There are three kinds of people ……

There are three types of people on the planet. The good ones, bad ones and the ones on  Indian trains. Once I was traveling with my wife and one year old kid on a Garib rath to Bangalore. The berths allocated to us was Side middle the infamous berth that Lalu
introduced and Side upper. Now since the kid always rolls around when he sleep, we needed a lower berth for my wife and kid to sleep.
My wife talked with a lady in her twenties requesting her to exchange her lower berth with our berth. She refused! I went around the compartment met two guys who had a lower and upper to exchange with our berths, they refused as well. Now I cannot blame them just because they refused to do me a favor. But is it too much to ask? Are people this selfish? How many times have to offered your seat to an elderly person or a lady with a baby?
I would only blame these youngsters upbringing. What I have seen growing up is my father offering lower berths to the old and women with kids. It hurts when people are very selfish and do not give the slightest compassion or care towards others.

We found a vacant lower berth and occupied it, while my wife and kid slept on it I waited. It was midnight.The train reached the next station and a man in his fifties walked in I requested him for the lower berth. He refused saying that there is a lady and a kid
with him. Since that sounds very reasonable and fair and most importantly since its his reserved berth, we got up. then I saw his ‘kid’. He was a teenager. I requested the man again. He bluntly refused, saying that he wants all three to be together. I told him that our
berths are the ones opposite to his. He just said ‘No we cannot’ i could see his wife looking helplessly and his kid with no expression on his face. I am sure thats not what he is been taught in schools.
We picked up our blankets and moved. The kid woke up and then the compartment woke up.
It was half past one. Seeing this, the young lady who previosly refused the lower berth offered to help. I told her its fine ‘I thought this train was for human beings, guess I boarded the wrong one.’ I said.
The man did not stop. He even wanted us to move the luggage around. He had just two suitcases and did not require all the space he was trying to make. He moved peoples luggage around roughly. His son and wife watching all the arrogance around. I guess that shouldn’t be what he be learning.
Now it okay to refuse to do a favor. But then there is sometthing called ethics,compassion. Guess you would get that only if you are bought up like that.

Next day morning, over hearing their conversation I learn t that the husband-wife were government school teachers …

Nice. Now I know what those poor kids are learning.

Ps : This was the only time I had to face this in my numerous experience as a traveller on Indian railways. We have many times requested for a lower berth and was never refused before, thats why this experience deserved a post.


  1. Well, if you were never refused before then solitary instance does not change the general concept of people’s mindset

  2. some people just get on train in a fighting mode!!! that side middle was a torture…thankfully never got a seat there.

  3. Side middle??? Is there any space on the side for a new berth?

  4. I dont get the logic behind the berth allocation algorithm on IR. You almost never get the berth if you book online, but if you do it at the counter you will get it.

  5. Sorry to hear about your ordeal. 😦

    The teacher couple may now be too old to learn their lessons but it is anyone to see how the genX they produce will turn out to be. We’ve seen a couple of specimen how the future will be, didn’t we?

  6. @TN Khanna,
    Yes, the third kind of people (on Indian Railways) are mostly good. Thats what I was refering to.
    Mostly we travel on the concept of Indian adjustment. 🙂
    It was there for a long time, now its been removed in most trains.
    They have a very bad logic. Lower berths are alloted to 25 year olds and women with babies are not alloted lower berth.
    @Scorpio 😦 they boarded from ekm. I hope the kid doesnt learn from his elders.

  7. Anyone who cannot give up a seat for a kid…no words to express my contempt..

  8. Oh! I would have thought that fellow is a college teacher…

  9. Yes, this is really bad, and deserves a mention here …

    Personally, I have exchanged times whenever I was asked, and sometimes even without anyone asking ..

    If you are travelling in a bus, this is something that happens daily, well, it was like that at least back there …

    you were right, you just boarded the wrong train thinking it was for humans ..

  10. @Vishesh, Nope he was a school teacher which is worse !
    Dinu, Yeah guess we need to teach good ethics to our kids atleast !

  11. We cant blame someone if they deny LaLu’s Side middle berth.
    i have seen even the tiniest man finding it tough to get inside it.

    yes some ppl dont budge, even if they can help..

  12. Hi XY!
    how re u folks?
    There is always a first time !
    mine was in an ac chair coach from mumbai to pune .. where an over sized couple of squints who were politically connected(in white gandhian clothes) and showing off their stupid mobile checkg the signal every 5 minutes, were occupying more than half of my seat, eating and spilling all the time, making my journey a real nightmare.
    The strange thing is that i found humans sharing space and adjusting in the strangest of places … guess again in a general dabba … i had to travel in one from chennai to mumbai, and did it though i dreaded the thought … but it is one of my most memorable journeys
    i had a rotten stomach and guess what i shared food wt a person from somewhere near gulbarga who offered me his chapattis and one of the best chutneys i had ever tasted , while i offered him rail pakodas, n other stuff that i couldn’t risk eating .

  13. Once when travelling in a train from Trichy to Nagercoil, the dad (or uncle) of a young pregnant lady requested me to exchange my lower berth with her upper berth. I readily obliged because it was nothing for me. He thanked me so profusely that I even thought he was flattering me. Now, I understand why he did that.
    No racist comment – Personally I have found Indians as one of the most selfish persons (Yes, I’m an Indian!!!). When walking through congested aisles pushing my baby’s stroller if somebody cares not to make room for the stroller very likely he’s an Indian – at least, for sure, that’s what I’ve experienced!

  14. @Chelkandu poda, yeah I can understand if someone refuse that. Its very inconvenient.
    on another note most of the seats on our govt buses were designed for the people from 1947. Now India eats junk and their waist sizes have gone XL. I guess its time they increase the size of the seats.
    Exactly, noone gives way to a stroller. I had experiences here in Bangalore at some big malls.
    After many incidents I decided not to take the stroller out again. Its better to carry my kid all the time than to risk pushing the stroller around when people would trip on it and walk away without an apology.

  15. mandayamr · · Reply

    I agree with all you say, and it is a painful experience no doubt.

    I am trying to understood one thing though – why did you need the side lower berth? As compared to the side middle berth, was it more spacious?

  16. @mandayamr
    I needed a lower berth as we were traveling with our kid. Small kids tend to roll around while they sleep and its risky to sleep on the higher berths.

  17. I guess we Indians are generally not too sensitive to the needs of the other person, despite us flaunting our ‘culture’ at the drop of a hat! Now having said that, I have to also say people are generally quite accommodative of such ‘berth changing’ requests. Atleast when they come across a family or children. What I do feel sad about is that the person who was arrogant was a ‘teacher’. Imagine the attitude his students must pick up from his behaviour!!

  18. Hey, first time on your blog.
    Well it is not just on the trains. I like to believe that we Indians are the rudest set of people on the planet, with not a hint of ‘maryaadha’ towards our fellow human beings. Who cares about others? And it gets more and more prominent as your look at elder people.
    And we start off with ‘culture’ at the drop of a hat. Well as far as Indians are concerned, culture=virginity and not the real meaning of being cultured and civilized towards others.
    The main reason I dislike Indians is only becuase of this compassionless and maryaadhaketta attitude.
    Keep Writing!

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