Monday, November 1, 2010

Article in The New Indian Express on October 31, 2010

This article appeared in my Sunday column 'Un Intended' in the New Indian Express on October 31, 2010.

Breaking Down Efficiency By Infiltrating Queues

Harimohan Paruvu
Don’t say I did not warn you. Gangs of infiltrators are on a mission to destroy our nation’s health. These gangs are responsible for inducing stress, increasing blood pressure and weakening the health of Indian society (apart from families of course, who are equally to blame, but we shall discuss domestic terrorism some other time). These gangs operate so subtly that they’ve remained unnoticed by law, and move freely in our society. Hopefully, not anymore!

I have observed their modus operandi carefully and compiled a dossier. Their goal is to breakdown the key to India’s efficiency - queues. Everyone knows that we cannot function without queues. From visiting loos to seeing God, we queue up efficiently. And that is precisely where these mischief-makers strike; planting one lunatic per queue, causing chaos and stressing everyone out. For example, take queues in banks. Just as your turn comes up, a lady terrorist steps in from nowhere and wants to go first. Ladies first! Heart rates double, people shout, clerks stop work, security guards arrive, financial system freezes. In case 2, you are in queue for an hour, jostling with hundreds, when a young man rushes past to the enquiry counter - ‘Just a small doubt,’ he says, like we’re all carrying big doubts. BPs shoot northward and some old people faint. Case 3. Everyone’s queued at the supermarket counter with their weekly groceries when an old guy breezes ahead. ‘Only one item,’ he announces as if he was announcing a bonus for gluttonous shoppers (who owe at least that much to single item guys). Chaos prevails as several people try to kill him. Case 4. You wait patiently in line with other cars for a mini traffic jam to clear up when a disorderly infiltrator zooms up on the empty lane for oncoming traffic, thereby parenting a humongous mess and jamming the traffic solidly for one hour more. Stress levels hit the sky, veins burst, sometimes bones break.

With such lunatics infiltrating our lives, our collective Blood Pressure will naturally soar. Obviously some foreign hand wants us to be a totally stressed out nation and has hired these queue terrorists. Like zombies with no IQs, they keep butting into lines, moving up queues, hanging beside the counters. To aggravate matters, the cops help them to go ahead of you - so they can create more jams ahead probably! You look on, wanting to strangle, shoot and stamp on these infiltrators with hobnailed boots.  But since it is illegal, you watch, suffering a series of minor cardiac arrests in the process.

If we want a healthy and happy India we must have laws to protect ourselves and our queues from queue-terrorists. Firstly, we need laws that allow us to zap these infiltrators with high voltage zappers. The zapped terrorists could then be chained to that spot for 4 weeks, out of reach of the counter, so they know how it feels. (Chaps jumping traffic could be chained to traffic signals until 300000 green lights pass them by.) And then, after having learnt the art of queuing properly, from competent authorities, reformed infiltrators can be released back into society - under compulsory daily medication. In case of any repeat offenders, capital punishment is the answer of course. It is after all a matter of national interest.

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