I traveled to Bombay last evening by train. As usual I left the issue of booking the ticket too late and so was not able to reserve a seat for myself. Hence, I went standing. The train journey from Poona to Bombay is slightly over three hours and so there were a lot of other standing passengers too.
Standing next to me were a Moslem gentleman and his missus, both slightly past middle age. Seated nearby were a young man, his wife and on her lap, their very young child. About midway through the journey, the man rose and offered the Moslem lady his seat. She waddled over, knocking into a couple of other standing passengers on the way, and plopped herself down next to the young, slim wife, her girth overflowing in all directions.
Now, standing for three hours is itself not much of a big deal. But when you consider the shaking and clanging of the train and the fact that you're often contorted into some weird position because of the other people around you, then it becomes slightly more challenging than a mere stroll in the park. I'm sure the Moslem lady must have been plenty relieved to be able to sit for a while.
But my point is this -- shouldn't she get up again after resting her legs for a while, and give the seat back to the gentleman? Is it fair for him to have to stand for the remaining half of the journey, considering that it was after all his seat to begin with? He was kind enough to offer this lady some respite -- surely he deserves the seat back again. If not for the fact that sitting is less trouble than standing, then at least for the fact that it is more comfortable too. (He was probably being given a whiff of a few underarms where he was standing!)
So what's your take on the offering of a seat? If it's a long journey, should the "offeree" return the seat back to "offerer" after some time? Incidentally, this lady didn't.
You know the old joke about what the height of mixed feelings is -- watching your mother-in-law fall out the window of your high-rise apartment, straight onto your BMW! Well, I have a new answer to the height of mixed feelings. I shall explain.
Yesterday being Sunday, there were plenty of picnickers -- both young and not so young -- returning to Bombay from Lonavala in our train. Among them was a small bunch of females in their early twenties, who were standing between two rows of seats. Although, they were returning from a day out in the country (as the fact that they boarded at Lonavala and the mud on their clothes evidenced), they were dressed like they had been to the mall or the movies. Indians have little dressing sense when it comes to swimming and picnics, but I'll reserve my opinions on this for a later post.
So there they were, dressed in tight jeans, standing and talking. One of the girls had her ass right in front of the face of one of the male passengers who was sitting down. It was quite some derrière too! And it was so in his face, that he would really, really have to make a great concerted effort consisting of severe twisting and craning of the neck in order to not stare at it!
The problem? The guy was sitting right next to his rather truculent looking girlfriend!