Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ladies Coach in Delhi Metro – Seriously?


Thank you BlogAdda, for the feature!


Catfights are the rage this season. The other day, I was traveling in the blue line of the Delhi metro in the morning rush hour. As the doors opened at a stoppage, an ocean of women started pouring in, bustling for space and authority, filling up every left-out nook and cranny of the ladies coach. In all the hustle and bustle, an office-going young lady happened to fall back upon her neighbor, who unfortunately turned out to be a jaatni of quite a formidable temper. And that was it! She flew into a temper and pushed back, only to start with an argument. If only it had remained at that. But the next I knew, the jaatni had her hand pressed hard against the helpless girl’s throat, shouting profanities at her all along. In defense the girl’s hands flailed and fluttered about, managing to catch only as much as a button off the attempting murderer’s sweater. This only made the woman livid! “You dared tear a button off my sweater!” and WHAM! The slap resounded through the entire ladies coach, attracting many an unhidden gasp and exclamation. A girl standing right next to me, whom I assumed to be a newbie here, looked at me, visibly flabbergasted. And all I could think of saying to her was, welcome to the ladies coach of Delhi Metro.


It’s an epidemic like no other. Since the day Delhi Metro granted the city’s ladies a metro coach reserved exclusively for them, there has been no looking back. From verbal spats to catfights, they’ve done it all. Being a girl in a city like Delhi has its own negative points, not the least of them being that you’re forced to travel in that darned ladies coach. After all, you have only two options to choose from – either to be leered at by every satyr standing or sitting around you, or to travel in the “supposed” safety of the women’s compartment. And the choice is more than obvious for any girl. Period.

Traveling in the ladies coach, for me at least, is an ordeal, to say the least. Just standing there, in the midst of so many specimens of the same species and sex as you, reading their faces and knowing what’s going on in each of their minds – it is highly unsettling. Whether they are DU students or engineers-in-the-making, BPO employees or PROs, teachers or accountants at a bank, grandmothers or spinsters, it all is etched clearly on their faces, easy to comprehend for a person who has no other mode of passing time but to plug in the earphones and look around. Every time an argument or a fight takes place in the metro, everyone's eyes are on the fighters. I SAY, observe the expressions of the ones around them instead, and you'll see other things. There's this "been-there-done-that-hence-indifferent" look on most of their faces. That speaks volumes about the attitude of the ladies of our dear old Delhi Metro ladies coach.

Metro travel, I have to admit, has but a big plus point – you can complete half your daily chores in here. From filing your nails to applying sunscreen, studying for exams to finishing most of your daily quota of phone calls, it’s the most useful time of the day, which would otherwise go unutilized if you traveled by local train, bus or any other mode of transport. And every metro phone call gives a great insight into the calling person’s life; you just need to have a keen eye and a good ear. Not to mention, low volume on the earphones.

But the introduction of the ladies coach has had more misfires than it has had hits. What are its possible advantages, I ask? They say, women get privacy and security from leering men; that it prevents eve-teasing and cases of sexual harassment etc etc. But seriously, is the situation really any better, as they pretend it is? For all I know, the only thing this step has managed to achieve is a greater sexual divide in the society. Earlier it would be a fair sex ratio throughout the length of the train, with ladies seats very generously thrown in here and there, filled in mostly by grateful women. However, in the current scenario, I see a clear trend in the kinds of people occupying different sections of the train. Here’s the analysis:

• The Tharkis: These are the men (or guys, or whatever, it doesn’t even matter) who crowd in at the joint between the first and the second coaches; to be more precise, between the ladies and the general compartments. They are the ones who you can be sure of are the most desperate ones. They would stare at any woman they could manage to lay their eyes upon, with such expressions as would make anyone believe they're from some woman-less planet and are seeing aliens in us. And by any chance if a beautiful girl happens to be anywhere near the joint, voila! The density of such men miraculously increases!

• The Rebels/Insecure ones: They are the two-sided ones – on the outside, rebellious, refusing to believe that the very concept of “ladies coach” even exists – and on the inside, trying to dissuade their hearts from the realization that they are outcasts here, and that they the society has finally managed to overthrow their autocracy, at least here. They enter the ladies coach despite the authorities’ desperate attempts to divert them to their rightful place, and stay put where they are, not moving so much as an inch to let a poor woman move in her own sanctioned space with ease without having to brush past them. All I have for them is a you-know-what.

