Sunday, May 24, 2015

Slice of Life #5 — Falling in Line

It was one of those crazy Monday mornings at the airport. Almost all of the city had converged to take the flight that day, or so it seemed.

These days you have to have to stand in queue with one hand carrying a tray for you to deposit the laptop, your jacket, mobile, etc., and the other is the stroller bag. And to secure one of those trays for these kinds of flight is like getting a big fat lottery. Sometimes, I think someone is going to make some great suggestion as to how we should have a seamless way to deposit our luggage for airport scrutiny.

I was in one of those long queues and I almost made it to the tray lot when a big, wide-bodied, chiseled, tall man walked in front of me and took a tray. Clearly he had jumped the queue. I was touched to the quick and of course, did not want to raise my voice and was going to make a meek sound of protest. Except, my inner voice was a lot louder and I heard myself speak in a firm and polite way: “Excuse me, gentleman. There is a queue here. Would you mind joining it please?” And looked at him and smiled. My fellow queue guys looked at me in horror. The hulk looked at me for a moment, and gave up and meekly said, “Oh, I did not know that.” A lie that I gladly glossed over, and proceeded with my deposits into the scanner. Chose not to make eye contact, I murmured a “thank you.”

Of course, then you join the queue for the physical check. And that took a while, and I reached the other side to wait for my bags to get through the scanner. And I espied the queue on the other side and saw the hulk near the trays. Just then, another gentleman sneaked in and took a tray and stood ahead of the hulk. This was interesting. The hulk politely said to him, “Excuse me sir, there is a queue here, do you mind?”

Just then the heavens smiled, as did I, for this whole business of ‘falling in line’ was falling in line! Just sometimes, you have to speak up and stand up for what you believe in, even in the face of consequences. For that is important. It is!


  1. Dear Nathan,

    Greetings for the day! Another simple story but brilliantly put together by you. It is what we display as conduct in the moment that matters. This also reminds me of V Raghunathan's book - 'Games Indians play'. It starts with a similar incidence and talks about why we Indians are one of the most intelligent race in the world but low on collective intelligence. Look forward to more of your posts.

    Warm Regards

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