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Unwritten Public Rules Help to Create Positive Results

Unwritten Public Rules - Keep no luggage on the tabletop between two rows of seats

Some rules we know are written (Seats for Senior Citizens). Some are laws. But many are unwritten. These rules help to create positive results.

First Real Life Case Story of violation of an unwritten public rule

After a fulfilling ten day's sojourn basing Medinipur, I boarded the fast train to Kolkata on 16th of January. My reservation was in sitting chair car. It was a short journey. I look forward to these journeys with very few stops to relax, read books, write or just chill.

I found my seat facing opposite to the direction the train was moving. It was not a problem for me. I can adjust both ways. The seating arrangement was three seats on two sides with the passage between the two. The interesting part of my seat was it was in the middle of the coach and the facing direction of the next row of seats reversed. The two rows thus faced each other. And I was elated to find a table between the two facing rows. It reminded me of the small pull down table top in airlines or even some high grade trains. The tabletop in this case made me very happy. 

Mine was the aisle seat and just as I took my seat, I got irritated to find a large shoulder bag placed on the table. It belonged to a hard faced woman in the middle seat of the opposite row, but it occupied not only her portion but encroached into my portion as well. I won't have a uncluttered table space. My happiness with this rare resource turned to irritation.

Trying to explain the importance of uncluttered table space and the unsuitability of the space for keeping large bags, harshness crept in my voice. The woman latched on to the harshness and objected. But she straightened the bag removing it from portion.

I quickly cut short the unpleasant discussion with the misbehaving woman and looked away. In a flash a series of new ideas on Personal rules, Public rules, Unwritten rules, Laws, Nature's laws and God's laws coursed through my mind. This is a perfect case of an UNWRITTEN PUBLIC RULE, its violation and ultimate agreement reached by the violator.

The Unwritten Public Rule in this case

The overhead hanging steel rack, not the table top between the two rows, is meant for keeping luggage. But specific type of passengers who are mainly women, of short height or relatively weak, face difficulty in raising a heavy baggage to the overhead rack. This must have been the case for the hard faced woman.

Instead of speaking to her I turned my face to the aged passenger beside me. I told him, "Solution is easy. Those who have difficulty in raising a heavy luggage to the overhead rack can easily keep it below the table on the floor of the coach."

And to show the effectiveness of the new approach, I myself put my shoulder bag on the floor between my legs. Then I became thoughtful again losing track of my surroundings. Suddenly as I turned my face towards the table top, to my surprise and joy, I found it as empty as a completely bald head of a man.

The hard faced woman understood the ease of the new solution that follows the UNWRITTEN PUBLIC RULE and created an overall atmosphere of good vibe. Afterall who doesn't value empty space in a cluttered railway coach!

If everyone follows such unwritten public rules, the world would be a much cooler and nicer place to live.

The second Real life problem solving case of using Unwritten Public Rules by forming two useful personal rules

It happened a few years ago before COVID in a private bus.

I was 66 then, a senior citizen, and in all our buses and metro trains, a few seats are reserved for senior citizens. In private buses, two seats are reserved for senior citizens. The bus I boarded was crowded and I needed the seat meant for senior citizens. I was tired. Approaching the seat through the crowd I saw a girl who looked to be still in her school occupying my seat. 

Now the Unwritten Public Rule that I expect to be followed is, as soon as the seated younger person spots a much older person standing in front of her, she should get up on her own and offer the seat to the much older person.

In my case, it didn't happen. The young girl continued speaking on her phone though she noticed me. That angered me. I scolded her not in a loud voice but nevertheless harshly saying something like, "Weren't you taught at home or in schools that you have to leave your seat to a senior citizen?" My admonishment must have had a personal jibe. 

Let me be clear of this Second Unwritten Public Rule:

In public, however angry you are at a person and however on the wrong side the person is, you must not make any personally demeaning remark.

