Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Every one must be familiar with eating food, eating pills, eating fruits & vegetables and many other edible materials. But 'eating' time is some thing new and it is understandable if many are unaware of such a thing. The term time 'eaters' refers to people who are insensitive to the value of others' time and probably get vicarious pleasure out of making others wait for their attention or service or presence. During olden days lack of communication facilities and transport infrastructure was a constraint in keeping up with time but that excuse is no more valid these days with practically every one possessing some sort of personal transport, plenty of 3-wheelers on the road and a decent public/private transport facilities existing in almost all towns and cities. Making some one wait has become an epidemic in the country with even the younger generation succumbing to it, probably learning it from their erring parents while growing.

It is common for ministers, bureaucrats, VIPs and others with power, be it economic, systemic, legal, executive or in any other form to make citizens wait for hours to gether without bothering about the value of time lost to those who come for attending functions and meetings. Whether it is a government office, public service facility, hospital, clinic, judicial court, train stations, bus stations, airports or any places where citizens have to go as a part of the necessities of every day life, the story is the same- wait, wait and wait! A recent report by an international agency rated India as the top most country on a scale of optimism. This is probably due to the feeling amongst the population that things cannot go worse than what it is to day and one has nothing but to hope for the best! Other wise how can one explain the patience with which people accept stoically the delays, sufferings, loss of time, loss of money, loss of self-respect while trying to get what is due to them. Millions of judicial cases are pending for years in this country involving a significant percentage of the total population who continue to keep faith in the judicial system and the integrity of the lawyers in whose hands they are trapped.

Unfortunately no survey seems to have been done by the sociologists in the country regarding the repercussions of such a distortion and the cumulative effect on the society. Imagine the man days lost if there is a one hour delay in a public meeting attended by thousands of people and thousands of such meetings take place every day across the country causing massive loss of millions of productive man days. What is galling is that those who cause delays have no remorse and no apology comes forth from their 'golden' mouth as if it is their birth right to make other people wait for their attention!

It is said that "punctuality is the virtue of the bored" and " punctuality is a joke in India". Measured by these yardsticks very few bored people and jokers will be left in the Indian sub-continent in the next few years, looking at the trend on punctuality!.


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