• The couples: This is another section of the metro-commuters that is on an unprecedented rise nowadays. The “couples” are found centered in two distinct regions – one, the adda of the tharkis a.k.a the Forbidden Joint, and the other, the very back of the metro train. In the first case, the female counterpart wants to escape the leers of the men in the general coaches, and the male is but forbidden in the ladies coach; what better solution than the midway then? In the second case, the male counterpart is the dominant species – to show his worth to his girl, he assures her that no one shall dare disturb her in his presence, and so, manages to travel with her at the back, where the crowd actually makes some PDA possible, in fact almost inevitable. What more could one want, did I hear?

This leaves the ladies and the ladies alone, to travel together, shoulder to shoulder, back-to-front/back-to-back in the very heart of the ladies coach. Which, one needn’t mention, brings out the worst in the feminine population of the city. Earlier, the entire female clan had a common enemy – the man, who dominates them, sidelines them and hampers their lives. Now, with the men gone, the reality lies exposed for all to see. Yes! The man was never the issue here! He was only a pretext; an easy prey to vent out all one’s anger upon. But with his disappearance, we realize that all one really wants in one’s daily life is an outlet, to let out one’s frustration. One makes oneself feel insecure, even appear victimized, only to be reassured of one’s rights. This done, all one is left with to do is to vent out that volcano on anybody one can find in the vicinity. In this case, the city’s women have turned enemies to each other. Jealousy amongst specimens of the same sex, which is more than just common among the fairer sex, only adds fuel to the fire. The result? The slightest provocation and that volcano blasts, sometimes taking down casualties with it, and sometimes to be caught by surprise at the clever dodging and backfire by the chosen victim. In the end, it’s all a battle of words, wits and sometimes strength of hands, in establishing who’s HOT(literally), and who’s not.

All that said, someone might wonder, I being a member of the very clan I talk so frankly yet somewhat slightingly about, where exactly do "I" figure in the whole scene? Well, the answer is simple. I am the silent beholder, not the participant. I never come into the picture; I just observe and then reproduce for others to see it through my eyes. Like you just did.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amazingly funny and thought-provoking. I just love your writing style.

P.S.: "sometimes to be caught by surprise at the clever dodging and backfire by the chosen victim." LOL!!XD

~Angel~ said...

Hey Anonymous,
Thank you so much. Am glad you took the time out to read through, I really thought it turned out to be just too long! :)

And that particular line..well, thank you again! :D

Dhruv Sapra said...

Amazing post friend.... well looking forward to read more of such interesting piece of work...well i write for the Dtu(DCE) times...and am really not good at writting articles...am just a poet...would you mind if i make this article a poem...or may be get this article published in the dtu times(with the blog name..or may be urs...) for others to read it appreciate the work... well having exams in may...wl get back to you ASAP after the exams....:-)Cheers,Dhruv Sapra(dhruv.sapra007@yahoo.co.in)

~Angel~ said...

Hey Dhruv,
I am delighted to read your comment. Really, I'd be happy for my article to be published in the DTU times..or even if you convert it into a poem and get it published( provided you mention my name and blog link with it :) )
All the best for your exams, do well! :-)
Hope to hear from you soom :-)

Anonymous said...

Heylo again!! :D
The post might be long, but it holds the interest of the reader and that is why it is nice. By the way, i have just started following your blog and hope that I'll keep on getting some amazing stuff to read.. :D

~Angel~ said...

You surely will, I assure you :D
Thank you for the support, it is much appreciated! :)

Amit Gupta said...

I love you for this post, i mean REALLY !!

Reason: Read this

http://loveisalwaysnew.blogspot.com/2011/04/is-common-courtesy-gender-dependent.html

And deduce :)

Cheers!

Kartikay said...

Facebook-like!

I think that the Delhi Metro has brought out the true nature of people - whether they're quiet, up to no good or just plain boisterous - it's all exposed!

Hope to read some more great stuff!

~Angel~ said...

@Amit - I read your post...and have to say, I LOVE YOU BACK! You understand my sentiments as a metro commuter quite well :)

Congratulations, you have another follower! :D

~Angel~ said...

