Random Thoughts-7: "On Punctuality"
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Random Thoughts-7: "On Punctuality"

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Generally I am very punctual and hate to be late for any event. If I have to catch a train or a bus, I make sure that I am at the station or bus stop at least 15 minutes in advance. And I start shouting and become angry, if and when my people do not keep time and delay me. So I am labeled as a ‘tension-party’. In short, I am stickler for punctuality and expect others also to be so, wherein lies the rub.

So naturally I loved the article, “Punctuality, what?” by Sachidananda Murthy (‘Last Word’, The Week, April 20, 2008, which fell into my hands only today). If you have access to it, please don’t miss it; read it.

If you are nearing 60 like me and have a lot to do and many dreams to realize and “promises to keep” and “miles to go before you sleep”, you realize how precious time is. Time is life itself. So I could empathize with the first century BC Roman poet Virgil and lament, “but meanwhile it is flying, irretrievable time is flying”. (Thanks to Mr.Sachidananda Murthy for the quote).

Further, I enjoyed the lines, “The Indian Standard Time is often described as the Indian Stretchable Time, where the ordinary person gives way to the big man in a car flashing red light. In public functions, the audience invariably waits for the chief guest…”.

But Mr.Sachidananda Murthy, my experience on many occasions has been slightly different. I find nobody there - not the audience, not the chief guest and not even the organizers. They all seem to have a tacit understanding that if the invitation says 10 am, the function will not commence before 11 am. Only dumb bunnies like me go in advance and make a fool of themselves. When somebody goes to a 10 am function at 11 am, he is just keeping “Indian Punctuality” as the saying goes.

Nowadays, I have also learnt to be “an Indian”.

Thanks to Mr.Sachidananda Murthy (sachi@the-week.com) and The Week for the inspiration.