A few days ago I saw a girl crying silently in the ladies compartment of the local train that I was in. She was crying into her mobile phone in full public view of a fairly occupied compartment. Mostly, when the phrase in full public view is mentioned, the next words expected are, ‘but no one did anything’, which is true here too. The compartment just let her cry quietly.
If this was a crime in progress and no one did anything it would be considered a shameful thing and perhaps a launching point for a study into the bystander effect. In this case, however, I found it a nice surprise that the other passengers just let her cry quietly. In this city, with a continuing battle for spaces of one’s own, it seemed that in the middle of that crowded place, the girl had her own bubble to get her feelings out. As they were strangers, none of them would rush to comfort her, or to ask what happened and later perhaps pass judgment on it. They would just let her be.
Big cities are notorious for their unconcern about one’s ‘fellow man’ (or human being), but this unconcern also sometimes turns into a way to let a person be with his or her private thoughts when most of one’s time is spend in school, office and long commutes or at homes where everyone will be present at the same time.