@Kartikey - Really, the Delhi Metro provides a great insight into the true attitudes and natures of the city's population - its a real experience in itself!

Hope to see you here more often :)

Anish said...

Wow, great write-up! I had always heard stories about the women's dabba of the Mumbai Locals: ladies arguing, fighting, pulling hair, etc. Now I know the Delhi ladies are no less feisty. Keep writing, I'll keep following!

~Angel~ said...

Thank you so much :)
I do not know much about Delhi's or Mumbai's local trains - haven't had the chance to set foot in one as yet - but would surely love to, one day...if only for the sake of writing about a new experience!

Delighted to have you follow :)

Seema said...

Great post! I'm curious why no one says anything to break such fights and maybe prevent them?

It's interesting that instead of having a supportive girly environment it's the opposite.

Atleast I know I need to be on guard when on the Delhi Metro!

~Angel~ said...

@Seema - Thank you! :)
Actually, people all around DID try to restrain the two ladies and stop the fight, but alas, to no avail.
And regarding the expected "supported girly environment", it really is too much to expect. The rivalry and sense of competition between females overcomes any kind of compassion they may feel for each other. Sad, but true!

Anonymous said...

@Seema: No one tries to prevent such shows of affection because people are interested in being the silent beholder, not the participant. They never come into the picture; they just observe and then reproduce for others to see it through their eyes. Like 'Angel' just did.

@Angel: No offense, nothing personal.. :)

refreshingcandour said...

Amazing post I must say! Laughed my way through :)

Here are some of my views on the reservation on the Delhi Metro @ http://refreshingcandour.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/reservation-on-the-delhi-metro/

Prateek said...

Wow! I never knew women compartment is one heck of an ordeal to some. Talk about the rest 3 or 5 coaches; life is hell there. I am a daily metro commuter and I face such non human acts too. You are so right about the tharkis. They settle on the joint between the ladies compartment and the second adjacent compartment to it; trying hard to put the definition of “ogle” to its pinnacle. The couples are a big distress for me too. Their PDA’s are always irking. A lot of people enjoy it, eh! Some of the souls put music on such high volume that the song in their ears almost appears to be a porn to most.
I totally sympathizes you.

ravindra rajput said...

HUmorous post but on serious note somehow I feel the very idea of having a separate coach for women is not correct... It indeed does
create a gender divide.As the world progresses ahead we are moving a step back by introducing such reservations.It will infact increase the talibanization of the thinking of people.

indianhomemaker said...

Actually violence has no gender, and bullies and aggressive types ('you don't know who I know' types also) should be firmly controlled, are there no security personal in the ladies coach? One could get seriously hurt too.

I didn't understand this bit - "...The man was never the issue here! He was only a pretext; an easy prey to vent out all one’s anger upon."

Do you think maybe then women might be better off traveling in general compartments? I read about a young woman who was attacked by a man in a crowded general compartment.

Metro seems to be becoming an example of 'Survival of the Physically Fittest'.

~Angel~ said...

@Anonymous - Well, you did use my very own words as an obvious pun on people, me included. But then, I don't mind one bit. Freedom of expression! :)

@Prateek - First things first, thank you for the sympathy. I see you are a person who OBSERVES those very obvious things in the metro like me.

~Angel~ said...

@Refreshingcandour - Thank you so much.
I'd like to mention, I loved your title "refreshing candour". And the views you express in your own post, I quite agree with them. I, being a young girl, have never really ever made a man get up from a seat reserved for ladies, even if he happens to be a young healthy man capable of standing on his own two legs. But when it comes to the elderly, I always make sure they get a seat if it is within my control to get them one.

~Angel~ said...

@Ravindra - Actually, yes, the talibanization point you picked up is quite true. And very much in the offing in the near future, I am afraid.

@Indianhomemaker - Yes, there indeed are security personnel, but are stationed on the various stations and not inside the trains as such, which reflects a lot upon the Delhi Metro's security measures. And as for the part that you didn't understand, all I mean to say is that in most of the cases where women bitch and complain about men sidelining and suppressing them in today's society, its actually just a way of venting out their frustration and anger. Not always, but yes, many a times. Because I used to travel in the Metro before the reservation of the ladies compartment too, and I assure you, such acts of violence would never happen in the general compartment.

