How many times has it happened with you that you get to what seems to be a ‘vacant’ seat, only to sight a handkerchief, or an old newspaper, or a book or some object of similar value there. Standing in for the ‘owner’ !

In some time the ‘owner’ shows up, indicating that he had ‘reserved’ the seat. And lays claim to the seat with such ferocity that would put the Chinese’s claim of Arunachal, to pathetic shame !

I guess this is a uniquely Indian moment. I guess. I am not sure. Please correct me if i am wrong here. My guess is given shape by the fact that we have a chronicled mythological precedent. Of Lord Ram’s footwear standing in for the gent when he went into the jungle! So.

So, in a busy movie hall (or wherever else, esp if there are no allotted seat numbers) you can stroll around, ogle about, wander with a pop corn or a cone of ice cream. All this while the old dirty handkerchief stands in for you !!

In smaller cities and towns, this scene is so often repeated in inter city buses. Where the clamour to get a seat is only matched by the ability to reach a handkerchief, newspaper, belt, tiffin box to ‘reserve’ a seat !

If a ‘representative object’ (dirty handkerchief, shredded newspaper or whatever) of the dude in yellow trousers got to the seat before you, well, the seat belonged to the dude in yellow trousers ! So we have seen. And heard.

It was ‘refreshingly different’ to see this gent, and his mode of reservation. Aboard the river cruise on Goa’s Mandovi river.

He clearly had outgrown the handkerchief and belongings of low value. For friends of his, for whom he ‘reserved’ seats, he gave it his one whole leg and one whole hand !

And warded off every body else who came close to the seat with a dismissive disdain that perhaps would befit a Taliban war lord looking at his goats, whom he was going to have for dinner !

This is a new standard that must quickly be made known to the rest of the country. We need more people like this gent.

Wont you be happy with friends like these ? Especially considering that they would give an arm and a leg. Just to get you seated.

19 thoughts on “Reservation

  1. Rush says:

    lol…u wont believe, just last week i was searching for a parking spot…by the time i reached, i saw a desi aunty get off another car, run across and stand on the spot. When i asked her “auntyji, wat u doing? i need to park my car”…she turned her head, acted dumb and didnt budge. I moved on, just realizing the act is no more restricted to back home…indians have bought this practice abroad and are spreading the flu.

  2. Swatantra says:

    Nice way… reminded me of the days in my college, when we use to reserve the seats for our friends in class and in bus…

    and use to have so much fun with these small things…

    I liked the way you have explained this.. Keep it up!!

  3. amreekandesi says:

    haha…very nice.

    I am reminded of that scene from Chak De where the Haryana girl claims the bunk because she had kept her box there first!

  4. The spirit of Goa does that to you. You forget bodily control of your arms and limbs and other appendages!!!
    Or it gives a new meaning to live light live airy in Goa,

    Or He was probably AIRING his B***S!!!

  5. We commonly offer up our bodies to hold reservations (or parking spaces… I was guilty of this just last night). I like the Indian tradition of using a handkerchief instead. So civilized.

  6. Neha says:

    hahahaha, loved that image, and obviously the post…

    we used to do this while in hostel…reserve bathroom in the morning by leaving our bucket outside and informing the person inside that we r next, so kindly put the bucket in the bathroom as soon as she is out..n there were couple of mean girls too, who well never followed this discipline and always ended up fighting with somebody everyday spoiling my sleep..I had mentioned this incident in one of my posts btw 😀

  7. Aparna says:

    Oh we used to do this in college all the time…reserve a place for friends in the bus, in the class, in the canteen. That time we used our folder or bag and at times even the sweater. And every body respected that reservation. Unlike the hooligans in the train from Delhi to Calcutta who sat on our seats even when we had genuine reservations. People probably respect a handkerchief more than a ticket here in India.

  8. Insignia says:

    Hahahaha loved it. I bet its definitely Indian way to reserve.

    The potters in railway station do it too…Thankfully we don’t have unreserved compartment in airplanes.

