Ladies Coach , a short story by Nilshree Damani Yelulkar
On 30th December 2022, we ditched the comfort of the car and chose to travel to Lonavala by train instead. I boarded the "Ladies Coach " with the "A woman is another woman's enemy" thought and left it with a feeling that made me feel fortunate to be a woman.
The whole coach was full of women from different sectors, age groups, job profiles, and social statuses, and boarded from different stops and had different destinations to go to; But they knew each other by name, they knew who worked what and where. They were curious to inquire about missing faces and very accommodating to include me in their daily conversations. Name the topic and they had something to say about it!
A journey of 55 minutes felt like a cakewalk!
When we entered, there was hardly any place to sit. They still adjusted and made a place for my 7-year-old to sit. They then made me alert of when there will be more room for me as 6 girls from the same college were about to get down on the next stop.
I have only traveled with a reservation ticket on the train. In locals, you have to make a place for yourself else you end up standing from start to end! This one art I learned that day!
Christmas was on the 25th, and Diana was still on a leave. So she came up to the station to share her home-baked Christmas Plum cake with her friends. She left two big loaves with Saeda to share with everyone, and Saeda did the needful. I was lucky to get my share on that day!
From the third stop entered two women with bags full of big boxes in their hands. As soon as they entered, they started passing the boxes. They were full of imitation jewelry. A group of 8-10 teachers was kind enough to buy stuff from them. And amidst all this, my destination arrived! I did not even realize when the journey got over and it was time for me to depart.
Hashtags like #womensupportingwomen and #feminism have recently come up, I am sure these women have been living up to them ever since. Yes, I have come across news and incidents that show weird fights in Ladies Coach, however, what I witnessed was sheer feminism! A special feeling on a rather usual day!