BENGALURU: Receiving cold looks, accusing stares and a few nasty words from women co-passengers once in a while is something a considerable section of men have experienced on board a Metro train. Why can't Metro earmark a separate coach for women and ensure both the sexes have a comfortable ride, they ask.
Most of the men and women City Express had spoken to earlier had felt a 'Ladies Coach' in Metro trains, would ensure a safe and comfortable ride for women. But now, it looks like some men would also feel more at ease if they do not have to share their congested travelling space with women. They opine that travelling in such close proximity with women could result in unnecessary charges of sexual harassment being levelled against them in case of any incident of crowd pushing or jerky train rides. An assistant manager at a software company who uses the Metro to commute to his workplace at Baiyappanahalli from Mysore Road every day says, "The train is usually crowded in the morning. It is terrible and to add to that, I sometimes get rude stares from women passengers amid the rush, as if I have done something. These experiences are really unnerving," he says. "It is not just me. Some of my male friends too have felt the same at one point or another," he adds.
P Pradeep, Assistant Unit Manager at Mphasis, recalls that he has had to apologise to two women so far during his travels in Metro trains for no fault of his. Recalling the first such instance, this regular commuter from Mysore Road to Baiyappanahalli says,"When the train suffers a jerk, you move a bit under the impact. This was exactly what happened last month. Since there were women around me when I was standing, I ended up being pushed a bit closer to them. I had to apologise the moment I got cold looks from women directed at me," he recalls. On another occasion, the crowd awaiting on the platform dashed into a train at one of the stations and pushed him aside, he recalls. "I ended up apologising to a lady that time too," he says.
Pradeep also feels the sense of a loss of freedom. "I do not feel free if women are around in a crowded train and I am required to maintain a careful distance. In case of an untoward incident, it is always the man who ends up at the receiving end," he said.
An IT professional recalled an incident he witnessed on a Metro coach recently as the train was approaching the Kempegowda Metro station. "A woman lashed out at a man in full public view for accidentally brushing past her while entering the train in a rush. The man simply stood shamefaced, not knowing what to say."
Avinash Gowda, employed as a quality analysis recalls getting up from his seat while travelling in a Metro to offer it to a lady only to be put down after. "I just did it out of respect I have for women. I moved over near the door to stand. However, the lady gave me doubtful looks and refused to occupy the seat."
Among other reasons a few shy men spelt out, were also an acute embarrassment they felt sharing the coach with women, like when they had to sit across the seat facing a woman or when a female comes and sits just beside them.