    You brought up a irritating behavior out; in a subtle way. 🙂

  9. 25 years ago, a whole bunch of us family folk with elders and kids, had to travel from Pune to Lonavla, and train was the preferred mode, there being none of the currently popular Volvo buses etc. We had no reservations , for this 90 minute journey. The problem was solved ingenously by the coolie who was helping with the lugguage. He collected, shawls and scarves from us, then disappeared. Before we could rue the disappearance of our stuff and suffer the cold, the train chugged in from the yard. When we entered our compartment with a lot of push/pull/effort, there was this coolie guy sitting there, with a whole bunch of shawls and scarves “reserving” places for us. He motioned us to come in and occupy the “places “, after which he rushed outside and brought in our heavy lugguage. …

    Like reservations in motion , na ? 🙂

  10. rajk says:

    I went through the comments to see if anyone has had the experience that I’ve had:
    Once while my Gujarat State Transport bus was stopped at a very crowded bus station and there was a huge throng of people trying to get in, this very imaginative guy came to the side of the bus and pushed his kid in through the window and told him to “keep place” for the dad!! I could only gape. . .

  11. Pearl says:

    I fear this is worldwide, Kavi. 🙂

    The U.S. has no historical or religious tradition that I know of that would give way to this.

    Every time I come here, I learn something.


  12. bodaat says:

    Great post – it really made me smile!! I think it might be a world wide phenomena too but us Indians may take it to a different level. Just maybe. 🙂

    Best wishes,

  13. Rohit says:

    I think even the chinese do that..guess, desperation always leads to ingenuity ..and thats handkerchiefs, towels, hands and legs all come in to play..lovely post

  14. Sriram says:

    lol. you’ve put it so nicely. the guy in the pic means business 😀

  15. nsiyer says:

    Kavi. That was just you and your figment of imagination ala Mandovi river. But I love the connections to the daily happenings in India. Kavi, you are incredible.

  16. aativas says:

    Great post. You have captured the ferocity well by comparing it with China’s claim on Arunachal…Enjoyed.

  17. Kavi says:

    Rush : Offering the whole body for reservation is something that is taking to a different height. And that too for parking space is indeed interesting !

    Swatantra : Ah ! School, college and the spirit of friendship rings an awfully different tune altogether ! 🙂

    Amreekandesi : thanks ! 🙂

    Ryan : RYAN !!!!

    christine : Well, am glad that the handkerchiefs are getting some takers !! Some ideas to export ! At the least !

    Neha : I have never lived in a hostel. But can imagine people reserving with buckets. Thats so much possible ! Indeed ! LOL !!

    Must have been quite an experience !

    Aparna : Yes. The handkerchief on the seat has tremendous sanctity and respect. To say the least ! I am not sure though whether it has more sanctity than the ticket !

    Insignia : I wonder if you travelled Deccan Airlines in its early days. Where it was called ‘free seating’. And ofcourse, you had passenger running across the tarmac !


    Ugich Konitari : That experience got me nostalgic. But it reminded the missus of similar such experiences that she has lived through ! And i am told that this very much in vogue. To date ! So… its an age old experience, still rocking ! And well ! 🙂

    rajk : Oh my ! Hilarious. That is a another height indeed ! 🙂

    Indeed ! 🙂

    Pearl : Thank you ! I am not sure of the ‘worldwide’ bit though. But that you tell me…makes me think of it as true !

    Bodaat : So, here you are..another ‘worldwide’ comment to this post. makes me feel ok ! 😉

    Rohit : Welcome here ! And you are bang on. Desperation leads to ingenuity ! Indeed ! Well put !

    Sriram : Oh yes ! he did !!

    Ns Iyer : Not at all sir ! this happened right there !! 🙂

    aativas : Thank you ! 🙂

  18. Jeevan says:

    It somehow signs irrespective to one sit beside. Think I haven’t come across using something as reservation.

  19. sujata says:

    an arm and a leg for a friend and that too just so that the friend can sit, is truly admirable isnt it!! I remember doing it in school and college all the time, we used bags, books, whatever was available to reserve seats, it was the next most common thing after giving proxy attendance for friends who bunked for whatever reason!!

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