Monday, September 04, 2006

Last in Queue

The final school bell that marked our dispersal was music to our ears. We were young, silly and happy. As soon as the bell rang, there was a mad rush and a virtual stampede to form a queue that would then be asked to march all the way to the school gate before we could go our separate ways. But all that would only happen if we maintained order and discipline, our teacher warned us. We found this an incredibly difficult feat since suppressing excitement wasn't exactly our forte. Still,the overworked and overstretched teacher finally managed to reign in the scurrying, the pushing and pulling, the squabbling, the joking and the deafening crescendo. We would be going home, what could bring us greater joy?

The great competition that ensued was for the first position in the queue. If you can't be first, try to be second. If not second, then third and so on. Of course, no one wanted to be last. If you were, you were an outcast and a loser. Obviously, someone would have to suffer this ignominy each day. What a pain it must have been!

Cut to the present. The excitement has fizzled out. We are no longer that young or even in school for that matter. Still, the ritual of forming a queue can't always be escaped. We go through the motions each time we line up to exit the company shuttle, which happens we reach office or a major stop where many have to disembark. The narrow aisle necessitates some self-discipline, which isn't exactly as herculean a task as it used to be when we were kids. Still, the one stigma that remains is the filling up of the last slot.

As the queue gradually inches towards the door, the seated folks try to squeeze into any available space between those already in the queue. They'll try all possible means to trickle in, if only to avoid being the last one off the bus. It's incredible the way some people show great impatience in getting off.

What's the big deal, buddy? Are you scared of being left behind before the driver looses his patience and punitively drops you only at the next stop?!! Surely some restraint can be shown.


Prateek said...

I always remain seated till the end of the performance. he he he ;)
I am the last one to evacuate, be it lift or bus, but I have a better luck on escalator. Thank god that people are not competitive when they are on a escalator.

Deepanjan said...

No queue is needed in the lift since the exit is as broad as the compartment itself! Had it been otherwise, there's no telling what would happen.

And yes, I too generally disembark the last.

Prateek said...

abey saale, tum bhool gaye ki lift se nikalne ka hi nahi , usme ghusne ke liye bhi log hadbadaya rahta hai.

Deepanjan said...

But that's tolerable! It's only when some folks use the lift to reach the adjacent floor that I lose my cool.

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