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shubham s. jaiswal

Drama Others


5.0  

shubham s. jaiswal

Drama Others


A Long-Standing Dilemma

A Long-Standing Dilemma

7 mins 286 7 mins 286

After a halt that seemed to have lasted for eons, the Volvo bus finally left Waakad, Pune and

started heading for the City of Dreams, where folks probably dream only with eyes open cause it’s also a City that Never Sleeps. The budding and bold and bulky and bald Mister Waakadkar, with high hopes to become Mister Mumbaikar, had got into the bus and made himself comfortable in the aisle seat in the second row after reluctantly paying the fare which appeared to him rather higher than usual. His co-passenger sitting on window-seat, who had given him a dim-witted smile when he had

taken the seat beside his, had fallen asleep soon after, with his head drooping on the shoulder which was occasionally toppling and bumping on the window sill without disturbing the dormancy much.


And then there were the Everyday Aunties, with greyish hair and a hint of wrinkles on their faces, on 

the two front seat chit-chattering about anything and everything, quite loudly, but not too loud to 

wake up the drooping fellow behind them. Ignoring the immediate surroundings, Mahaashay 

Waakadkar got immersed in the huge ocean of ‘Mobile Chats’ and felt composed skimming through 

the latest news forwarded by his online friends and relatives who were self-proclaimed journalists.

 All of a sudden Shreemaan Waakadkar felt some heaviness on his thighs and some strain on 

his knees, his ‘not so thin’ legs were being squeezed by the front aisle seat which was pushed back to 

its max by the Auntie sitting in front of him.


“Hello, Hello Auntie. Can you please take this seat a bit forward cause it’s hurting my legs?”

“Eh Mister whatever your name is…I would be much younger than your mother… Don’t call me 

Auntie… call me Swaati Phanse”

“Oh, Okay but can you take your seat forward Madam, I’m not feeling comfortable at all and by the 

way ‘whatever’ is not my name and I’m not even nameless, it’s Waakadkar”

“Why shouldn’t I fully utilize the facilities given to me by the Volvo company? Why should I not push back this seat fully and lie down and relax throughout the trip? Why are you bothering me Mr. 

Waakade (‘crooked’ in colloquial Marathi)?”


“Waakadkar it is Madam! Please mind your tongue!” Waakadkar himself wondered for a moment if 

he had heard the name right …was it Swaati Phanse or Swaarthi Maanse (‘selfish people’ in Marathi)

but he didn’t let his thoughts out loudly, cause he believed that there should be some dignity in speech of mature adults. “You may utilize facilities but without causing discomfort to others”

“Mister I have paid the fare and I ought to lie down comfortably. I have the right!”

“Yeah but I too have paid the fare and have the right to enjoy a pleasant trip. So, Madam please take 

the seat a little forward”

“Why are you irritating me?”

“I can also say the same thing…and by the way, have you come here to spread out and lie as if it’s your home. Try to adjust and co-operate.”


“If you are too tall and your legs are too long why don’t you also push back your seat to its max so 

that you get some leg space and you finally stop bothering me?”

“But I don’t want to bend my back and lie down, why should I push my seat backward? I just wish to 

sit straight and comfortably.”

“Then why don’t you just shift somewhere else? Or even better …we both can exchange seats so 

that you get you can sit straight as well as get your leg-space in first row and I can lie down 

comfortably in the second row?”

“No… I will neither shift nor exchange seats, I just want to be comfortable on the seat that I have 

paid for”

“You are not only irritating but also stubborn”


“So are you…just mind your own business and take your seat a little forward and end the matter”

 With a big frown, the lady said “Ok!” and took the seat only as much forward as would be enough 

to end the argument or quarrel temporarily and all appeared fine only until the time she again 

involuntarily pushed back the seat to its max to ‘exercise her right’, ‘utilize the facility’ and 

‘experience comfort’ and bring the matter again to its starting point!

 All this while, the constant blabbering had woken up and was getting the better of the drooping 

fellow, who now peered at something outside the window speculatively and uttered rather 

philosophically, 


“Although there shouldn’t have been a difference, there’s a difference between what is legal and what  is ethical”

The statement echoed in all the three minds seated in the first two rows with the fellow. They struggled to chew on it and assimilate. The fellow had their attention. Wakadkar regretted judging 

the fellow earlier as dim-witted…after all ‘Appearances are mostly deceptive!’ 

With a straight face, the fellow continued,

“Assuming that arriving at a Perfect Law System is nearly impossible, Legislators ought to be thinning

down the line differentiating legal and ethical as much as feasible, leave as little a gap as viable. 

According to our assumption, the ‘long-standing dilemma’ of choosing between legal and ethical in a 

given situation may never be fully solved but we can always make positive progress towards the 

solution by thinning down the line as much as feasible, by improving and making the law closer to 

perfect than it was earlier” 


The three of them were trying hard to make sense of this ‘goody-goody theory’ in the present context and in general. The fellow somehow figured out the urge of his listeners and went on,

“So, the Volvo Bus rules and regulations can be viewed as the Law system, the facilities as legal rights 

and ‘ethics’ as ‘ethics’!” The fellow took a deep breath and a fair judgment of his listeners and continued “Pushing back one’s seat to its max is legal” There was a faint smile on Mrs. Phanse’s face and a little annoyance on Waakadkar’s. “But causing pain to someone in the process is unethical”. 

The faint smile disappeared and the little annoyance transformed to hope. “Similarly, not pushing 

one’s seat back at all and sitting fully straight is again legal but being stubborn and demanding in the 

process is unethical” The hope also disappeared… 


 Both the newly-formed rivals as well as the neutral first-bencher lady now expectantly gazed at 

that odd-looking fellow to enlighten them. “So to this problem there are at least three local solutions 

which somehow locally thin down the line between legal and ethical nearly completely, like the 

front row lady pushing her seat only as back as is not uncomfortable to second row guy who sits 

straight, or the second row guy pushing his seat much backward and getting the desired leg-space 

while the lady pushes her seat to its max, or both of them doing both these actions together but in a more balanced way so that both seats are in similar positions and both of them quite comfortable… 

Notice that all these three solutions demand little adjustments and compromises from either or both 

sides”


The rivals replied in unison “We want to be as legal and ethical as possible but also don’t want to lose on comfort or compromise and we know that this desire of ours is making all these solutions look useless in our case… what should we do?”


“Hence, finally I talk about the solution which is more desirable, that is improving the Law system. 

Taking away the legal right of either pushing seats backward fully or sitting straight looks much easier but that may harm the legal system in the long run as citizens might form an opinion that Legislators are inhibiting their rights. Hence efforts should be made to ensure that improvement comes without 

much risking of old rights as well as without imposing lot of new duties, that is balancing between 

old rights and new duties will prove fruitful. Hence in our scenario if Volvo Company increases the 

space between two rows in their bus and in turn increases the fare by a fair amount, that would fill 

the gaps and leave very less room for dispute between legal and ethical…Hence we would be closer 

to Perfect!”


“Wow!” The neutral first-bencher lady was elated and ultimately had her say… 

“Wow!” joined the other two who now were no longer rivals but were more realised folks. They agreed to convey the final solution to the concerned authorities and presently, pleasantly agreed on the third local solution of adjusting on both sides…

The neutral first-bencher lady happy at the final turn of the events curiously asked the fellow who now appeared to shine and scatter his light in all directions…

“Are you a Student of Law?”

“Nope”

“Then?”

“I’m… a Student of Life!”



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