The 4th Seat Rules

4th Seat might be a non-existent term in the first class gents compartments of Mumbai local trains. However, in the general and ladies compartments the fourth seat means a lot. Also, there are quite some unspoken, unofficial rules and fundas surrounding the famed fourth seat. Let me take you through the list:

1 - It is the fourth seat occupant who sits sideways / occupies the least seat space. If two places are already occupied and you and a 'competition' aim for those, there's a simple rule. You can't occupy the 4th seat completely leaving negligible bum space for the third seat occupant. Firstly, it leaves three people sitting uncomfortably. Secondly, it results in blocking the standee space between two benches.

2 - The fourth seat occupant has to struggle a lot as people walk through the gangway. The knees are brushed and the feet can be stamped with many heels. If you are wearing a saree, God bless you coz the saree pleats can be spoiled.

3 - The fourth seat occupant gets the least ventilation in a crowded train.

4 - The fourth seat occupant can be subjected to holding the cardboard boxes when vendors selling accessories carry out their business in the trains.

5 - When window seat, second / third seat commuter gets up, it's the 'right' of fourth seatwaala to slide inside leaving the fourth seat vacant.

No one's going to penalize you if you do not follow these unofficial rules, but unless you want to invite nasty looks and arguments and unnecessary kichkich, you rather treat this as a guide when you travel by a Mumbai local train.

PS Nothing's official about all these points. It's just and attempt to make your commute peaceful and jhagdaafree!