The attendant gave an odd sort of a sketchy salute. He turned around, slow and easy in the manner of a person who knows all about panicky situations, which are often more manifest while looking at the irritated faces standing in the long queue. But that gentleman overlooked every gaze and moved forward confidently.
Queues are usually formed while securing goods or availing the benefits of services. Some say that standing in a line with several others show our civilised attitude and cultured manner, while others regard it to be an entire waste of precious time.
At the beginning of the common era, the people attending events simply gathered en masse – clustered and clamped together in an unorganised manner. After several years of this mentality, they slowly began to stand behind one another, forming what is now colloquially referred to as ‘the line’ (in America) or ‘the queue’ (in Britain).
These two similar terms have also been openly used in our country’s lingo. After all, we request each other to either ‘come into the line’ or ‘to stand in the queue’, often on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Hindi equivalent of a ‘line’ or a ‘queue’ (pankti) is rarely used by the country’s people. For most of the people, it is a very hard word.
Undeniably, getting into a queue or lining up show our good manners – but often, we get infuriated when the queue gets longer with passing time. Sometimes, we come across touts forcibly approaching a counter and getting their work done within a few minutes. This kind of incident infuriates the people who perspire, while standing in a line.
A similar incident happened at Anwarganj railway station, one Sunday evening. The passengers standing in the line created a ruckus at a tout’s furtive ways. The clever man secured a reserved ticket within two tiny minutes from the clerk at the window. As a passenger in line was awaiting his turn to reach the ticket window, the dubious tout came, presented a form and got the ticket from the clerk. It was like the saying, “I came, I saw, I conquered.”
The swiftness with which the person obtained the ticket displeased the passengers waiting in the queue. Their hurtful uproar even caused the railways’ police personnel to intervene. These men in uniform started checking the identity cards of the passengers present in the line.
Somehow, they pacified them by their tactful mannerisms. Meanwhile, the real wrongdoer, as the irritated passengers said, swiftly fled the spot.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.