How we came to be insensitive

Posted: May 19, 2011 in india
Tags: ,

Yesterday I was coming back to my place in a Vajra bus (the Volvo A/C buses that are part of the public transport in Bangalore). After a couple of stops, a family boarded the bus with a small kid. All the seats were already taken; so there was no space for them to sit in. They were standing a little far from where I was sitting, so I would have had to go up-to them to offer my seat. I was thinking of calling the person carrying the kid to offer my seat. By the time I could beckon him, a lady offered to give her toddler son’s seat by making him sit on her lap.

I would like to travel comfortably. I pay a premium for it. I pick my times carefully, and plan ahead. I wouldn’t get into a crowded bus. But then after all of this, there is some old person, a woman, or someone I feel compelled to offer my seat to. Why can’t they be little more careful, I ask myself. Why don’t they plan? Why can’t they wait for the next bus? Agreed sometimes you are in a hurry and you just have to travel even when it is not convenient. With a billion people and infrastructure that leaves much to be desired, we are constantly jostling for space. When this is an everyday phenomenon, can I really be sensitive and keep my good manners? isn’t it how we all become insensitive, and indifferent?  Won’t I just become one of them? . While these thoughts were racing through my head, a woman with an infant was walking past my seat, and I offered her my seat instantly*. That was my involuntary reaction. I didn’t think before I did that, it was part of my basic instincts I guess. So, that answered my question for me. Perhaps I would never become insensitive and indifferent, no matter how many times I would have to do that; Thank God for that. The moment we lose our compassion, we cease to be humans. And the best times to test our humanity are the tough times; for,  every one would be nice and genteel when it is easy to be that way. From what I have read of the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan, I salute the Japanese. They truly showed the spirit of humanity in the hardest of times.

*(And yeah, the lady didn’t find it necessary to thank me for offering her my seat. 🙂 )

Post script: This post was in my drafts since February the 14th 🙂 I had been on few more bus rides since then. I noticed that during one of those rides, I went out of my way, and offered my seat to an old lady that was standing on the other end of the bus. I also noticed some very nice people who gave up their seat to an old person, or a woman with a kid or the like. I also noticed that there are some really insensitive people who would push ahead of an old person to get into a seat.

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