I was enjoying dinner with friends and family at the pristine hill station, Lansdowne. Located in Uttrakhand, this hill station is barely crowded compared to its popular counterparts, Shimla, Mussoorie or Nainital. The town is comparatively small with limited sightseeing options. The main market known as Gandhi market, could be screened in 15 minutes.
A few restaurants in the market caters to tourist’s appetite excellently. We dined at Zayka, a small eating joint located therein. It was a small dining room, compiled of 12-15 tables per 4 chairs seating arrangement. While we were relishing the food (that tasted like homemade), interesting discussions were flowing in. Some customers were standing around, waiting their turn while others were flocking inside. The diners in waiting were eagerly looking out every table to hawk it as soon as the guests wind up.
My seat was just adjacent to the cash counter. I was trying not to get annoyed by the constant clustering at the cash counter. Food is what I worship and I tend to be cheesy if I am disturbed during my meal. Like every mother, I was performing my role of administering food into my son’s tiny stomach who was sitting right across me. He likes to run around while eating food. So as expected, he got up and walked to me. And banged, descended a lady (standing few paces away from him) onto his chair.
For a second, I tried to understand what had landed right across me. At the same instance all heads sitting at our table turned to the sudden distraction. Tired from the hard day’s sightseeing, I erupted, “Excuse me! We are still eating”.
She gave me a dopey grin and said, “Oh I am just occupying the seat, you are about to finish“.
“But my son is seated here, besides we haven’t finished eating yet,” I exclaimed.
The Lady still asked dumbly, “So should I get up?”
“Yes, if you please think so”, curtly, I remarked.
I may have sounded blunt here, but the point is whether such interruption is acceptable? Maybe on other occasions, I could have given a cold shoulder to such behaviour. But this particular time, my tolerance level was rather low. Often, I have been disappointed witnessing such occurrences and the audacity of people doing so-a lot of times, the list includes educated, suave, finely dressed people.
Can adults behave sensibly and maintain dignity rather than jumping out of the turn, undesirably? Would the same lady have enjoyed my barging into her personal conversation while she was dining with her family? Would it not have been wise to form a queue and the staff could have led the respective customers when the table was free? In this context, I would like to share my admiration for the systematic management of popular restaurants such as Sarvana Bhawan, Karnataka Bhawan, ect. while handling the walk-in customers.
On another occasion, at the school PTM, few parents were awaiting their turn to discuss their ward’s performance with the teacher. The wait time was almost 20 minutes for each student. We were calmly waiting our turn like law-abiding citizens. All was smooth until a couple walks in with the child. Dressed up in flashy clothes with flaunting diamond jewellery, the mother gazed at the people awaiting their turn inside the classroom. Disregarding us, she disgracefully went ahead to the teacher, as soon as she was free from her current discussion. Through silent glances within the waiting parents and the teacher, we all detested her attempt to break the Queue. The mother may have thought herself to be pretty smart by saving some time but little did she realize that she had earned our contempt.
When I ponder on such incidents, I feel that I may have concluded their actions as inappropriate too quickly. Maybe there was a desperate need to intrude. Yet, on both such occasions, a polite request for the chair or to meet the teacher before others, could have been much appreciated. I myself have, many times, given up my privilege to go first when requested courteously, especially while visiting a doctor. Often I wonder, do such people respect other’s time or privacy? Or are they self-centered mortals who likes to disobey rules.
Wish to share another incident while I am at this topic. I recently took my kids to the Nehru Planetarium to watch New Solar System show. I noticed the same scenario there too. Although the security guards tried to reduce chaos and pleaded numerous time to form a single queue; still, they could not get better than few Queue breakers who turned deaf ears to such appeals. It’s funny how parents try to discipline children when they themselves cannot display adherence to general manners.
Isn’t this a usual sight in Delhi? People pushing each other to get into the Metro rail or on the bus. Some get hurt, some toppled over. A simple Queue could have eased away the anxiety and stress evident in the commuters. Catching a train or grabbing a seat should definitely not be a life’s goal.
I appreciate the culture in few other countries, where the passengers calmly wait for their turn, displaying a well-maintained composure.
The hastening and barging culture do not lead to fulfilment. Valuing others is a sure shot way to Happiness. Try giving your seat next time to someone who requires more than you in Metro train. Try politely requesting with a Smile when you want to get an exception next time. The wonderful people out there always like to give in to the Smiles. Try being in queue when entering a movie hall. Believe me the Queue culture endows much satiation.
With this, I sign off, reminding myself not to be a source of inconvenience to others.