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Queue-spreading because its spelling is the least of our problem with queues

Scene 1:

I had gone to pay local taxes at a government office in Bandra a few days back.

I was directed to a table where there was no-one else waiting. I went up to the officer at the desk and submitted our papers. He keyed in the details in to his computer. The results flashed immediately. I gave our cheque, so far so good.

Then the officer pointed out that the cheque was Rs 12 (twelve) more than what was due. We looked at each other and tried to figure out what has to be done. Suddenly an elderly corpulent gentleman came and sidled up and stood beside me. I waited a for a couple of seconds. I thought he might have a question for the officer. I looked at the encroacher. He smiled at me. There was no-one behind me and yet he stood beside me.

I looked at him and said, 'do you mind standing behind me? We are discussing something here.' He smiled at me and said, 'no problem, I will wait.'

I drew my breath and said, 'can you please stand in the queue while we finish.""

He continued to look at me and said (all this in Hindi), "no problem, I will wait till you finish.""

I shrugged in disgust, tried to block his view with my back and continued discussing my case. We resolved it shortly and then I saw that our cheerful queue jumper had abandoned me and moved to the next table where there was someone else getting her work done.

Scene 2:

I was at the branch of a private bank in Bandra a few days back. I had to pay certain fees and this had to be in cash. I withdrew money from the ATM and went to the teller's counter. We were counting the cash when another corpulent gentleman came and stood beside me. I looked at him and frowned. he looked at me and smiled. There was hardly any space and our shoulders were touching.

I turned to him and said, 'can you stand behind me in the queue?''

He smiled at me and replied, "no problem, you finish and then I will go to the cashier.""

Once again, 'no problem'. As if I was apologising to them for their breaking the queue.

"Please go and stand behind," I said firmly.

He made a face and finally did go back as I refused to proceed till he did.

I guess queueing and respecting personal boundaries is just not our thing. Thank God for apps and online payments!
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