The Unequal Queue


After stepping down at the Sikanderpur Gurgaon metro station en route towards the Delhi metro line, I was surrounded by the sea of humans moving in a near perfect mechanical motion from one station to the other. Sikanderpur is the intermediary station which joins the Gurgaon rapid metro to the Delhi metro. Working in an IT company, I planned to take the usual 6:00 pm returning metro from Gurgaon to Delhi. As I got down from the ‘rapid metro’(a.k.a Gurgaon metro), I saw men making a sprint for the escalator to cross the bridge. They were the same usually suave guys ,who otherwise seem very professionally engrossed to their work in their respective cubicles! Their sudden change of behaviour startled me and I wanted to know the reason for such haste. Therefore, I rode along this ‘human sea’ and on crossing the bridge which connects the two stations, saw a long queue which got bigger and bigger as I neared it. They all were queuing for the regular security check that one has to undergo before getting into a metro station.

By the time I managed to cross the escalator to desperately get to the bridge, I found that the queue grew so much so that it felt as if it was making the same effort to reach me from the opposite direction! But, I also noticed an anomaly. Unlike the men’s queue, the women’s queue was extremely short and ladies were getting out of the security scanner much faster than they were lining up at the end. Though our queue was moving just as fast, since it was such a long queue, I hardly could see as to what was happening at the other end!
“Why is the girls’ queue so small as to practically move swiftly when their male counterpart’s queue is such which would make the Kharagpur station envious!” This was the thought running in my head as I felt that girls were getting some sort of a privilege. It was just then it struck me that is it wasn’t really a privilege bestowed on the girls that I was witnessing, but rather a very dear picture of the poor situation made due to the uneven distribution of the male and female gender.
Our country has suffered from a lack of awareness of gender equality. Since age immemorial, I have read about female infanticide and how it continues to happen in the modern era even when we claim to have become an uber modern culture and civilization.  And I always thought when the social science teacher said something about the sex ratio being 914:1000 or so, that is it really this huge a problem. I mean, I couldn’t witness it in my vicinity at least. Further, there are no practical scenarios which I could find supporting the figures and I thought perhaps the figures aren’t as accurate as mentioned.
Now I know that this is the same situation as the frog and the hot water pot scenes. We are sitting in the water pan whose temperature increases gradually and we do not realize anything changing. It is only when the water gets so hot that the frog eventually realizes but dies as it got a little too late to make the escape.

The only refuge for us from the frog’s situation is that the water is still not that hot to make our escape impossible, but only if we start planning our escape immediately. The short queue for ladies sure makes us wonder how lucky it is to be a girl in these situations but this is a deadly premonition, beckoning very dangerous situations in our future. The gender inequality is a daunting problem our modern age faces today. So we better stop it unless our fate is no different from the frog in the pan!


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