Indian Home Maker said...

I agree that it would have been best if women could travel like everybody else, without fearing for their safety - and no reservations were there, for or against women in public transport and also other public spaces.

I once received this link,

" ...the man tried to slap her face, she ducked, but his hand slapped across her chest. What's worse is that not a single person stood up for her. Nobody said a word. She yelled. She stopped the train, she called for help. Nobody came. She called 100, they were dyslexic and began to ask for directions to the Hauz Khas metro which is ironic since the police station is right there, a couple of metres away.

The men in the compartment began to yell at Dharini for having delayed the train, they "had to get to work". The police came, and when she told them to take the man out, the other men, realising it would cause a further delay, told the men in khaki that Dharini was "crazy". " [Click to read the original]

~Angel~ said...

@Indian home Maker - This was truly an eye opener. Well, I have to admit, something like this has thankfully never happened in front of my eyes. But I guess this is the bitter reality. And it needs to be fought against.

Anonymous said...

@Angel: I agree that such an act of violence could not have happened in the general compartment but you are ignoring the other factors. The ever increasing queues at the ticket counters, the hustle and baffling to acquire some part of the metro and the presence of some 'bad' elements, all contribute to making the journey quite unsafe for women and children.

~Angel~ said...

@Anonymous - I agree completely with your point. In fact, I just skipped out some of the other factors that lend the Delhi Metro its formidable reputation today, by choice. If I were to write about each and every issue that needs redressal in the metro, it'd form a totally separate blog in itself!

cloud nine said...

Happy i came here through blogadda! Nice blog this one and especially this post. Travelling by ladies compartments were always a nightmare for me, thank God i am now past my train days. I can perfectly understand how it feels when you are sandwiched between women and men as well...Public transport by all means has become public nuisance to women. Keep going girl...would love to read more like this from you! Following you:)))

~Angel~ said...

@Cloud nine - I am delighted to know that you liked what you read. Having had the same experiences as I described above, am sure you'd have a better view of my perspective. :)
Thank you for the immense encouragement...do keep it coming! :)

Deguide said...

Detailed insight into Delhi Metro travel, i believe Mumbai metro is better despite the crowd being 4 times higher than Delhi. Congrats on Featured post in Blogadda

~Angel~ said...

@Deguide - Thank you so much!

merC_ry said...

yet another nice read. Reminded me of my engineering days, I used to be late many times, and frustration followed.

You talk of a ladies coach, In Mumbai we have an entire train (8.24@Borivali) dedicated for the females.

Punit said...

Quite a great post....i must say...thanks for sharing a Girl/Lady's view on Ladies' coach :)

Madhu Nair said...

:) Interesting read ... great observations ... !

~Angel~ said...

@Harshal - Thanks again! I really hope I get to travel in the Mumbai local train some day. Both in the ladies as well as general ones. Am sure it'd be a learning experience. ;)

@Madhu - Thank you! :)

~Angel~ said...

@Punit - Oh no, thank YOU for reading it through to the end and appreciating! :)

Rakesh Maurya said...

Hey Angel, funny and nice post. I have travelled alot in Delhi Metro but never heard or seen any such incident. It seems the fight is b'coz there were no men around and they show all there strenght. ;).

~Angel~ said...

@Harshal - Thank you! :)
And I've heard of the Mumbai ladies train. hope to have the opportunity to travel in it someday!

@Rakesh - Thank you so much. :)
You got the point. That was surely one of the reasons of the unusual show of strength. ;)

GvSparx said...

Yes! The man was never the issue here! He was only a pretext; an easy prey to vent out all one’s anger upon. But with his disappearance, we realize that all one really wants in one’s daily life is an outlet, to let out one’s frustration.

Not many girls dare to say that...
You dare to reject something you don't need. I think when we talk about equality(if it is we are trying to achieve between men and women), it will stay a castle in the air....unless and until one starts to deny the preferences one is getting which are not required.
I just can't understand what they are trying to achieve reserving seats in metro and the parliament... it is like putting crutches to healthy limbs.
If it continues this way, i can't even imagine a day where women would be able to call themselves equal or better..!!
Very well written article. i love your way of thinking.
" lastly, Please come back to our coaches :D "

joey said...

if uve never travelled by mumbai's trains,then u aint seen nuthin yet!!
a similar thing haddpnd once in the ladies compartment here,,where a decent office girl got into a "situation" with a fisherwoman;p..but this office girl was kinda mean and b*thcy,so the fisherwoman emptied her fish water on the girls head!lol..

