This happened quite some time back, but its been stuck in my head forever.
My 60 year old american boss was in India for his annual official trip. The office always put him up at Le Meridian and gave him a chauffeured car to drive him to and back from work.
One day at lunch, the inquisitive american got talking about how people travel to work. Some of us get our cars and some use the office bus or public transport. And one smart alec suggested that he should try the bus one day...just for the 'fun of it'!! (I was thinking...bus and fun?? Ah! this firang is not going to like this.)
So, our white excited boss joins the gang who travel by bus for his 'India adventure'. He heads to the bus stop chirping away happily with the gang. But, as soon as he spots the bus he says- "But, this is for cattle". And everybody was dumbstruck...Ah! excuse me!! cattle? we cattle? oh yeah! Well, they all laughed it off, but, it has just remained in our heads every since.
I had really never heard that before - That is for cattle!!! Really to think of it, it sure is! But, in this country we really don't pay too much attention to how the general junta travels. Who cares how rita, nita, raju, xyz travels. Its considered enough that the state provides some form of cheap public transport, however lame it is. We really don't protest or demand for better public infrastruture or facilities. Millions of people travel in small, smelly, cramped, unhygenic, bumpy vehicles everyday. And we just dont think much about it. Its just too low down in our list of things to ask/demand for.
And it really took a firang to say those words and nail that in my head that we are cattle.