I broke that golden unwritten public rule and paid the price when the girl apparently school going, stood up and gave me her mind. She not only was in third year in college, she also made a big point on how I wrong I was in saying that she was not brought up well by her parents. I was so surprised that I couldn't defend myself well. Though she was slightly on the wrong side, I made the mistake of hurting her personally where her failure to stand up and leave her seat to me without asking took a beating. It was the case of breaking of two unwritten public rules, by two persons at the same time, mine being the more serious. She left her seat to me alright but didn't leave the battlefield without honor.

After that incident, even at my advanced age I learnt the lesson of following two Personal Rules, I follow to this day,

  • Never become angry at an woman and hurt her in your expression in public. Be cool and make your point objectively without taking any bias.
  • In public never try to judge the age of a woman you don't personally know well.

The third story of  violating a self-endangering UNWRITTEN PUBLIC RULE and learning thereby a valuable potentially life saving personal rule

It happened in a high traffic one way street near the heart of Kolkata's office area. It was summer. I was on my way home. I had a plastic folder in my left hand and I tried to board a slowly running single entrance minibus. As I grabbed its door handle, I knew how badly I violated a Golden Unwritten Public Rule.

As it was summer, it was hot and my palms were sweating. My hand slipped from the door handle. As my other hand was occupied by the plastic folder, I couldn't grab any part of the body of the bus and was thrown on the ground. I fell heavily on my back with my body nearly in horizontal position. I was saved first because the bus was moving slowly, my fall didn't have the added force of fall from a fast moving vehicle, and secondly, as all traffic was moving slowly, the car just behind the bus could put its break in time.

I got up, ran forward and boarded the same bus again. Then I realised the enormity of my mistake. Practically everyone in the us who saw my fall, started admonishing me in no uncertain terms. It transpired that they had assumed that I was crushed under the bus. At my age, it was absolutely foolhardy to try to board a running bus in such a way. Mentally I had to agree. I violated a great self-endangering unwritten public rule of NOT BOARDING A RUNNING BUS.

I formed two additional personal rules:

First, I must always keep both of my hands free when traveling, by using a shoulder bag and putting whatever I am carrying in my hand into my shoulder bag. It indeed became my second habit from them on. For sure if you keep both your hands free while moving in public transport or even in a crowded street, you will always have the additional flexibility of using both your hands in case of any unexpected encounter. It might even be a sudden collision with a passerby or a slipping your feet on a banana peel :). In either case you will be able to control your fall to minimize damage.

Second, never try to board a running bus, especially when you are advanced in age :).

The fourth case of a very useful but rarely followed UNWRITTEN PUBLIC RULE OF TELEPHONE PROTOCOL

Though I formed the Telephone protocol myself, I am sure that everyone who are self respecting and responsible persons should follow the protocol. Following is the telephone protocol:

If you miss a telephone call, you must make a call back following a gentlemanly behavioural pattern. In the same way, if someone of importance to you makes a call when you are in a meeting, or taking a class, just message back saying you'll call back later.

This maintains a harmonious relationship with people in general. Unfortunately I have seen many persons whom I thought to be of professional nature failing to follow this important unwritten public rule of telephone protocol.

The UNWRITTEN PUBLIC RULE of helping the weak and the aged on the streets when help is surely needed

I was involved in the first case in helping proactively two women stuck in an unmoving traffic jam tht would have surely resulted in missing their train from Howrah station. My prompt and proactive efforts driven by the strong urge of Principle of Positivity, could save the day for them. It was their first journey to Varanasi with a large group. You will find the Story of Principle of Positivity here.

In the second case, I helped to calm down a very agitated and infirm old man apparently lost in his way in a lonely street. I talked with him by holding his hand in an empty street continuously giving hope that the destination is very near. He was quite old and a mentally disturbed man accompanied by an woman who was not able to find any transport in an empty street and the old man getting very agitated and nearly stopping in the middle of the road. My intervention, especially holding his hand calmed him down and as luck would have it, soon enough we could spot a rickshaw moving in our direction. This second story of Principle of Positivity you'd find here.

The reason you should always help when help is needed is, if you continuously act in this way, when you need help, you will surely get it. 

If you pause to think about your experiences, you will discover many such Unwritten public rules that if followed by everyone, the society becomes much easier to live in.

I will be very happy if you realize the importance of following such rules that helps the environment.