Saturday, September 3, 2011


Fracas for a TUM TUM at Wakad

Every morning I go for a long walk, with my pet dog Sherry, towards the vast open spaces, off the Mumbai Bangalore Highway, near Wakad.

When we return, it is sometimes past eight, and there is a huge rush of traffic transporting the “techies” (as the IT Nerds like to call themselves) to their offices in the Infotech Park at Hinjewadi in Pune.

Most of these overly paid and pampered techie types travel in comfortable company buses (or in their own cars) but a few prefer to ride in the six-seater rickshaws (called Tum-Tum) which carry are always cramped and overloaded with much more than the stipulated six passengers.

Why these IT Nerds prefer the Tum-Tum I do not know – maybe they are from the smaller companies, who do not provide buses, or maybe they have missed their bus and are late to work, or maybe some do not want to avail of the bus facility and they cannot drive a car either, or maybe some crazy ones think travelling in a Tum-Tum is a substitute for a vigorous work-out.

That is beside the point. Let me tell what I saw this morning.

There were around twelve of these IT Techies (maybe seven boys and five girls) at the Wakad Chowk waiting for a Tum-Tum.

The moment a Tum-Tum arrived, everyone rushed towards the Tum-Tum and it was a chaotic situation, a free-for-all mêlée, a total fracas with each one trying to get inside and elbowing out the “opponents” irrespective of gender.

Two of the tougher girls managed to get in, elbowing out some of the “weaker” boys, while the three slightly fragile girls were not strong enough or agile enough to get the better of their male competitors. While two of these girls readied themselves up for the next encounter and looked eagerly for a Tum-Tum to arrive, one particularly dainty and delicate girl was on the verge of tears and seemed to have given up the fight, wondering whether she should go home or wait for a long time till the crowd became less.

I realised, that in today’s world, chivalry has disappeared. Maybe it is because men and women work shoulder to shoulder in the workplace and even compete with each other. Maybe modern women themselves have killed the concept of chivalry as they prefer equality with their male counterparts and do not want double standards. 

Can you expect a man, who has a tough woman boss who scares the hell out of him, to be chivalrous towards her? 

Can you be chivalrous towards a woman who you are afraid of, or a woman who dominates you? 

Well, I think that fear and chivalry are two different things. 

Chivalry implies that a man is supposed to be a “Knight in Shining Armour” always ready to rescue a “damsel in distress”.

Long back, when we joined the navy, we were expected to follow code of chivalrous conduct and to show respect, courtesy, honour and gallantry towards women. It was always “Ladies First”. We opened doors for women, stood up when a woman entered a room, never failed to greet or wish them, were protective and attended to their needs, and even saluted the Ladies. 

Chivalry meant graciousness, gallantry, courtesy, politeness and good conduct, especially from men towards women. Of course, with the arrival of Lady Officers in the Navy, things did become a bit quite confusing, with ambiguity as to whether woman officers ought to be treated as equally tough colleagues or dainty members of the fairer sex, but still, when in doubt we adopted the chivalrous approach.

I think this must be the same dilemma in most workplaces, and as women start equalling or even outnumbering men in the workplaces, especially in professions like IT, the concept of chivalry may become passé, a thing of the past.

So, dear young ladies of today, there are no gallant “Knights in Shining Armour” anymore. You will have to fight it out on your own.


© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


Dee said...

Erm, there are many IT companies that don't have buses. And this pathetic city does not have metered or decent rickshaws.

We are not paid enough to buy a four wheeler and some of us value our lives too much to drive the two wheeler here.

May be that explains why we take the "tum tum." That and the cramped atmosphere with the fragrance of blood sweat emanating from the sons and daughters of the soil. Gee, why does anyone think it's probably because we have no other option to travel!

Anonymous said...

Male 'Techie' said...

Do you even know how much we are paid to consider us 'overpaid' ??!! No offence, but i've heard the Pimple Saudagar auto walas say exactly the same thing to 'us'. If we reach office late, our managers won't excuse us for showing chivalry to women. So, it is only natural that the law of 'survival of the fittest' is applicable here.

But yeah, I would definitely agree with you on one point, that some guys are weirdly very physical. That I would categorize as attempts at molestation and not just lack of chivalry.

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Hi "Male Techie"
You are right - with women competing with men and working "shoulder to shoulder" with men, chivalry becomes a rather outdated concept
BTW, most people think IT Techies are "overpaid"

Vikram Waman Karve said...

You have a point - no options but to "sweat it out" in a Tum Tum

Male 'Techie' said...

I avail the bus service provided by my company, but there are a million drawbacks to that, one of them being that you will perennially become handicapped when it comes to flexibility of timing. Having stayed in Kolkata, Chennai & Mumbai, I can say, as Dee has rightly pointed out, that lack of proper public transport is the sole reason why people are driven towards taking tumtums. Who doesn't enjoy a ride to office where you won't have to fight for every sq. inch of space to place your butt !!

And regarding the pay...i wish i could show you my payslip! *sighs*

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Male "Techie" - I agree that Pune has the worst public transport and no one is interested in improving it because of vested interests.