This is a ladies line!

“Ladies Line”, she said.

A sharp excruciating pain shot through my whole body, starting with my arm and ending up in my pulmonary artery. From my past experiences, I was either having a heart attack or being stung by a jelly fish. To my relief it was neither. It was the poisonous dart of a tacit remark.

It all happened last month on a fine Thursday evening. Tintin was released in India and being a diehard Tintin fan since childhood, I dragged my other friend Paras (name changed) for the 9 pm show at MGF, in Gurgaon. After waiting for 20 long minutes in the queue, we finally reached the ticket counter, but suddenly out of nowhere a slightly on the healthy side woman in her mid 30’s brushed pass me and took my place. I politely tapped on her shoulder to remind her of the social system of “First in First out” in short a legitimate line.

She looked at me with those cold eyes and said “Ladies Line!” by slightly shaking her torso for no apparent reason whatsoever.

All my life I have been a smart mouth kid, fighting for justice. I have been thankful to my mother for bestowing on me all the moral values. I am thankful to my English teacher for making me fall in love with writing and last but not the least my girl friend for introducing me to the amazing world of sex. For the sake all the women I respect and admire, I somehow withheld my fist. I pushed her aside saying, “I am an OBC candidate minus the creamy layer!” With this small victory Paras and I got two aisle seats, in short justice served hot fifth row from the back.

The question here is; do women sometime try to take advantage of being a woman? Yes! Many a times they would create illegitimate lines be it at a multiplex or a coaching class….Here’s how!

After working for one year in an IT company, I realised there is more to life than coding, complementary offs and sexual favours for promotions. So I quit my job and started preparing for civil services. On my first day at the coaching centre I was in for a shocker. All the students were waiting for the ongoing class to end. All men and women alike were waiting outside the hall. And then it happened, girls started forming a separate line and the watchman allowed them to enter first. The result being, all the front row seats were filled with females denying me the right to equal opportunity. Instead of moving to Supreme Court due to abridgement of my fundamental right, I went straight to the director of the institute and demanded justice. I am all good for reservation in jobs, education, seats in metro etc but coaching classes! Seriously!! However my demand for a separate line for OBC, SC and ST candidates was turned down.

Don’t you think time has come for a revision of age old rules?

Not so long ago, on a bright sunny afternoon, I was standing outside the ‘Narayan Singh Circle’ in Jaipur to book a ticket from Jaipur to Delhi. There was a long line and I was standing there for 20 minutes. Beads of sweat covered my forehead and armpits. In the same line was standing a 70 year old man. Then it happened, nobody knows where she came from or where she went! While all the men were waiting for their turn she came like a whirl of wind, went straight ahead to the ticket counter and came back with two Volvo tickets without filling a form.

What happened next was history; the old man standing in front of me lost his presence of mind and started chasing the girl, presumably to rob her off the tickets. That’s a different story but the point is time has come to shed the age old ladies line with Citizen and Senior Citizen’s line wherever possible. I know that men like to touch and it is not safe to put men and women in the same line but still there are places where the change is possible. Women need to learn to respect the difference between a legitimate and an illegitimate line. Men need to learn to keep their hands to themselves if they ever wish to integrate women in the same line. Let’s vouch for world peace and give those senior citizens a line of their own.

Bhanuj Saharan