Saturday, April 17, 2010

Humanity Check

Instead of continuing with the lessons learnt, I am writing this article as it affected me as a person.

I travelled in three tier AC in Podhigai Express (from Chenai to Tenaksi). I was allocated a lower berth. There were four men in the bay, all below 35 years old.  They had the other two lower berths and middle berths. Three elderly people also boarded the train; they must be above 80 for sure. They - all three of them- were allocated upper berths. It was so obvious that they can not climb up to the upper berths. I gave my lower berth to them without hesitating. After all I am healthy enough to climb up!!! But I was shocked when these well dressed, well read young men refused to give their middle berths to the elderly leave alone the lower berths. I was wondering if all of them had back pain or any such ailments that would stop them from climing up. No, that was not the case; they were all fit, they were discussing about their gym work outs and the treking experience in the train and were carrying pretty heavy luggages without the help of porters!!!

TTE also could not hlep. One old man climbed up the side upper (that is slightly lower than the other two - thank god) with great difficulty. I am sure he did not use restrooms neither did he drink water as he found it difficult to climb up and down. One of the old ladies slept in my lower berth (fortunately the side lower) , the other lady was sitting next to her the whole night. These men without shame or humanity slept peacefully.

I could not stomach what just happened. How can somebody do this? We live in a country that provided free food, water and shelter to travellers. What happened to that culture? Why don't we teach our children about helping others? Looks like 'Dove and ant' kind of stories learnt in LKG and UKG are for the exams only. All the experts say that children learn from the actions of their parents, teachers and friends more. Does this mean that there were so many bad parents and teachers after Indian independence?

Why is Railways not bothered about senior citizens? Especially when they ask for age and gender of a person while booking the tickets and provide senior citizen concession in the train ticket fare. Can we not change the seat allocation algorithms to reserve the lower berths only to the elderly people and women with infants (information on infants can be collected though they are not charged)? I'm sure it will not take a lot of effort to do this change in the code. I am ready to change the code, test the application free of cost for railways. I have written to them. I am not sure if any one will look in to the mail or not.

Will we ever learn to respect people?

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