I was waiting eagerly with my son. The waiting hours seemed to be too long, but finally we had a sigh of relief. Our wait was over! My husband and daughter were proudly coming to us with their prized possessions in hands. Don’t get me wrong! They had not completed any marathon and returning with prizes! Actually they had been standing in the queue to buy the books for my daughter. The school had authorized only one shop to sell the books and there were many parents like us who had waited up to last day to buy the books and now paying the price by standing in the so called queues consisting of unruly crowds pushing each other in order to reach the counter. Standing in queue is a pain, but when your turn comes, you feel like a winner. As I recall my memories regarding queues, each of them leaves a smile on my face.
· During my school and college days, buying movie tickets was a great achievement as multiplex culture had not come and online booking was not even imagined of. To watch a movie, we had to reach the cinema hall at least one and a half hour prior to show timing to buy the movie tickets. There used to be a separate queue for ladies in the ticket counter. This separate queue helped the girls share a strong bonding with their brothers, as brothers had no option but to take their sisters along to avoid the long queue. I am sure the girls of that generation would never have felt as proud of their girlhood as they felt standing in the ladies queue in the cinema hall. To add to the pride, many boys who had lost all the hopes in general queues, used to stand before the girls with folded hands, pleading to buy tickets for them,” Didi! Two tickets please!” Or “Please sister! daya karo (Show some mercy) ! Two tickets only!” The girls used to shrug these requests off and move on showing off their tickets in hands.
· I remember, once we were pleasantly surprised when on entering a cinema hall, a gatekeeper addressed my uncle( who had been a teacher in a Govt. High School for many years) as Master Sahab (Teacher) and touched his feet. Though my uncle’s ex-students could be found anywhere as Doctors, Professors etc., but meeting none of them gave so much pleasure as was given by this gatekeeper. He insisted that from the next time, he should be informed in advance so that he could reserve the tickets for us! Our hearts filled with joy and we all collectively prayed that all the new movies be released in that hall only, so that we could avoid the long queues.
· As the Indian railway site always hanged at the time of opening of “tatkal” booking, my husband once decided to get the tickets booked from the railway booking counter. He was happy at his wisdom to reach the booking centre half an hour prior to opening of the counter, but still could not manage to get the booking! There were many people already standing in the queue including those who had slept on the floor in front of the counter!
· When I went to Switzerland, upon landing at the airport, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was no queue at the enquiry counter. I went to the counter to enquire about my hotel address, as soon as the person enquiring at the counter left. The lady behind the counter politely pointed out that I should have waited for my turn in the queue. The queue! I was shocked as I looked back ! As it was my maiden foreign visit, how could I know that the lady standing at least five feet away from the counter was actually in the queue, waiting for her turn! More so, because when I surpassed her, she did not show a single sign of discomfort. I came back, apologized to the lady and prayed to God that she never came to India, as with this calm attitude of hers, she may spend rest of her life standing in a queue in India.
· I feel that we Indians experience a unique kind of joy in our day to day life which people of many other countries cannot even imagine! Though we are able to avoid many queues through online bookings these days, still we get sufficient chances of standing in the long queues struggling to maintain our territory, stopping others from jumping the queue, waiting patiently for the person behind the counter to end his/her phone call or finish his/her battle with the computer, but still when the turn comes, all the woes are forgotten and we feel like war heroes emerging victorious through a long lasting battle! A joy which no VVIP can understand!