Sometimes the internet really makes you think and that’s mostly a good sign. It’s good to reevaluate our ideas and thoughts, every once in a while. For instance, this tweet by @_ambedkarite and @kushal_mehra that sparked a conversation online has really made us think about the idea of paying to have a good experience; whether that’s in terms of food, travel or shopping. The discourse started with @kushal_mehra sharing a picture of a couple of women sitting on the floor of a train near the restrooms, apparently, they were blocking his pathway.

Indian railways, twitter
Credit: India Rail Info

This led to the women deboarding as a probable result of Kushal tagging the railway ministry in his post. To this, @_ambedkarite responded by empathising with the women and asking why Kushal had to go to such lengths to call out the issue because the women were most probably deboarded because of the tweet.

Now, this sparked a debate about whether @kushal_mehra was wrong in calling this out and posting it, because he had paid for tickets that allowed him to travel with a certain level of comfort, why should he have to compromise on his comfort for people who hadn’t booked First AC tickets?

Here’s the original tweet, by the way:

And here’s how people have responded to the tweet.

Here are some rather strongly placed responses about the idea of spending money for an experience and expecting nothing but the best, in exchange.

Correct me if I am wrong though, expecting to never collide with people from different socio-economic stratas, simply because you paid for an elevated experience doesn’t seem realistic in a country like ours. Does it?

The problem with tweets such as the one below is that they inadvertently imply that this situation is a consequence of people’s greed rather than multiple factors combined. Think of it this way, if poverty exists, is it simply because people don’t want to work hard or because the economy, the culture, the systems in place, the laws and the societal structures have forced scarcity on certain sections of people?

The truth is, if someone is from a low-income background, it’s but natural that they’ll use transportation means such as trains and buses to travel, and many don’t have the luxury of having the vitality to be civilized in public spaces. Many people from low-income backgrounds are simply trying to make a living in order to survive (not thrive, but survive). Add the lack of exposure that comes with having low income to this equation and think about how hard it must be to learn how to co-exist in public spaces with people who come from more privileged backgrounds. Not to mention that this situation was almost predicted long before it occurred. It seems Central, Western and Northern railway lines have increased AC coaches, by replacing the sleeper and second class. So, what exactly do we expect people to do when their means of affordable travel are being eradicated in some way?

Sometimes, our privilege teaches us to demand better for ourselves, even if it means we’re being insensitive to others to get it. And that’s not okay.