Monday, April 20, 2015

Queue, Please!




"Queue, please!" is a phrase that is very rarely used in India! For we do not have queues here but groups that start off in a single line, and slowly turn into a number of circles, each trying to get to the destination in the shortest time possible. So there you are standing placidly, in a queue, when suddenly you feel a shove behind you, signifying that a person akin to a bull in a china shop has taken his place about seven places behind you. The shove is felt like a jolt at the fault line of an earthquake, as a ripple goes through the entire line. The expressions on the faces of the affected are epic, ranging from bewilderment to incredulity (a stronger form of bewilderment!), mild annoyance and outright anger.



The world is made up of two types - the mute and the vociferous. The mute stand stolidly, hanging on to their places by the skin of their teeth, concentrating on getting to the end of the queue as soon as possible. 



The vociferous tell, (or is it yell?) a different tune. They grit their teeth, take in deep breaths and let out a volley of abuses that can take the skin off one's ear. "Who on earth does that character think he is? A road roller?" is the mildest form of abuse, only because I do not approve of repeating cusses. However, if one wants to take a free lesson on the subject, a queue is the best place to be at.



Just as you feel as though you are part of the Pilgrim's Progress, inching forward painstakingly, there will appear a arm from right behind you, one that appears amazingly long by human standards. It snakes its way into the counter which is two places away from you, its armpit around the vicinity of your nose, never the most pleasant of experiences. For there are people who have never heard of deodorants, or even plain soap and water. 



So you turn your head, hold your nose, hang on to your place and gently suggest to the interloper that you are in a queue, and would like to remain there, and could he please refrain from jumping the line and above all, could he please remove that eyesore of an arm.By then others have also begun to nod approvingly, and throw gimlet stares at Mr. Armpit. Most of the time, that is enough to make him pipe down, and stay quiet.

However, there are those folks who were born with an extra helping of cheek when the good Lord was ladling out portions. So if you are stuck with someone like that, God forbid. For he will just turn the other cheek and stay put till the odour makes you stumble out of the queue, giving way to him. Or else he will argue till the end of time, or till the end of the counter, whichever comes sooner. Either way, you end up wishing you were back home.



One disadvantage of being shorter than average comes into play when you are standing in a queue. There will always be that one person who looms over you like a beanpole, shutting out the view ahead. So you bob up and down, duck from side to side and hope against hope that you will know when you get to the counter. Of course, most of the time you are swept along like a pebble in the flood of humanity, where survival of the fittest comes into play.



 Queues are normally found at temples, movie halls, ration shops, railway stations, and you guessed right, liquor shops. You would be surprised to know that the most orderly queues are found at the last mentioned, the reason being that the people standing are very determined to get to the counter, whatever it takes. Secondly, they know that brand that they want will definitely be there, and hence, the wait is worth it. There are also chances that they might get to jump the queue, especially when the man ahead, who is already the worse for wear, suddenly goes down with a giant crash, and stays down.



And of course, the queue that is most painful is the one before a public toilet. When you have to go, you have to go! And when you can't, because there are folks ahead of you, that is surely the most terrible state to be in! 



Wouldn't life have been easier if you had just been born an Englishman? 


 




16 comments:

  1. Haha, love the humour in this! I wrote a similar (but much more aggravated) post about queues last year for the A to Z challenge! https://cluelesstill.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/q-is-for-queue/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi cluelesstill, thanks so much! I am glad that you enjoyed my post! Would love to read yours as well! May queues turn more orderly some time in the future! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Been in many a queue, but thankfully, am taller than average :) My dad took my grandpa for some work at the Post Office and he said the queues there were so disorderly, he didn't know whether to be outraged, or laugh seeing it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Vinay, you are lucky you are tall. At least you can peep over heads and know where you are in a queue, unlike the rest of us! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Queues? what is that people will ask!! Loved the subtle humor! btw, did you notice the other queue always moves faster?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, little princess! :) And yes, I have no doubt in my head! The other queue always races ahead!

      Delete
  6. Too funny Deepti. Love reading your write ups. I simply hate queues, not that I will ever push someone away to take their place. But just don't like them. Especially the odour as you have mentioned. It's not just the armpit - there are those who wear the same clothes more than once even in the summer. UGH!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Sundari!:) The queues and the odour will remain as long as there are folks on this planet!

      Delete
  7. Hahaha this one was so awesome! I absolutely hate queues. For the same reasons that you mentioned here. But at times life is not kind and you find yourself stuck in some of them. And I agree with Titli here. It is always the other queue that moves faster.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Soumya! Queues are everything they are not mean to be - crowded, noisy and smelly! :) And yes, the other queue always races ahead!

      Delete
  8. Just to say how much I enjoyed this post. I did experience one queue on my recent trip to India, when we wanted to get on a boat in Mumbai. It looked as if we'd be standing in it all day, but we got through it surprisingly quickly. ~Miriam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miriam, thank you so much! I must say you were lucky if you managed to get through a queue surprisingly quickly! That is surprising , indeed! :)

      Delete
  9. God, you had me in stitches laughing right throughout and nodding my head vigorously. :D It's much the same in Sri Lanka, whereas Germans take queuing seriously (they take everything VERY seriously). Love the quote at the end, it's so true!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Devika, thank you so much! I love the fact that your were in stitches! :) From what you say, I would be quite at home in the queues in Sri Lanka!

      Delete
  10. Brilliant observation, spectacular writing coupled with humor, and awesome imagination makes this a fabulous Blog post. LOVED it Deepti! Carry on...

    ReplyDelete
  11. ah! i want everybody in mumbai, when they are about to board the local, to be turned to englishmen, and stay that way till they are out of the rail premises. nothing is impossible for god, may he grant the wish, for me and you.

    ReplyDelete