The title of this note may give a curiosity to someone to know about it’s context. Some may think that this will be something interesting and many may think that is going to be yet another boring write up of my personal experience! No comments to all of them. let me proceed further.
Yes! this is yet another summary of my personal perspective (Dont know if this will be boring or not)on a very common agenda, that too , most of us face each and every day in some form or the other.
With respect to the use of public transport, I was pampered (One among the few aspects) enough till my high school days where I hardly used any such kind of transports even till the end of my school days. My college life which began in the year 2006 started with tiring bus travel for hours together as I was multitasking with two professional courses at the same time. At that point of time, I had only one responsibility upon me which was to Study and Improve my credentials and nothing more or nothing less. Travel at that time was never a burden to me and I enjoyed it in the company of cell phone music.
Then that was my last year of college followed by my beginning days of my profession where I used my two wheeler to commute. I felt the real blessing of “time saving” and was able to do lot of things with the help of my bike. In fact just to save time, I applied only for offices within 8 to 10km radius and can be crossed in just 30 to 40 minutes. Life was happy and interesting till then.
The third phase of my my life commenced when I got married and settled in a suburb and decided to continue my work. With the support of my husband and my in -laws, I decided to take up long public transport travel once again in my life.
In fact I never had opportunities to travel in electric trains before. Electric train travels were totally new to me. People around encouraged me saying that travel in a first class compartment will not be an issue and I can enjoy. I made up my mind too. But that’s not what I faced in reality.
My initial days of travel were just pathetic. Too much of physical strain, infections, allergies and mood swings and stress destroyed my peace at the beginning. The fact was that, I heard train sound in my subconscious mind when I was in deep sleep.But yes! slowly I started enjoying the train travel. Not because of anything but the stunning reality that made me realize so many things.
Travel in a local train showed different sections of the society to me. I started interacting with my co passengers, small vendors and even a transgender too who used to come in evening trains frequently. For many, life is not so easy. I saw dozens of people who travel 5 times the distance that I travel every day just for a loaf of bread. 50% of their life revolved around the train. They eat, sleep, dress up, socialize, relax, read etc etc in trains only. All I am able to say is their salaries could never do justice to the sacrifice that they do.
When a woman who is as old as my mother can travel twice my distance for the sake of her family , when a kid who is just half my age is travelling three times of my distance for the sake of his education, when a granny who has crossed seventies can travel twice my distance just for the sake of her livelihood, why can’t a young woman run for her profession which is also her passion? There was the motivation and yes, I was fully energized seeing them.
One major aspect that is still lying in my mind is the plight of school children who are provided with free pass to travel in first class compartments. Without knowing the Government’s initiative on this, people who travel in first class compartments throw abusive words on them as if they are cheating on railways and vent all their frustrations of the compartment being full! What is their problem in bashing these children is what I don’t know. I wish some announcements or notification in this regard has to published at least for these poor children who are being cursed in the beginning of their day.
Another thing that came to my mind is those who travel in foot boards. It is so sick to see small boys (school guys) geiing carried away by these and travel in foot boards even in empty trains. I wish some serious steps to be taken in this regard, as the loss if occurred will be very huge!
I could not continue working there due to various reasons and there comes an end to my electric train days. But hats off to each and every soul who energetically travel so long and continue to travel! I would seriously wish that their travelling condition needs to be improved a lot
Here comes the next segment of my travel life which occurred for last one year when I shifted my work place to a different area. Here time was not a constraint for me as I took up work as a consultant. I was initially travelling only few days of a week and only lesser hours of day. I used to take share autos right from Ambattur to T.Nagar completely. It was actually a bliss for me in the beginning as I need not wait for hours together for bus and I can SIT and travel.
But later when the duration increased I was slowly able to face difficulties in taking such a long journey in share autos.
Most of the drivers never think about any ethics, road safety, or about the plight of the passengers. In their view the passengers will be treated with respective price tags even though the maximum will be just Rs.40. (Luckily I am one among the maximum paying person because of distance)
If a person who wants to travel for so long stops the share auto the person who gets down in few stops has to adjust or at times are forced to exit. I have even been is such autos where even 13 persons traveled at the same time in peak hours. They were not stopped in any of the traffic police booths. Even if they stop, things will continue the same. This was shocking to me in the beginning but as time flew I got used to something which was unusual.
The freaking part about this is when women travel in share autos in suburban areas at unusal times. I have faced this several times when my share auto crosses Padi and most of my co passengers get down by then.
Sometimes, these share auto guys take us in a different un usal routes claiming that they are avoiding traffic. Your normal blood pressure shoots up at that time, as such roads hardly have any lights. To add flavor to this will be that moment when some random men pitch in when the there will be only one woman.
I completely agree with the fact that not all men are criminals and people cannot be judged by their looks. Perfect! But what is happening today in the world have to be taken into consideration and there is nothing wrong in being cautious.
Predominantly when I come across such situations, what I will do is mostly one among these – To call up my husband / some male friend who are in an accessible distance and inform in a casual manner about my place of travel with a landmark irrespective of the fact whether they know it or not – Switch on GPS and try tracking my location and make sure that I am not deviating far from my destination – Try to find out in a friendly manner from the auto driver or other passengers about the road (Not in a suspicious manner for sure)
I am not asking everyone to suspect / freak out when such situations arise but it is always good for our safety that we should be cautious enough of what are we upto!
And now my share auto phase too had came to an end and I have started my two wheeler days again. Though both of these days where difficult and tiring, it was a great learning for me and I enjoyed it in someway:)