Aug 12, 2008

Are we becoming more selfish?

Not sure if this is enough anecdotal evidence on the loss of our collective 'Good Samratinism'. Over the last few months I have done several train journeys and usually things come together such that I get the responsibility of escorting senior lady citizens. Trains have sleeping berths in three tiers and the reservation systems somehow do a very poor job of allocating the lower berths to those who really need them - old, frail, disabled, pregnant etc. Most people perhaps just plump for lower berths even though they may not really need them.

And once you get onto the train, requests to fellow passengers for a lower berth exchange usually meet with a smirk and stare as if you are begging for alms. Perfectly healthy middle aged people pointedly refuse an exchange claiming they have a backache or leg pain, though they can clearly see the state of a 80 year old woman. Trying 25-30 people finally yields one positive result and the search is closed (a 'courtesy-hit-rate' of 4%). Last month, my mother met a pregnant lady who was requesting a lower berth and finally when amma agreed, she had to move to an altogether different compartment . The lady must have asked 75-80 people, a courtesy-hit - of 1.5%! What has been your experience with courtesy-hit-rates?


The gazer said...

Indeed. It would be mean to say so, but I have always felt why would such "refusers" not imagine their moms or moms-in-laws in such situations and then act. In fact I have always felt railways must modify their algorithms such that people below 50 have their default births to be "upper" or "middle" and those above 50 have their default births as "lower".

Ram Medury said...

Fair point and hope the Railways do something about this soon. Even if they don't a bit co-operation from fellow passengers will surely help.