What to do While Standing in a Queue

Written By

Chitra Doraiswami

What to do While Standing in a Queue Loading

We Indians aren’t too good at standing in a queue, without shouting , fighting or breaking ranks. But times, as they say, are a’ changing and we are compelled to stand for long hours in longer queues.

Don’t tell me you have enough to do checking your smart phone, listening to music or sending messages. That’s soo yesterday. Where is your creativity, your public spirit?

Here are some exciting and productive ways of spending ‘que-time’:

Take Selfies and announce loudly, ‘I have moved three cms,’ send it to friends and announce their forward movement too. This will create a buzz and you will get updates from all the banks in your city. In fact, you use the info to run to the speediest one or get others to run to speedier ones and see your way clear to the teller!

Or, you can bring three cloth bags, one or two kilos of fresh peas (if in the North) or one or two kilos of ‘avare kai’ also called ‘mocha kai’, if you are in the South. This is the right season for both. Now, drape the bag containing the veg on the right shoulder, one empty one round your neck and the other empty one on the other shoulder. Now, pick up the pea/kai from one bag, shell it into the middle bag and toss the empty pod to the bag on the far end. Voila, you are closer to a delicious lunch.  And if you are so inclined, give a small ‘take away’ plastic box full to the poor teller who has been told off by all irate customers since the 9th  of November!

There is also the option of bringing instead a bulb or two of garlic, an empty plastic bottle and of course, a bag (I am not a litter bug). Put the bulbs in the bottle, go shake, shake, shake – the bottle, not your hips – open the bottle and peel away. People may be kind enough to let you go to the head of the line to get rid of the smell!

Not your cup of tea? How about bringing your knitting along? If you don’t know how, learn. Ask Mom, the local know-it-all Aunty. Very useful. The sharp needles will keep gropers at bay and you can give exercise to the young men around by dropping the ball of yarn frequently.

Are you a chatty extrovert like me? Tell those who seem your kind about this best seller you have on the anvil. Tell them your hero is in a sticky place. Could they give you some suggestions? Record what they say, take down their name, and you have at least ten people who will buy your book (one day when you write one). Easier still is to pretend you are a journalist. What do they feel about this, about Modi, Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi, Pakistan…if nothing else, the temperature around you will go up with the pro-this and anti- that factions and you won’t know how the hours passed.

Are you born bossy? A good organizer? Then rope in the three queues that have been formed to play Antakshari. No need to leave your spot. Language no bar. The Senior Citizens can play judge.

How’s that for socially useful, productive work?




Chitra Doraiswami, 69, is from Bangalore. She has written for many publications such as the Deccan Herald, The Times, Femina, Eve’s Weekly, etc. Chitra has many an interesting tale to tell including the one about finishing her Masters along with her son; sadly “only” getting a First Class, where her son got a rank. She joined CMR, NPS as Headmistress two decades ago and is now known as the Associate Principal of the institution. She also has a sixteen year old grandson. Chitra is an avid dancer, reader and drama-enthusiast. She's traveled extensively with her husband who was in the IAF. She taught wherever they were posted. Chitra enjoys teaching people innovative ways of helping children learn, but she is definitely not the prototypical fluffy grandma!

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