Train Observations (Part 1)

 I begin writing to you my thoughts as I sit on the train observing my surroundings.
Different from my usual routine of flicking through the latest Drake or Kendrick song or seeing whose videos I have left to watch on Snapchat before the connection runs out.

There’s something quintessentially British about the policeman/woman, who goes from train to train risking their lives to protect the average citizen. They reflect the need to maintain order and hierarchy in society, that is seen to have played a large part in Thatchers government policy.

A family of three sit opposite me. A united family of three: the loving mum, the devoted dad and the daughter (who looks about 7 years old) eager to embark on the journey that is life. Sitting together, holding hands, reminiscing and laughing about a past or recent memory. Some watch longing for this same sense of togetherness,while others in that moment begin to appreciate their own family. Both unity and sustainability are fundamental characteristics of family life. Although, it seems as though this sense of togetherness is somewhat lost in society nowadays and teenagers eagerly anticipate the day they get to leave their parents house and become independent. To live life as an individual.

This emphasis on the individual is evident in studies of modernism and the modern world and makes me think back to my first semester at university when I looked at Historian Dipesh Chakra Barty’s work. Barty in Provincializing Europe (2000) questions why Europe is deemed the ‘master of modernity’, counteracting the opposing view that countries aren’t modern if they haven’t adopted western culture/traditions. Barty and other post-colonial critiques of modernity bring to light quite interesting and thought provoking arguments that have led me to think deeply about westernisation in a way I hadn’t previously. As a concept which quite frankly has both negative and positive connotations.

Lest we not forget the consumer who loves Starbucks, the lover of the Vanilla Latte or the ‎Iced Caramel Macciato. There’s also the one who reads. For different reasons actually. One, I believe, immerses them-self in a book to escape the realities of the physical world and loses them-self in this fictional universe. The other reads the newspaper to keep up to date with current affairs, to stay informed about the world around us and the tragedies others face. Secretly mourning the lives of individuals they do not know, or turning the page because they simply cannot bear to face these problems. Problems we don’t always have the ability to control. Okay, we can help the environment by using less hairspray or remembering to recycle that can of coke or paper. But real change requires large scale effort. Collective responsibility for our actions. Then there’s natural disasters such as earthquakes which we have no ability to control. So reading the newspaper can evoke different kinds of responses, all fuelled by emotion. We may re-evaluate ourselves and the mundane things we take for granted and as a result want to make a big impact on the world. Or we may just shy away from these problems, because we simply are not ready to face them.

Then there’s me sitting here writing about the different kinds of people we encounter on the tube. I guess they would describe me as teenager, with a big dream, striving to be successful in a society that says you can’t if you’re not part of the 1%. Certain stigmas, can stop anyone from chasing their dreams. Be it the young girl who aspires to be an actress someday or the young boy who wants to go into medicine and believes that he could one day find the cure for cancer. Either way, continue to push for what you want despite what anyone tells you. Don’t let fear make you sit on the sidelines and miss your opportunity.

Written on: Thursday 10th March 2016