Harmless action? I beg to differ


I read a quote somewhere by William James, “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”, it is quite an inspiring quote.

However, I am not sure how many of my co-passengers know about William James or heard this quote. Their action or in-action suggests many of them live surrounded in their own ignorant world. After travelling is metros almost every day for past six months, I have not been able to understand the reason behind some actions.

These actions are harmless but then they do make a difference. I fail to understand why one would;
Feign sleep to avoid offering his/her seat to more deserving co-passenger.
Not hold on to the rails while standing. How can tripping or falling over people be considered cool?
Walk up and stand right in front of the queue when he/she should be the last one.
Push people to make way in to already crowded metro.
Trying to enter the carriage when doors are closing.
Peeping to see if metro is approaching. Will it make a difference except for the life altering accident?

Not all the actions are harmless. One may believe wearing sunglasses while travelling in metro is harmless. I have had a different experience. I was curious enough to ask a co-passenger with black sunglasses if he suffered from conjunctivitis. I had to be careful, it was rainy day with no sun. My co-passenger was not happy with my question, he stared at me in disbelief. His curt voice and stare will stay with me for a long time. It was not the only incident. Lately, the sightings have gone up to at least three people in day.Though I have learnt to suppress my smile and ignore the urge.

Some actions take considerable amount of planning before they are executed. Once I noticed a family of four in deep conversation, trying to convince the youngest on something. All the family members could be termed as medically obese. They seemed very tensed. When the station approached they were the first one to reach at the doors. My destination was the same station. I saw all four of them running towards the elevator. I knew what was coming next, they would use the elevator and leave the elderly passengers stranded. To my amusement I saw people in the lift asking one of them to step out. It seems the elevator was unable to take the weight of all four members with other passengers. The elevator doors were unable to close. I saw all four of them grumpily walking towards the escalators. I heard the father telling his younger one,”I told you to run (?) fast and be the first one to reach there. You need to loose some weight to be able to run faster. Your pace is slower than a snail.”

Another harmless action which reminds me “If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done”, quote by Ludwig Wittgenstein.

3 Responses to Harmless action? I beg to differ

  1. Dr. Ashok K Verma says:

    People can change until they take their last breath.

    • Dr. Verma – I disagree. People adapt but very rarely change. People adapt to the society that they find themselves in.

      The same families who litter mindlessly on Indian streets, if given an opportunity to live in Dubai will either find dustbins or carry the wafer wrappers in their pockets. But will they change? Possibly not.

      Fear and perception of the law also plays a very important role in defining our social behavior!

  2. Bhavna V says:

    It is all about changing the attitude towards everything. Same individual will act differently under different circumstances. We need to change our “chalta hai” attitude, it will make life simpler for all of us.

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