I was traveling by train the other day on the Lalbagh Express (Chennai – Bangalore) . I managed to get a confirmed ticket on Second Sitting, which is the second class sitting compartment – reserved. The train starts at 1530 hrs and it was not crowded at all. But when the clock struck 1525, there was a huge gust of people rushing in and occupying whatever seat they could find. This did not amaze me; well I have been traveling in trains for a long time now. But there is one another thing that is common in all train journeys.
The seat adjustment.
Consider a family of 4 or a large group of 6, since most of the time we book tickets at the last moment the seats would be allotted scattered. The first one hour after boarding the train would be spent by the leader (whom we can assume as the one who has the tickets and keeps on counting the seats and berths, shouting out his seat numbers, indirectly asking the people sitting or leaning on his reserved seat to MOVE) to move people (read other passengers) around the compartment so that he can get his group sit together.
A well dressed man approached me and said
“I am sorry??” I said and removed my ipod headphones.
“Are you traveling alone?” he asked again. Smiling at the silliness.
“Yes” I said.
“Do you mind moving to another seat.”
“I don’t as long as there is one, Sure ! “ I said and picked my bag.
He directed me to another seat pretty much closer to mine.
He approached the old man sitting (or was sitting) next to me and asked the same question. And in a while the old man was with me in our newly allocated seats.
“Koncham adjust pannunke” (Please adjust a little) he said again and kept few of his luggage under our seats.
I am a victim of seat adjustment every time I travel alone. They target the single travelers who fall easy prey to their questions. How do they identify that you are traveling alone?
If you are armed with a book and have head phones glued to your ears. You are traveling obviously alone.
I am okay with adjustments. It’s okay to move. It’s okay if the family wants to sit together.
But I get moved every time! Every single time!