A Generation That Cares

Lately, Chhaya, my better half and I have started travelling by Delhi Metro wherever and whenever possible. And honestly, the reason for choosing to travel by Metro Rail rather than by our own car has less to do with our concern for the environment (although it is always uppermost in our minds). The main reason for that choice is to avoid the pain of driving in heavy traffic because of which the time one takes to travel from a place A to a place B is uncertain. I recall an occasion when I even failed to convey a friend from Amity University, Noida to Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station in time. A journey, which takes about twenty minutes, took more than an hour and a half that day, and he missed his train. In addition to that ‘harassed’ feeling on the road, there is the problem of finding a parking slot in most places.

Travelling by Metro hasn’t been an experience to write home about either. The stations are crowded. In the peak hours, the trains are so packed with commuters that people have to take turns to breathe. That said, we still find it a good option, at least in the lean hours. There’s relatively less rush and we are sure of reaching our destination in time. To think of it, it is a conscious effort to avoid road rage too. I often recall an instance when a youth, half my age wanted to enter into a physical fight with me. It is a different matter that when we finally parted, he wanted to stitch a lounge suit for me; he was a fashion designer.   

So when we boarded the Metro at Okhla Bird Sanctuary last Saturday, it was just another day. We had to travel to Nehru Place––a 17-minute journey with seven stops en route. At 7:30 pm, although there wasn’t a big rush, there were no vacant seats either. We were prepared to go standing.

Good Samaritan

Just then, a lean and rather fragile looking man, with a bag in hand stood up and offered his seat to Chhaya. Chhaya politely declined because looking at his health, she felt that he needed the seat more than her. Besides, he was travelling to Vasant Vihar; sixteen stops and double the time away. But he insisted and prevailed. So without further ado, Chhaya accepted the offer and thanked him.

Even before the import of that kind gesture could sink in, another young man stood up and offered his seat to me. I was a bit embarrassed because standing ramrod straight, I maintain that in appearance I still do not look like a senior citizen. This gentleman who was to travel to Palam Vihar (20 stops and 42 minutes away) was even more insistent. Left with little choice, I succumbed to his request.

While all this was happening, there was a rapt audience watching us with smiles on their faces––a bit amused by the transaction. Why?

A Generation that C-A-R-E-S

Perhaps because such a behaviour in public, is still not-a-norm in India. In fact, momentarily even I was taken aback because somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind there was a somewhat colonial thought, which declared chivalry as the fiefdom of the armed forces. In the end, I wasn’t so surprised. The emotion that we carried when we got out of the train was one of deep satisfaction; the generation next is one that C-A-R-E-S.

Two reasons have prompted me to share my thoughts on this apparently trivial issue. Firstly, not really expecting them to behave the way they did, the gesture of those young people has touched our hearts. Secondly, there was an urge to share that feeling of appreciation.

10 thoughts on “A Generation That Cares

  1. Yes, I agree you don’t look senior citizen, but this behavior of youngsters is very common in Hyderabad. These days I am in Hyderabad most of the time. I always enjoy your writing. Thanks.
    Mohan

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  2. It’s very common in Dubai. Elders are respected. Ladies get offered seats in metros, airport buses etc. Gives a nice feeling.

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  3. It was nice to read . In Kolkata this practice is since I have known the city.
    People just get up in crowded buses for ladies and for elderly men . I used to be sweetly surprised. Now this is seen in more places . Good trend .

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  4. Oodles of compassion writ large in this narration of metro travel.Could well be an honest advertisement of all that our millenials are about-much good lost in the metro-paced struggle of daily lives.
    And not to forget the writer does also underline the metro travel hazards too : very tongue-in -cheek.

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  5. Yes….this generation is one which cares. While Neerja and I do have the looks of senior citizens, there are a few of this generation do tend to look busy or ignore us…but the numbers are few. Many willingly give up their seats….even in a crowded compartment. This is surely a comforting thought….but one wonders why some.of them who are so polite and helpful towards seniors….tend to become aggressive towards others…..
    Food for thought…!!!

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    1. At a slow pace though, the mindset is changing for good. It is an encouraging sight to see more and more people showing respect and concern for the elderly and the ladies. This type of behaviour motivates the spectators to emulate the same. Besides, I guess, an acknowledgement (like this one on my blog) encourages even more people to follow suit.

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