It’s a standard day in Metro, a working day. Which means that there is hardly any space to place your legs, let alone your bags. But the brave-heart commuters are carrying it on. I am going to university as usual, and plan to change at Kashmiri Gate. Suddenly there is a disturbance in the force. I lift up my chin to see some commuters arguing loud. I remove my earphones to be able to hear the conversation.
“…. See Mr., I know the types. You were not standing properly’- One lady commuter has her finger pointed to a man.
” O Madam, I was standing straight. Now, what can I do if there is so much crowd?’ The man was defending.
“Don’t give me excuses. Be within your limits otherwise, I will call the CISF people.” The lady was furious.
“Madam, leave it na. It was an accident” a fellow commuter was trying to calm her.
“Ma’m, I think you should go to the Ladies Coach. It is normal to have crowd in the general coach. If there is a Ladies coach, you should use it. Why you came here?”- A middle age man threw his pearls of wisdom.
And it was at that moment I knew the conversation has ended. The ultimate argument was thrown. ‘You should go to Ladies Coach’.
When the DMRC had announced a separate coach for Ladies, it was a sigh of relief at first. It meant no more intentional or unintentional touching. But soon the Ladies coach became a sight of fear rather than relief. It became as crowded as the general ones, forcing some ladies to travel in generalones.. But then, the above scenario became a common sight, where they were asked to go in the ladies coach. This begs the question- Is this the only solution to the problem at hand?
I know exclusion is a great technique. But doesn’t this limit the space of one gender over other? In a 6-coach metro, reserving one coach for female seems insufficient when one can notice the increasing percentage of female commuters month per month. Though it is impossible to provide correct statistics, as there is no way to differentiate commuters. Nevertheless, the problem at hand is a major one.
So what are the other solutions then? Increase the number of ladies coach or do away with them all. I think for the time being, increasing the coaches are a temporary solution. But as I said, exclusion is only the last resort. We have to strive for keeping our metro save for all passengers. Instead of resorting to separate them, we should come up with a way to identify the general troublemakers. This can be done through personalized metro cards, and do away with token at all. This way, a frequent eve-teaser can be identified and kept from travelling in metro. I know this is a humongous task, but it will help to separate the abuser, rather the victims. We then, can have a rather safe ride in our metros. And that is my stand!!
#Staytuned for more stuff from Priyank!