the victim first. The young Indian women though are very reactive and pro-active with more education and liberal attitudes, the older ones are less responsive.


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