Friday, September 25, 2009

Of "Cattle Class" and No “First Class” in India

What do you say to a man who comes and stands in front his ample and polyester-clad behind wiggling at you, prodding the book you are reading, shifting from leg to leg, talking loudly to his companion, unmindful of the dirty looks I give him, which he can’t see, of course? He seems like a run-of-the-mill well-paid executive in a company that pays a decent salary for him to wear the seemingly expensive polyester jiggling in front of me.

All this happen in this morning’s commute to work, in “cattle class” or the “first class” compartment of Bombay’s famed local trains. I don’t know if “first class” is the right term, it doesn’t feel like “first class” at all. It’s hot, the upholstery sags (giving me a backache), there are people towering in front of me where my feet should be resting, and there’s no air circulation. And the bad manners that accompany the crudeness and the churlishness is more distasteful than I can tolerate for the one hour it takes me to reach my place of work.

Actually, I think, there is no “first class” in India. I swear. There’s only one class in India and that’s “Monkey Class.” It means a class where you can brush anyone, even touch forbidden parts, talk loudly, disturb people reading books, litter at will, spit, urinate, leave toilets dirty, after all, “what does your father lose?”.


ms said...

hi john, i have been traveling "monkey class" on trains, buses and even planes! i have even seen movies in the "monkey class" ticket section, stood in banks/post offices too. thanks for giving an appropriate name to the class of life i have been living! here's hoping your future trips are not so painful.

John said...

ms, so very true. It's actually "monkey class" and people have no consideration for others. I guess the term "first class" is a misnomer.

Thanks for the comment.


Neha said...

I have been travelling by local trains for last 11 years...I have experienced both monkey class and donkey class...and not a single day has passed when the ladies were not fighting or abusing...I dont see any hope or room for improvement thr...