So, you’ve entered that public bus, scanned around to see if there are any empty seats, and you’ve found some seats on your left… Not yet, just look above the window pane and read, “Allocated for Women” sign. Nothing new, the sign was there for a long time, and I bet you haven’t had time to read that a year ago. Yet things seem to be changing now.
Still, it doesn’t mean that everyone follows the reservation practice, so why should you? Just go ahead and relax. Well, for may be sometime, until you realise people are looking at you. In an uncomfortable way where they don’t say anything, but you feel it anyway.
But don’t care yet, enjoy as much as you can, until, out of the blue, a woman would appear and let you know. “Don’t you know that the government has been strict on the women’s seat rule?”, “Aren’t you ashamed to sit in our seats while we are standing?”, and so on. And then some men add, “Be careful brethren, the state is penalizing men who take women’s seat in the local transportation”.
Well, that was rude, wasn’t it? After all you didn’t intend to listen to such bizarre statements and inquiries on you. You just sat there because you were always sitting anywhere you like, and no one dare question you. And you weren’t strictly against disrespecting and differentiating about women, you just sat there as you always did.
So, you don’t have a choice, you stand up. You knew more than anyone in the bus, that it was not rightful to take that seat you took some 5 minutes ago. It’s hard to explain the people (still looking at you in dismay, while you are standing with pain as you struggle to balance your body against the vehicle’s random will to defy gravity) that you have more knowledge and respect to women’s right, more than any of the people, who are trying to educate you.
So, you promise yourself that you will never take that seat. Not because you hate being humiliated or anything, just a bad feeling when you do something in ignorance, that you knew you should not have done (here, sitting in the woman’s seat).
But things start to change, the bus is now turning humorous. You are standing, and looking as if you are minding your own business. But you are listening, your senses are more alert than ever, and the red face, of course. People are now busy making fun of the very rule.”There should also be provision of Men’s seat”, a man to a woman- “Now Nepal and it’s laws are all yours, we are the ones left out, nobody cares about men’s right (people laugh)”. One man to unspecified audience-“Where are the seats for men?”. Someone replies-“All the other seats are for men only”. People laugh. There is air of smiles and laughter. Only one person feels like a lone ranger – YOU!!!
You feel that is not fair. The right that was just passed to a woman giving her what she deserved(here a seat), has again been taken from them, in the form of jokes and humor. You feel may be it was far better to let the woman stand than to make the issue a comedy. And it’s again useless to argue, because you were proved ignorant and silly by the same group some five minutes ago.
So what can you do? Well, next time, don’t take a woman seat, and be ready to argue for them whenever their rights are granted and denied, at the same time.