indian queue, whats in a line, india, review, lessons for life, discipline

What's in a Line ??

I was once told by a scholar that standing in a queue does not mean that you are a follower or coward. It rather means that you value discipline more than your ego.

Oh! Really...!!! Any skeptics of Darwin’s theory of natural selection ought to stand in an Indian queue.

Indian queue etiquetteAt first glance, there is utter chaos, with ‘queue jumpers’ inching their way forward, exploiting every nook and cranny. Soon the queue ceases to be a single file line and gets into a dynamic superfluous formation, tantamount to a swarm of bees. In a country of 1.2 billion, the concept of an orderly queue falls on deaf ears, and the rat race commences. Only the tough survive, while the weak are stranded behind, having succumbed to the utopian, albeit theoretical, concept of patience and order. But does this problem stem from our inability to follow social etiquettes, or rather our ability to exploit every single advantage?

Coming back to Mr. Darwin’s theory, we can notice a similar trend. The generation who valiantly fought for our independence passed on their determination and strong-mindedness to their offspring. Decades later, we Indians are gifted with an innate common sense and a never-say-die attitude, traits that helps us in the real world , even while maneuvering through a queue. With vast sprawling cities devoid of bucolic idyll, we are taught from a young age to reap our benefits to the fullest, even a few free square centimeters in a queue. With cut-throat competition being ubiquitous, it is fair to say that surviving a line in India is a tough ordeal for us all. I have learnt more life lessons fighting for my place in a queue than from my entire schooling, and when a person unabashedly cuts in front of me, I cannot help but wonder how it correlates to life. After all, isn’t life a queue for a common destination, filled with low lives who try to cheat and exploit you?

Indian QueueA person’s first experience in an Indian queue is a punch in the gut, quite literally. He may find himself drowning in a seemingly stagnant sea and finally capitulate to staring vacantly into the motionless. However, it is now when the queue takes a life of its own. You see, when the naïve novice lets his guard down, it doesn’t take long for the pushing and shoving to commence. The poor soul, in all his innocence and bewilderedness, is now squeezed by three or four strangers who have exploited the free space more efficiently than the British Empire did when they first arrived here. Unable to move or breathe, he notices that the person in front of him wasn’t there before and for that matter, not even the person after that. Little does he know that if he says anything, he will be subjected to torment, and perhaps even risk being ostracized from society. Little does he know that once his job is done, he will face a similar situation on the traffic-laden ride back home. Little does he know where the line ends, or where it begins, or whether there was a line in the first place. All his illusions of order and stability are shattered. When the unsuspecting amateur is finally spat out of the line, the person at the counter will greet him nonchalantly, oblivious to the carnage below, for there have been darker days.

It is with great conviction to say that surviving an Indian queue is a rite of passage for us all, for it epitomizes our drive for success amidst heavy competition. We can all frown in disdain, start campaigns and blame the establishment, but deep down, we all know that this is a way of life.

Truly, this is a problem that cannot be fought, but can only be braved.

Comments (8)

Preeya Malik Posted on Apr 26, 2018 is sooo hectic!


Radha Patel Posted on Apr 20, 2018

I traveled to India with my mom, May 2009, when the swine flu epidemic was everywhere (some may say it was the original Zika). When we landed at Mumbai airport at 2am after traveling for 20+ hours, all the passengers had to stand in a \"queue\" and get our temperature and vitals checked. Combine the smelly chaos of an Indian queue with pseudo health professionals sticking things in my ears and mouth, and I lost it! People were shoving and pushing because they just wanted to get out of there, but the empowered officials were adamant that we all get \"screened\". I realized in that moment, that I am no match for the desi mentality all around and had to just \"fall in line\".


Raj @ Posted on Apr 19, 2018

Stressed me out just reading it. I get claustrophobic in scenes like that.


Dixya @food, Pleasure, And Health Posted on Apr 18, 2018

i cant\' even...this is the same situation in Nepal.


Deepa Dwarkanath Posted on Apr 13, 2018

Well written Arun! One of the attitudes that wouldn\'t change in Indians till they are in India. After all, we keep proving that it has to be the survival of the fittest in all sense and so mess up the queue. The only exception where I have found people following a queue is in front of the liquor shop!


Vidhya Posted on Apr 13, 2018

Yes, it is an achievement if you can survive the queue and reach the counter! Well written Arun!


Regina Shetty Posted on Apr 13, 2018

Very nicely writen Arun. . \r\n\r\nThe different experiences of being in lines in India or Asian crowed countries. .. different kinds of lines is penned so well that all of us can relate to it.\r\nN there those lines we r forced to be in.. yet want to be there the one to the thrown that is so well disciplined n those lines we r over enthusiastically waiting for days together. ..for a ticket to de famous show or match or Iphone product.. we don\'t mind de squeeze n footstamps. .\r\nUr line.. \"After all, isn’t life a queue for a common destination\" rightly said.\r\nKeep writing young fellow.


Jyotsna Matharu Posted on Apr 13, 2018

Arun has written a very true version of the existing scene ...we all Indians are so familiar with still exists everywhere


Arun Ramesh

A first year undergraduate student of University of Rochester, New York. Pursuing degree in financial economics and data sciences and very passionate about writing blogs, playing chess, rugby and Gui

Featured Video

Moksha Himalaya Spa Resort

16 Jun 2019

Recent Posts