Saturday, September 26, 2009

If I don't care, who will care?

I had a memorable travel experience from Tuticorin to Chennai. This time, for a change, I had booked my tickets in the "sleeper class". "Sleeper class" tickets cost only 30% of what you normally pay for "Third AC" tickets.

It is nearly 10+ years since I traveled in "sleeper class". My brain is still fresh with memories of "train travel" during my college days. During those days, "sleeper class" travel is a "luxurious thing". I normally used to travel in "unreserved" coach because it is very inexpensive. Unreserved coaches are typically packed with people. You'll be lucky if you get a chance to stretch your legs because someone will either be sitting or sleeping near your feet. During college days, the thought of traveling in 'sleeper class' excites me. First of all, I get a chance to properly "sleep" during my travel. Second of all, I get a chance to travel with all my college friends in "sleeper class". So, with all those sweet memories, I stepped into the "sleeper class" coach at Tuticorin.

I was first shocked to see the condition of the coach. Most of the things inside that coach was either rusty or dirty. The rest room was in pathetic condition - handles were 'sticky'; taps weren't clean; and there was a bad smell. The restroom had a western toilet and there were plastic bottles inside the toilet sink. I couldn't stop the tears that popped out from my eyes. Having traveled in 2nd AC & 3rd AC coaches recently, I know Indian Railways, maintain the rest rooms there, in a very good condition. But, the "sleeper class" rest rooms were in terrible condition. I couldn't imagine how the "unreserved coach" rest rooms will be. Why are people treated differently? Aren't the people traveling in "sleeper coach", HUMANS? (Also read: A ban on spitting pan in public places - who enforces it?)

I got down from the train at Mambalam and took a metro train to Nungambakkam. The coach was filled with people. Right after entering the coach, I smelled something very bad. I then observed that some of the other passengers have closed their nose with hand kerchiefs. I was looking around to find out where the smell was coming from. The thing that I saw, moved me very emotionally, again. There were human faeces on the floor spread out in a 3 ft x 3 ft area. It was in a dried up condition. I resisted the smell and got down at my station. But, I pitied the people, who were sitting in that coach for the rest of their journey.

I'm an educated youth. I'm passionate about my country. I get moved when I see things go wrong in front of my eyes. But, I didn't take any actions on that day. I didn't complain to anyone about the 'unclean' toilets or the 'nasty' condition of the coach in the metro train. I minded my OWN job on that day. If a person like me doesn't care for the society, who will care?

I see people on the road, violating traffic signs; I see people crossing railway tracks when there are well laid skywalks; I see people dumping trash on the road side when there are proper dumpsters; I see people using the road side as rest rooms; I see sewage gushing out of potholes on the roads, causing hygiene threats. But, I haven't taken any action.

(Also read: Kovilpatti Railway Station - Super Clean!)

Am I too selfish that I don't care about what happens around me? Why am I minding my own job? Do I also behave like an ordinary citizen of India? Am I expecting the government to take care of everything? Don't I have a responsibility towards this society? I'm privileged to have good education, health and wealth. Why shouldn't I be caring about this? If I don't care, who will care? If I don't take action, who will?

Also read:

Traveling near restrooms in the train isn't fun
Skywalks in Train Stations - What are they for?


  1. > If I don't care, who will care?

    Truth is, a lot of young educated people do see the atrocities around them. But like the previous generation, they are "learning" to adjust to this "lifestyle".

    The solution as I see is: we need well educated youngsters to participate actively in our politics. The younger they participate the more purer they are. This young guy (our hero) should not be a person from the cine field and should not be the son of a politician. If our hero is willing to put his life and career at stake (huge risk) and somehow succeed... well.. once he succeeds its easy to get the print media and the internet to idolize him. Then he will set example for more youngster to follow his path. Huge risks, huge reward.

  2. ur blog is I have put a link in my blog .U shd write in the Hindu so more of us can benefit :)

  3. I'm glad that you liked the blog. - Saro

  4. Instead of blogging u shld have complained it.
    since nobody is bothered abt cleanliness atleast people who are travelling the situation is getting worser.


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