Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q : Queue Story

The queues in India are never ending. And they are also melting pot of cultures and opinions. 

And then there is a queue for everything. To eat, there is a queue at restaurants. To shit and pee there is a queue at public toilets. You have to queue up to get into a bus or even get out of it. There is a queue at departmental stores on Republic Day Sale. As if all Indians only buy when there is a good bargain. I hope you get the drift. In India, for any damn thing, you have to queue up.

Then demonetization created new kind of queues, few months back. Political queues. Many politicians queued up to sympathize with people who queued up outside ATMs. Politicians for the first time in queuing history of India, realized that queues can kill. People didn't die of heat when they queued up to see Shahrukh Khan on his birthday outside his house. They didn't feel any pain when they queued up outside two wheeler dealerships on 31st March to get hold of phased-out polluting BS III bikes. But you are supposed to hate ATM queues. Right?

There are also people who queue up without any reason. The plane has just landed. Everyone will get to get off. They will have to wait for their bags to arrive on the belt anyways. But they can't wait, even if the plane doors are still closed. They just queue up in the aisles. Every landing in India, looks like an emergency one.  The same thing happens during boarding, as if plane will leave without them. Is it the insecurity of being left behind?

Another thing about Indian queues which is highly deplorable is the distance between two people in the queue. People don't have any sense of space. Bloody hell, they will just ass-grind you, if it was legal in India. You can smell that onion, the guy behind you had for lunch. You can feel the sweat on his arms when he tries to push the queue. Burps and farts in heat are worse than sulfuric acid. Manners? Zilch. 

Also most of the queues in India are segregated based on gender. Do they realize unisex queues would have been so much more interesting? Girls always make better conversations. They don't sweat as much and I think they don't burp or fart too. They run away from onions. I know I am exaggerating, but you get my point. Right?

I have had my share of queue experiences as well. Some scary. Some hilarious. Some helpful. Some kind of sad. But largely in India. And there was this one in London too. The racist one. I reproduce some of  my queue experiences below.

The Heathrow Queue: December 2011. I landed at the London Heathrow Airport. I got out to catch a bus. I queued up at the ticket window. By Indian standards it was not a queue. There was a cute couple ahead of me. And there were these three guys - those hippie types - behind me. But then it wasn't my day. I wear a turban and I am not a Muslim. These guys breached the space between me and them. (I mean in India people can even straddle against each other in a queue, but here this act of theirs reeked of hatred). They started abusing me. I faced racist jibes within an hour of landing. I decided to take the underground instead and left from there.

The Friendly Queue: Sometime in 2005. I was in Delhi for a B-School admission process. And we were in a queue for entry into a GD room. I met YA for the first time there. She was right behind me. She is one of the most beautiful (read hottest) girls I know. We got talking. She came to know that I have already secured admission for MBA in 5 other B-Schools. While drinking water from a bottle, she was trying to convince me to not participate in this process and mar other people's chances. She was doing it in a cute way. And this all happened within like 5 minutes of us meeting for the first time. When I joined the B-School of my choice, I discovered she was in my class. Over next two years, we became best buddies. And we are even today. This is one of my best queue memories.

Beat' em Up: Sometime in 1995. I was in a queue to get a movie ticket for Trimurti (A Hindi film that tanked big time). Remember there were no multiplexes and bookmyshow like apps then. The line was not moving ahead. I decided to get out of the queue. I approached few ladies in the other queue. While they were being sweet to me and helping me to get a ticket from their queue, the burly security guard, came with a large danda (wooden stick) and hit me. I never understood why. I didn't break the queue technically. Did I talk to his daughter by mistake? But I watched that film. Women are sweet that way!!!

200 Rs. Off: I love talking to people. Two weeks ago, I went grocery shopping. There was a huge and slow moving queue at the billing counter. There were three ladies in front of me and as I started getting bored, I started chatting with them. General stuff. After about 20 minutes, we were still at the same spot. They were being nice to me and told that since I had a smaller basket, I can get my billing done before them. I denied. I know for a fact that no one likes to wait in queues. I thanked them anyways. Few minutes passed, and then they told me that there is an offer, where you can show an SMS code and get Rs 200 off on the bill. I told them that I deleted that message in the morning, not knowing I will be shopping today. One of them said that she had an extra phone and insisted that I use the extra code. They got me a Rs 200 discount. Yippee. It is not the amount which matters. Their gesture did. People are nice in general. But queues in India bring the worst out in us. Still, if you have a knack for talking and decent sense of humor, it can be an enriching experience too at times.

It is time to close this post, as lot of other things are queued up for the day, which I need to complete. See you tomorrow with an R post.



2 comments:

Donna H said...

I waiting in line is never fun. I agree that interesting conversations can happen. I also always have a book with me so now I figure standing in line is reading time. Girl Who Reads

Charan Deep Singh said...

@Donna - right. Books are a great company. But I love at times people too... 😂