Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Some Anecdotes…

28th May, 2007

Myriad experiences await us in our daily life, be it in our school, college or office. Each of us come across some strange situations, some weird people during the course of our lives, and the strangest or the most arresting of such situations deserve to be shared…

So, I bring to you today some experiences from my real life! All these incidents occurred somewhere between April and May 2007, so they are mainly related to office life.

Anecdote 1:
In Kolkata, traveling to office during peak hours can be quite a headache – much like the locals of Mumbai and the buses of Delhi, public transportation vehicles become overcrowded, and passengers nearly hang on to the vehicles for dear lives. One very common mode of traveling here is the auto rickshaw. Legally, an auto rickshaw is supposed to transport only three passengers at one go. Typically, they transport at least four commuters, and at times the number rises to six! While three people sit in the backseat, the extras are accommodated in the front seat beside the driver. It can be imagined what the situation looks like!

However, this being the common story, no one really minds, and guys and gals sit in the front seat alike without being too fussy about it.

One day, when I was coming back from office, two guys and I were sitting in the back seat of an auto. Along came a “damsel in distress”… not getting an option of choosing a comfortable back seat, she promptly asked one of the guys to shift over to the front seat!!!

Now, I happen to have a very expressive face! If I’m not carefully guarding it, my face reflects exactly what I am thinking or feeling – and this woman’s behaviour shocked me! I must have gaped at her with as much disgust as I could muster, coz the guy, before obligingly shifting over to the front seat, gave me a half-smile – as if to say, “yes, lady, such women still do exist!”

I could not help but pierce the “damsel” with an extremely sarcastic look, silently telling her, “I’m so ashamed of you”. She too must have read my expression well enough, coz the look of indignation on her face could not have been triggered by anything else!

Once upon a time, such behaviour would be condonable and in fact be deemed a common occurrence. But no working woman does it today. I have seen women in sarees sit in the front sit without batting an eyelid, because that is the order of the day, the need of the hour.

In today’s world, when Kolkata is one of the leading metros to proclaim equality between men and women, such things are indeed shameful, esp. when it comes from a woman herself. If we women cannot stop asking for such special favours, we will never be able to achieve the goal we are looking at, and men will be quite justified in saying “And then they say they are our equals…!!!”

Anecdote 2:
I always thought motherhood brings the ultimate maturity to a woman. However, this incident showed me that it’s not always true!

On my way back from office yet another evening, we were stuck in a usual traffic jam near Ultadanga. Standing right beside our auto rickshaw was a Tata Sumo, which appeared to be working as a shuttle. One of the occupants of the car was a young woman aged about 30, with her kid (he’d be two year old, at max).

The woman was comfortably sitting near the window, and she’d sandwiched the kid in between her and another commuter beside her. Quite predictably, the kid was too bothered by the heat and humidity (the car did not have the AC running) and was howling pitifully… Sitting in the auto rickshaw, I, being a bystander with no particular experience of rearing kids, was wise enough to realize that the kid should be placed near the window, so that he’d get some fresh air… His mother, however, either could not understand that, or was too selfishly reluctant to give up her own comfortable window seat.

It was, however, her next action that totally dumbfounded me. In order to pacify her son, she took out a cell phone from her purse, dialed her husband’s number, and held the phone to the poor kid’s ears, asking him to speak to his “Papa”!!!

The fellow commuter sitting beside her commented upon the same thing as I was wondering – is luring the kid with a cell phone the answer to his discomfiture? Or would it have been much better to take his fancy clothes off, and take care of his woes by simply putting him next to the window?

Anecdote 3:
A colleague of mine recently related his own sad story of heartbreak and personal loss… He’d got an opportunity of studying in a premiere institution (the same as mine, actually – that’s why he related the story!) but for taking that up, he’d have to leave Kolkata and go stay in Pune for five years.

When his then girlfriend got to know about his plans, she told him not to go away because she’d be left alone here; and upon hearing this, my colleague cancelled his plans, tore off his tickets and changed all his plans!

I was used to such stories in films and fictions… When I heard about this real incident in the life of a real person, I just could not help blurting out, “how stupid can you get?”

People might think I’m against compromises of any kind, and many of you might tell me that adjustments are necessary in all relationships. But I beg to differ. I totally agree to the first part – every relationship is based on some compromise or the other. But where this compromise comes willingly, more often than not the compromising party does not mind or regret making such a compromise. But when one party asks the other to make a compromise, in my opinion it reveals pure selfishness. The party making the compromise in such a situation, more often than not, feels deprived and neglected. He/she feels that he/she is the only one making compromises in the relationship; and when such a feeling creeps into the mind, the relationship almost always fails.

As did my colleague’s. He is not with the girl any longer.

Today, as he looks back upon those days, I’m sure he stops awhile and thinks, “what did I gain by such a compromise?”