Long winding queues is a regular sight, in a country like ours, where the population is burgeoning every second. We find ourselves in one quite often — for boarding a flight, darshan in a temple, or for the school admissions which may last for days.
This book is interesting for those who are always in hurry and take pride in jumping queues. It exposes the tendencies of an average human being to find ingenious ways of jumping queues. The book discusses all types of queues — formal, social, overt, covert and many such variants. It also includes the virtual queue in a call centre where we invariably hear the recorded voice that says: ‘You are in queue, please wait.’
Wherever there is a queue people try to find novel methods to jump the line. Queue jumping is successful when there is a legitimate reason to jump the line and it is difficult for those in the queue to verify the queue jumper’s excuse.
The author has discussed an interesting pattern of queues in India and the West. “Our average queues are full of verve and vitality, each brain in overdrive, actively evaluating all strategies to jump the queue,” he writes. “What is more, in our queues we stand really tight, unlike the Westerners, who stand apart as if the next person may be suffering from some unmentionable contagion,” he goes on to add.
How our VIPs get preferential treatment at airports and other places is fascinating. An excerpt: “Not all airports provide for fast track passages which Westerners allow at a premium in their airports to those travelling in first class or business class. Nor do they provide for marhaba-like arrangement (of the Dubai Airport), where one pays for the privilege of being ushered through the airport gates faster. Our system is somewhat different. Our fast track or marhaba equivalent involves our leaders wearing spotlessly white kurta-pajamas and being escorted by a couple of safari-suited gunmen to the front of any queue.”
In short, the book is a tongue-in-cheek focus on the art. When you cannot escape the queues, try beating them.
The writer is a member of RC Ludhiana, D 3070.