Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Follow the line, people!

When i shifted to Mumbai, it was pretty amusing to see people follow the queue system diligently as opposed to Delhi where no one bothers. In Mumbai, commuters patiently wait in serpentine queues for buses, taxi, rickshaws and lifts. Even queue up at a wedding to wish the newly wed couple!! Though i found this very funny initially, queuing up makes so much sense to me considering the number of times i have been the victim of queue cutting!

i have had people move ahead of me on several occasions with no regard to the already formed line called a queue. i think its simple social courtesy to acknowledge that someone's been waiting before you arrived and should have the right towards being served first! But surprisingly, no one recognizes that right of others.

It actually has nothing to do with whether a person is educated or not. Once my husband was standing at the billing counter of a movie theater. He was the only one there, so it was pretty evident that he is the one being served. A lady, well dressed and educated-looking, stood parallel to him and passed on a 100 bucks for a can of pepsi. The guy at the counter accepted. When my husband courteously pointed out to her that he was already at the counter, she did not even apologize for for what she did, which wasn’t obviously by mistake! (Since she did look old enough to have grown up kids, my first thought went out for the kind of manners she must have taught them as a parent!!)

Last week, i was at an airline check-in counter in Mumbai. i passed on my ticket copy and id proof to the attendant. i moved a little right to put my baggage on the weighing carousal and another lady coolly took my place in front of the counter. From then on, the attendant had to speak to me past her and pass my id back and the boarding pass while she just moved a few cms to let me take them from the table. Doesn’t that sufficiently indicate that i was being served at the counter and she should not have been standing there in the first place (no pun intended!)?

The worse happens in the ladies loo (in India)! (Yeah, sorry for spilling over the details of what happens in there!!) And it happens so many times that you might think its a norm to queue cut!! The  women who’ll stand at the beginning of the stalls waiting for a vacant one are just a minority. Most will totally ignore a couple of people trying to make a line and walk straight up to the stalls and start trying doors! Hello!!! You think we are standing there to admire the wonder of modern times called a toilet!!! We are here to do our business too and in quite a hurry at times! But how dense can people (yeah, women, in this case) be to not get it!

(i specified India earlier because in other countries the line might extend till outside the door of the toilet, but women will never step beyond the beginning of stalls. Just a respect for the privacy of people in there! And surprisingly Indians, when abroad, seem to gel into the group with no aberrations until they return to their own country!)

Even i was a little lax earlier and didn’t pay too much attention to queues. Some of these experiences have been lessons enough for me not to do something that can be so irritating to others! It seems a petty concern compared to poverty and rape problems but it just shows the level of social manners we have. i think it serious enough that it surprises me that Aamir didn't think of it for one of his episodes!! i know that’s taking it too far but you get the point - follow the queue!!

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