Rights Vs Eligibility

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Traveling by train is most of the time a great experience especially if it is a long journey, an overnight journey.

Almost all times, I book the lower berth for myself as it is always comfortable and I don’t have to struggle to go to the upper berth climbing up and climbing down in a clumsy fashion.

It doesn’t end here, each time I get to prepare my sheet in the lower berth, I get this request from a co-passenger who may be marginally or materially older than me requesting for the lower berth for himself or his spouse citing back pain, age, inability to climb up amongst other reasons, sounds familiar !!!! Each time I have obliged but used to feel unlucky that despite my alertness in booking the lower berth in advance, I never had the privilege of using the same and in almost all cases, I had to sacrifice my rights to someone who was more eligible.

As this became a routine, whenever I book the lower berth, I would always anticipate such a request and rarely when I don’t get such a request, I feel elated and delighted that I have earned both the rights and the eligibility. Yet, whenever I had to sacrifice my berth, I started enjoying giving it to someone more deserving. It is a chance to help someone, it is a chance to sacrifice, it is a chance to showcase humanity.

This experience during several train trips taught me the lesson that not all rights that we have could be enforced, there could be more eligible people in life who should have got those rights. Eligibility gains prominence over rights.

This concept of ‘eligibility’ overriding ‘rights’ can be witnessed in our daily life, including at work, it can happen when we pitch for a business when we seek a price hike, when employees are appraised when promotions are made, etc. Next time you face this situation, remember the train journey.

Even today when I book a lower berth, I do with a smile knowing that I shall be meeting someone more eligible for the same. And when there is no such request and the right and eligibility meet, it is happiness multiplied.

Lessons are around us...

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