Jumping the “Queue”
IT was a bad day for me. Recently, a new store had come up nearby, just a walking distance from my residence. As a promotional gimmick, the store was selling many items – buy one, get one free. This included buy one litre milk for Rs.30/- and get one litre pouch free. It worked out to be Rs.15/- a litre milk !!! It was good and I could make curd regularly besides other use. Sale picked up, resulting a long queue early morning near the store. As obedient senior citizen, I was always followed the ‘Q’. Later. some roadside tea makers started buying milk in bulk to the tune of fifty pouches or more by jumping the “Q”, since they were purely business minded. For a few days, I watched this tamasha. Having spent life time with discipline at every stage and having spent more than 3 years in US where such things are unimaginable, I could not tolerate this rowdiness. Today, I protested and had a heated altercation with the person jumping the ‘Q”. Though,the intruder retreated with abuses to me, strangely none came in support of me.
AFTER half an hour of bank opening, I went to encash part of my monthly pension money. I was No. 3 in the ‘Q”. I saw one college girl, just dashing with a cheque to counter ahead of us, breaking the ‘Q’. I told very softly to the girl, please get into ‘Q’. She said, do not worry I shall take after you, still standing near the counter defying my request to get into ‘Q’.Took out her cell phone and against all unwritten rules of etiquette for use of cell phone started talking unmindful of people around. None standing behind me protested against her and I felt that I am making fool of myself .
TO-DAY, being Wednesday, the day when my younger Dr.sister is available, I decided to meet her. She was just staying about 3 Kms from my house. I took out my helmet and scooter Lamby, which was spick and span with occasional failure. Its re-painted bottle green color was bright and elegant inspite of vintage model of 1978. One kick, it did not fail me. After passing and crossing numerous potholes and road cutting for laying water pipe lines which are never filled by concerned authorities, I reached cross road manned by traffic light signals and spineless traffic police. Moment I reached, RED light came up. I just stopped near the obliterated stop line leaving some space on the left. While waiting ,I was wondering ,why STOP word is written beyond line, it should have been before line. Vehicles instead of stopping before line, cross and go on word STOP defeating the very purpose of a line. This is what exactly happened. On my left, though there was no scope for smooth passing of any vehicle, two young boys on bike passed from side of me and halted on the line as well as on word STOP. They were in twenties without helmet. Both were putting on pair of goggles. Pillion rider had put his cell phone cord across his neck. Bike appeared to be costly,high powered and new. Both were wearing jeans and distinct color shirts. Moment, the bike stopped, the boy who was sitting on pillion and was chewing paan (betel leaves with areca nut and lime), blew and spat red saliva from his mouth right ahead of front wheel of my Lamby. I protested loudly. The pillion rider with red shirt, lifted his goggles on his forehead in filmy style with dirty red-maroon ugly set of teeth, giggled and said “ SORRY KAKA – PHIR MILENGE (Sorry Uncle – Will meet you again) A sarcastic apology !
THE boy driving the bike, , after ensuring that the policeman on duty was looking other side ,accelerated his bike and sped past, inspite of RED light was still on and “Jumped the Signal”. I looked at the nearby lady commuter on her Scooty, and said “ See how these boys are behaving” She said “Hhaoo”. This is typical Nagpur originated dialect which does not indicate yes or no – neutral and noncommittal.
GREEN signal came up and I proceeded ahead leaving behind the incident. Stopped at Indian Oil Gas Station, stood again in “Q”. Fortunately, none jumped the ‘Q’ as none was behind me .While coming closer to sister’s place, it appeared that some accident had occurred just a few minutes before. I stopped my Lamby on one side and started inquiring about the accident. Oil tanker had spilled the oil on cement road making it slippery.Two boys riding the bike at neck break speed, slipped off and dashed against the road divider. The bike was laying across the road divider . Two boys who appeared to be thrown out, were laying on either side of the road divider. One boy I could recognise, who had just “Jumped the Signal” . I felt so sorry for him. Had he waited for green signal perhaps this would not happened. I looked at the other boy with red shirt. He was laying with face up. Thick red blood was oozing out from his mouth as if he is spitting out chewed betel leaves. His eyes were wide open. Oh God ! He was dead. The expression of his eyes was saying “ SORRY KAKA….I JUMPED YOUR “ Q “….( Sorry Uncle …..). A non sarcastic silent apology.