It is said that the fairer sex should always be given special treatment, whether in public or at home. Taking cue from this, the Delhi Metro not very long ago reserved a coach exclusively for women. The purpose: to ensure the women – including mothers, sisters, wives and girlfriends – have a safe and comfortable journey.
However, the move didn’t go down well with a large chunk of the men folk, especially in the initial days. The argument: “If they (women) want reserved coaches then why do they claim to be equals?”
Well, the irritation in some men didn’t die down at arguing the same. Some decided to take it further – to the women’s special coach.
The first step – ensure no ladies coach goes without men travelling inside it –
be it a father, brother, husband or boyfriend. Even the usual ‘aashiq’ made sure he continued to have a great time travelling on the Metro looking at the beautiful faces, by continuing to travel in the reserved coach, albeit
at the fag-end of it.
Then there were men who decided to travel in the ladies’ coach just to vent their anger and frustration out at women sitting on the seats, saying all the unnecessary things. Sample this: #$%@*&/>?...
Then there were the usual men vs women debates at the point where the first (women’s) coach and second (general) bogey joined together.
“Almost half the Metro is now reserved, most of it for women! Where should we men sit? Let’s teach Metro a lesson by we men boycotting it,” is a sample conversation.
It is another matter that those poor men could never afford to boycott the Metro, and had to eat crow.
Another talking point for those aashiq mizaazs: “What will we men do in Metro now? The general coaches are now so boring.”
No wonder Gul Panag was so horrified after running in a Half Marathon in Delhi recently.
You must be wondering I am being anti-men. No way guys! Because I am just describing the usual scenes witnessed in Metro trains almost daily (though the frequency has reduced now that the coaches were reserved way two months back).
For those still hurt, I will just describe a flip side of the decision too.
Some men are to some extent right when they say, “Ladies, even young girls, consider it to be their birth right to claim a seat in the public transport.”
Even after a bogey has been reserved, I have personally noticed young girls asking men of their fathers’ age to vacate ‘only for ladies’ seats in general compartments. But that is not a general observation and doesn’t mean every second girl or woman travelling on the train does it.
However, regular male travellers complain why some seats in general compartments continue to stay reserved for women when an entire coach has been made ‘out of bounds’ for men.
One trend that has been observed is many ‘single’ travelling women continue to travel in general compartments. Men with naughty thoughts say they too want attention and their purpose of dressing beautifully is not served if men don’t look at them when they travel.
This might be true in some cases, but my observation is: women believe it is easier to get a seat vacated from men in general bogey than to expect a fellow young traveller vacate seat for the old lady in the reserved coach.
And this belief has led to the flooding of general compartments too by the women folk, complain men. However, by rule general compartments are meant for everyone, even if one section of passengers has a reserved coach for them.
So for some chauvinistic men for whom it is hard to digest a special coach for women, well you will have to live with it.
My view: In this age of equals, I still believe that if Metro authorities are trying to make our mothers and sisters’ journey comfortable, it’s a welcome step. However, like with anything else there are two sides of the coin. Same with this decision.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)