Not Just Another Rat ........

Discussion in 'Jokes' started by aarthi, Jun 9, 2006.

  1. aarthi

    aarthi New IL'ite

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    Not Just Another Rat

    It was still dark outside, and my breath floated like a frosty cloud in the cold air. I was feeling sorry for myself again. There was a reason they called it a rat race.
    Day in and day out, the same old thing. Up and out of the house before daylight. An hour and a half commute to the office. Eight to nine hours at work, and then the same commute home, still dark outside. The short winter days made me wonder: Did the sun ever come out during the day? I wasn't sure anymore - if it did, I certainly missed it.
    I made my way to the train station on that bleak Monday morning. My week stretched out before me like a deep black hole. The week might be new, but I was feeling old and worn-out. The brief weekend respite hadn't provided much relief, what with the laundry that had piled up, not to mention the supermarket and the dry cleaners and the myriad other errands that ate into what was supposed to be our family time together. We barely had a chance to play a quick game of Scrabble before it was time to set the alarm clock and start the week once more.
    The train was late again. Any attempt at relaxing thoughts was quickly replaced by memories of the piles of paper sitting on my desk. So much to do, and the days were never long enough. I tuned out the crowd around me and began to mentally sort through the priorities that would beckon as soon as I arrived at the office. E-mails and faxes, reports and meetings. The day would be full, more so because it was the beginning of the week. I cringed as I remembered how often I had put things off "'til next week." Well, "next week" was here. Note to self: thinking about things "tomorrow" may have worked for Scarlett O'Hara, but it only created grief for me.
    The shifting crowd brought me back to the moment. The train was pulling in, and the army of commuters was of one mind: Grab an empty seat at any cost. Men and women were equal-opportunity pushers, propelling each other to the edge of the platform. Even as I allowed myself to be swept along, I also resolved to seize the first available seat I could find. With a firm grip on my briefcase I pushed along with the best of them, and landed my prize. Sitting would allow me to get a jump on some paperwork, perhaps a memo or two. Any head start would help.
    Was this what my life had deteriorated to? The highlight of my day was that I got a seat on the train? Surely my aims were loftier than that. We were working so hard, my husband and I. Our goal was to pay off the mortgage, and set aside savings to prepare for retirement. We were almost there. Just another year or two of my imitation of superwoman, and then I could relax. Just another year or two . . .
    That's when I saw her. The young woman looked vaguely familiar. Had I seen her at the train station before, or did I simply recognize the look on her face? The look that reflected resignation at having missed out on a seat again. The look that said, ever so clearly, "I don't have the energy to do this anymore." I knew just how she felt, but I also knew that I had work to do. Memos to answer, reports to write. I had a seat, and she didn't. Nobody said life was going to be fair.
    But there was more than just her face. Even under her bulky winter coat, I could see that she was expecting a baby. Her pregnancy was rather far along, and it was all that she could do to hold on to the metal bar as the train lurched into motion. I felt a pang of guilt, and then argued with myself. Surely there were enough men on the train who could see her condition. Chivalry wasn't dead yet, was it? But no one moved. It seemed as if everyone on the train was studiously avoiding the view of this young woman as they buried their heads in their newspapers, or pretended to be deeply engrossed in their conversations.
    I put the memos and the legal pad back in my briefcase, stood up, and motioned to get her attention. The work could wait. There certainly was enough of it, and one or two more memos wouldn't make much of a difference in my schedule. If I had any second thoughts, they were wiped away by the look on her face. A new look - one of relief and thanksgiving. Words didn't need to be exchanged, but as she said thank you I realized that this small act of kindness was as much for me as it was for her. A reminder that even though I was part of the rat race, I didn't have to become a rat.
    It was still Monday morning, but the emerging sunrise told me it was going to be a beautiful day.

    source: from my friend..


  2. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    nice one

    That was another nice forward Aarthi. I am always grateful when men get up and offer a seat in the bus or crowded trains, not just to me, but to any other lady. Beam a prayer their way.

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