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Bus ride, ladies only

india Updated: Feb 06, 2009 19:11 IST
Damini Purkayastha
Damini Purkayastha
Hindustan Times
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Groaning at the thought of driving in peak office traffic, I decided to dump the car this morning. Since auto-guys have issues with intra-NCR travel (ie Noida to Delhi) I headed straight for the bus stop.

A blue line swung to a stop, “mandi house barakhamba nai dilli”. Right bus, well in time, all aboard and we were off.
I was ushered into the engine/driver’s coupe, known in Delhi as the Ladies Compartment. It’s the small enclosure near the driver’s seat where about 30 women stand/sit cramped up, barely able to breathe but safe from the pawing men.

Fresh flowers adorned the small idol at the windscreen, every third person had earphones plugged in and the driver, one of those rare Delhiites who care about the time, kept peeping into his wristwatch that was strapped on to the steering wheel.
At Mayur Vihar two more women came into the coupe. There was no place to sit and yet, we shuffled in and made place for one of them. How the second lady plonked herself next to me is a mystery. There was absolutely no space!

Ten minutes into the ride, she was comfortable and I was at the edge of the seat, feeling as though I were the usurper. Twenty minutes later, she shoved herself at an angle and voila! I was the backrest. “Ummm… Excuse me…” What I got in reply was a dirty glare and a mumble about how I should stand and let her be comfortable.

By the time we reached Mandi House, I gave up. She could have the seat! I decided to get off at an earlier stop and walk to the office. But before that I wanted to tell her how rude her behaviour was. I shuffled my feet uncertainly and looked back. Someone else had already jumped into the non-space where I was seconds ago. The new entrant was shoving Miss Seat Thief off her seat and making herself comfortable. Kudos to the justice of Delhi.