In the quest for achieving something, or for just jumping the queue ahead of other clueless folks, people take shortcuts in their daily lives. They do this almost unconsciously, as they believe sincerely that they ought to be rightfully ahead of others. They do think that they deserve the unique place that they seek to usurp intheir pursuit of their goals in their lives, though these goals might be just steps on the way to accomplishing something bigger.
Think about it, how many times have you seen someone behind you in the queue for a movie or at an airline check-in counter, gets pulled to a spot ahead of you by somebody looking more official or authoritative – sometimes even helped by an actual airline official for instance. Whenever such a thing happens, I always wonder if such people using some sort of excuse to get ahead ever think of the time that others have been waiting in the queue, or the intrinsic value of the queuing system itself. They are so selfish and so full of themselves that they gleefully acknowledge the invitation by some unauthorized moron ahead of you and leverage the same to pull ahead of the waiting movie-goers or passengers.
More often than not such a thing happens in India, and it almost always does not happen anywhere else that I have been to – signifying the class mentality that is even today embedded in Indians’ minds. I have been to China a number of times and everything works systematically. People follow the rules and nobody solicits favours in common day to day life. The overt display of favourable treatment unfortunately embeds a wrong stereotype in the minds of young impressionable people, who assume that it is just normal and socially acceptable behaviour.
I get annoyed when I come across such instances, because my assumption today is that India and Indians would have moved far ahead in their behavioural culture. That refinement is yet to happen, as I witnessed twice within a span of 15 minutes at the Chennai International Airport last week. In all airports in India, passengers have to produce their airline tickets and a personal identification – in the case of international airports, it has always been your passport.
So here I was in the “airport entry queue” which surprisingly had only some four people ahead of me. I was ready with my passport and ticket, and like it always happens in India, the queue worked both ways. I saw some people who were talking to the police official starting to walk back in a queue which was not wide enough to accommodate two guys and some luggage! But then, in India one always needs to “adjust” – so I made way for these folks walking back. At that time, I saw the guy at my back in the queue who was well dressed and appeared to be respectable. He grew impatient with the delay in the queue not moving forward, and hit my leg with his baggage. I turned towards him and cautioned him to be careful, and then he apologized. I don’t understand this rush to get ahead in every queue in life. Nothing much is going to happen in a few minutes of waiting and letting the official process one by one. In India, the respect for processes is weak everywhere, and that tendency percolates down to inviolable areas such as airports.
Looks like a simple thing, but I do not agree that even apparently educated people get to violate process with impunity.
I got into the airport and proceeded to my airline’s check-in counter. There were just a couple of guys ahead of me in this queue as the counters hadn’t yet opened. And what did I see? Couple of guys, including a lady, could not wait to join the queue and follow it – with hardly any people in it! They lifted the barricade strap and got in ahead of me for the purpose of joining some “known” guy ahead of me, without so much as a simple excuse for breaking the queue discipline.
Again simple stuff, but the refinement of culture and respect for others are lacking – of course, there was never any discipline to start with anyway.
As I walked towards the lounge to start my long wait for the flight, I was ruminating on these mundane daily happenings in India. None of these take away from the greatness of the whole nation, but demonstrates that Indians in general, at the street level, are not willing to learn from the good behavioural practices and common culture prevalent in most other countries.
As I know only too well, Indians travelling abroad or living outside India, forcibly change their behaviour and approach to accommodate respective local practices and confirm or comply to those practices or cultural edicts to protect themselves and make progress. May be in India, the Prime Minister should introduce good cultural behaviour, discipline and respect for each other to the people of India – that should make some improvements in daily life.
Have a good week ahead folks,
14th July 2019