Pathfinder said...

Nice post ... wondering how the situation is in Delhi's metro rail

~Angel~ said...

@GvSparx - Well, I do dare to say what I feel. And if it goes against the norm, I know how to put it just right so as to not create a brouhaha. Thank you. :)
And ummm...as far as returning to your coaches remains, you yourself know how badly filled with leering men the general coaches are these days. Its hell out there for girls. So, no donut for you! :P

~Angel~ said...

@Joey - Lol...that was a really funny incident. Glad you shared it here. :D
And alas, I've never been to Mumbai in all of my 19 years, but hope to, soon!

@Pathfinder - Thank you. :) I presume you haven't been in the Delhi Metro as yet. That's one hell of an experience you're missing!

GvSparx said...

Hahaha!!
Enjoy your VIP lifestyle in coach number 1 :D

Arun Prakash said...

An interesting perspective well crafted, worthy enough to get published in a national magazine!
And I couldn't resist to appreciate your intelligence on how you wrote the last paragraph. :)

The place where I live, women used to occupy the seats in the front side of passenger bus whereas men used to occupy the back half of the bus. It's funny that I usually witness these kind of rukus among women in the crowded buses whereas the men are quite. And also catfights while they queue up for the public tap water.

~Angel~ said...

@Arun Prakash - Thank you so much friend. I feel gratified with the adulation you shower on me :)
And yes, it is a shame but such fights happen more within the female clan than with the male, at least as far as public transport is concerned.

vipul garg said...

simply awesome 1......

Vipul Garg said...

simply amzing.....

~Angel~ said...

@Vipul - Thank you :)

a1gaurav said...

kudos to you for acknowledging a lot of things that women generally don't even though those are stark truth. I understand the need for a ladies compartment to give a sense of security in a place like Delhi but I feel rage when I see a woman "demanding" the two seats that are again reserved even in the normal coaches. Few of the episodes that i've witnessed the female has literally harassed the men and humiliated them for sitting in the seat where it is written "Reserved for women". So much for equality.

Parveen said...

let me first tell u i m from mumbai and here u can add one to ur list
# cockroaches
believe me they are capable of quite a ruckus

Mahima said...

@Gaurav
Thanks a lot. And what you pointed out, well, it is the truth and someone had to own up to it. :)
But well, while we are at it, I'd like you to get the other side of the story too. Do check out this post, it is wonderfully informative and enlightening.

http://newsthatmattersnot.com/2011/05/the-ladies-seat-we-have-the-reason-to-ask-for-one.html

Mahima said...

@Parveen
OMG...are you talking about cockroaches in a train compartment? I can imagine what a mess they could create if spotted in a ladies compartment..! :O

kishoreonshore said...

Awesome !!!!!!!! :D :D never really been in a ladies compartment for not-so-obvious reasons but I know exactly what you mean !!! :P

you should take a video and post with this blog post :P :D :D :D its gonna be kick-ass ! :P quite literally !

SuKupedia :) :) said...

a very nice post narrated in a superb way.. I hated travelling in a ladies dibba..mainly because it hurt me that why could i not just travel general just like men..
liked ur writing style :)

Mahima said...

Kishore

Yeah right, not-so-obvious reasons indeed. :P
But I wouldn't dare to go clickety-click while people around me are fighting for their lives (or their egos). It's better fun to enjoy it live and then write about it for others to imagine. :D

Sukupedia

Thank you so much. :) Indeed, I don't like to do that either. And so, I usually travel in the general coach nowadays.

Anonymous said...

nice one. specially your The Tharkis secton.. mostly guys fall on this category..

shubham said...

too good of a read....your post made me stand on that tharki joint from where i could see what happens on that forbidden land

Mahima said...

@Anonymous - Thank you.

@Shubham - Thank you so much.. Am glad I was able to vividly portray the scene I see around me in the metro.