Cyberia can be a cold place. Especially in these days of rumours, lynchings, fake news and more. So when a young woman shares the story of how commuters on Mumbai's local train reacted to a fellow commuter – judging her cruelly by her appearance and refusing to make room even for her small frame, it touched a chord somewhere. The post went viral. The reactions that came spark some hope. Netizens living in Cyberia may not have completely frozen their emotions.
The post by Dipika shared by twitter handle @EmpoweringGoa shares her experience on the Churchgate local train she boarded at Virar station in Mumbai.
They dont know that the lady they are finding ugly today, was a part time model in her young days! They dont know that the lady they are finding weak, is so strong that even after losing her husband and their only daughter, she moved on in life with joy!— Never Fear To Speak The Truth (@EmpoweringGoa) July 25, 2018
She headlines her post 'Never Fear To Speak The Truth'. She tells of how the other women in the compartment reacted when a frail elderly lady in messy clothes got on.
"She requested all the ladies (who were sitting spreading their legs as much as they can in order to pretend that there is no space even for an ant!) to shift a bit so that she can manage to sit."
No one wanted to make room for her. It was not just their body language – they spread out so that they would not have to let her sit with them; but also their actual words that revealed the biases that we all hold inside us.
Eventually, after a lot of 'unhealthy discussion' the old lady was given some space and she squeezed in next to Dipika. While Dipika was affected by the entire unpleasant episode, the lady at whom all the hatred was targeted, seemed unaffected.
She said, "I never feel bad about it. Because their comments are limited only upto this journey of one hour. Their perception can't make any difference to my 65 year of journey and to the rest of it!"
And by the time she had finished telling Dipika her story, it was clear that she was made of different mettle. She was no old bag lady as the other commuters had assumed. Her name is Ivy and she had been a state level hockey player in her youth. She, who appeared all messy today, had been a fashion model. And the lady the other commuters had taunted asking whether this was her first train ride, had actually been traveling by the local since the 1940s and was doing so every day from Virar to Bandra to teach underprivileged children.
As this twitter post went viral and held up a mirror to the ugliness we hold inside us, hiding under smart clothes, more positive news poured in. A relative of Ivy, living in Dubai, tweeted about how Aunty Ivy had lost her only daughter at 21 and her husband soon after. She blessed and thanked Dipika for sharing about Ivy.