Indian railways is one of the biggest railways in the world. But being the biggest network is not the the beauty of it, the most unique feature of it is that you can see many different types of personalities traveling together. I think it is the best place to study human behavior and personality traits.
I happen to remember an incidence when I saw different behavior of same person. A very old lady with her old fashioned bag was sitting in an AC coach. She was too old to walk herself, she had a walker kept in front of her which was taking more place than herself. I doubt she could read or barely see without her thick glass frame. How can some one can get this old, I thought. All of a sudden 3 men came and stood in front of me blocking her from my sight. I then realized I was almost staring her. One of them encountered the old lady and enquired of her seat. They figured that the lady was having a general ticket but somehow got in their seat. The man was a middle class man returning to his town, one station away, from work. He had a mustache and a large round belly. He must have never excercised, as most of the other people in India.
The man saw the old lady and asked about her family. She was traveling alone. Her younger son bought her the ticket and got her boarded on train, her elder son will receive her on the station which was around 4 – 5 stations away. I thought the man and his friends will now try to move her out of their seat, as any other person in india would do. In india it is hard enough to get a train a ticket, so people are generally very emotionally connected with their seat. But the man too was moved by her story, he sat with his friend tried to converse with the lady. He started discussing with his friends about her sons who left their mother in a train on a wrong seat, alone. They already had made a whole picture of the two uncaring sons. Some time passed by. The man thought to rest for a bit and asked the lady to shift a little.
All of a sudden, the old lady started shouting. She started speaking ill of man that he is asking an old woman to move. The man was startled. She shouted at him that he can very easily walk to the seat that was booked for her, which she thought was in the next coach. But the man knew she had a general ticket not the AC coach ticket. He tried to explain her but she was not ready to hear. She thought she has to fight to keep sitting in that seat. The man got up and sat somewhere else. I did not understand why the lady started to shout on a man who gave her seat to sit.
In the country with limited resources and a billion population, people learn from their birth that they have to fight to get something. It is difficult to grasp that we don’t have to fight always, not every one will pull you down if you seem weak.
In all of this, I reached the next station where I got down. The men also got off the train. I turned back to the lady from the platform, the train started moving slowly, I saw three other people boarding the train, the old lady still sitting waiting for next one to come and getting ready to save that seat…