It was Thursday morning, and a busy day lay ahead of me. Certain legal formalities required that I purchase 5 stamp papers of Rs 100 each from a nearby vendor just down the road. As I reached the crossroad I was a little anxious about its availability as they were not always available and so I had decided to reach the shop at opening hour. However, I got delayed by about half an hour. As I neared the shop I observed that a line had already formed. There were six people who had exactly the same idea. Being the 7th in the line I knew it would take at least 20 minutes before my number came, so I waited patiently till those before me were catered to. The lady at the counter, who was also the owner of the shop, was a happy but strict person and also efficient. So I was not unduly worried about delay. It was a hot day and the sun was beating down mercilessly even at this early hour.
Soon more people joined the line and as I turned, I saw there were about another 15 who were in the que behind me. Most were elderly belonging to various professions and they seemed relaxed and waited patiently. I turned my attention ahead and realized that my number was next. The que had moved quickly. I noticed a gentleman behind me. He seemed restless and made as if to get ahead of me and even pushed me in doing so.
Momentarily I was surprised at this behavior and I protested mildly as the man was well dressed and seemed respectful. He roughly told the lady at the counter to cater to him first. This was most upsetting and I categorically told him to get back in line as I was before him. The lady at the counter also told him the same.
“But she wants 5 and I want only one.” he said.
“Get back in line” warned the lady, “This woman is before you and so she will be catered to first”.
“No you must give me the stamp paper, besides I am a lawyer!”
Now I was really riled up. “If that is so, then I think you should set a better example than behaving like a child, I said firmly. Please get back in line. This matter is not worth arguing especially since you are the wrong doer.”
The man was now really angry…but neither I nor the counter lady relented so he was forced to back down. So much for being well dressed and being a professional! Experience seemed to have taught him nothing. As I left I got a thumb’s up from many in the que…their facial expressions of irritation said it all… It takes only one to spoil a peaceful atmosphere and disrupt a smooth process.
Indeed, if the educated behave in such a manner and let ego reign supreme then there is very little hope for mankind. On the one hand the whole episode struck me as a real comedy…but on the other it was a sad commentary on how humans let the mind rule over their intellect.