Saturday, April 18, 2009

You are in queue...please wait

Do we need to be told this in so many words!

Each time I see people crowding around cash counters or registration booths, my hunch gets re-confirmed - there are two different cultural aspects to queuing - one that holds it in utmost reverence, and the other that simply hates to line up and wait. No doubt we Indians belong to the second one. I tried finding a word that means 'queue haters' to describe ourselves, but sadly didn't succeed. Picture this: hotels, airports, train and bus ticket counters, supermarket billing counters, cinema halls even hospital counters... would we ever queue up unless thus instructed or forced?

Given a choice, every Indian would exercise his or her right to demonstrate their 'egality' by standing next to each other than line-up one behind the other. Rather strange way - it's the same behaviour whether in a star hotel or in a fair price shop. Is this some trait of being Indian, something to do with our culture -uniquely ours- we seem to display unacceptable signs of restlessness, impatience and anxiety when in public, jostling and shoving people, as if this was the best way to show off our might.Though I'm not a stickler for rules and disciplinary action, I always felt queuing is one of the significant traits of civilised societies.

This time it has to do with the school function I attended at Future Kid's School at their premises. As soon as the school staff announced that the parents could collects their passes for the show, all the parents simply crowded the make-shift counter near the school gate, making it chaotic for the school staff. I wish one of them had 'enforced' the queue system. What an example these parents were setting for their kids. This may be a very small and 'insignificant' instance, just observe our behaviour at cash-counters in food court and you will see how we spread 'horizontally' around the corner, rather than forming a straight line! I really admired the 'discipline' abroad, whether it's an eatery or any public convenience...lines make it orderly and manageable, I still remember those long queues of visitors patiently waiting for their turn to use the rest room in the Louvre Museum at Paris.

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