While we were in Kalikot fieldwork, one of my female coworker asked me not to leave seat for any ladies because that always made her feel that boys were superior to girls. That was a shocking comment for me. I said okay! But that was never the case at all. I had never offered seat to anyone because I felt he/she was inferior to me. It’s just the matter of respect.
We have always offered our seats for the ladies and the seniors because we feel they deserve better seating conditions. In Bhojpur fieldwork, the overseers and the junior engineers offered seats for us. It was strange but amazing but never an awkward feeling for me. Till then it was me who leave seats for others. We accept seat without any such feeling of superiority/inferiority. While in a teamwork, we need to respect this unspoken hierarchy.
I travel a lot by public buses, and I still leave my seats for ladies and senior citizens whenever it is possible. It gives me immense pleasure when they accept and say thank you by the smile.