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Monday, 22 December 2008

Sorry Ma'am, I am 'On Time'

It was on the dot of 3pm that I reached the venue at Nerul for a convention and nobody was there. I looked around and saw one girl working on her computer. “Excuse me? Is there some meeting here today or am I in the wrong place?” I asked the receptionist. “Yes, there is a meeting, please be seated.” And I waited for next twenty minutes before I saw the familiar face. Coming late for any gathering is the norm in India. Actually, punctuality is the art of guessing how late the other person is going to be. I am learning to be unpunctual, because coming on time gets very embarrassing for me. Few months ago, I was invited for wedding anniversary of the friend. I was given the invitation card which specified the time of the occasion as 7pm. When I arrived at 7pm I had to apologize for being on time, the venue was still getting its finishing touches, the host and the family members were busy giving orders to the volunteers, I wanted to move forward to congratulate my friend but I was asked to wait for their magnificent entry. I looked around to find some comfortable seat for me, but my movement was the distraction for the organizers. I hid behind the pillar, on a low seat and waited patiently for party to begin, maybe I needed to change my this bad habit of being ‘on time’ Late comers don’t care nor respect other people’s time. One of the parents of the autistic child was mentioning to me about the plight of her child outside the doctor’s clinic. The doctors give the appointment at certain hour, but they are still made to wait for more than two hours. During those two hours, the child gets restless and starts throwing temper tantrums which is quite frustrating for the parents. Over the years, our society seems to have lost its sense of urgency when it comes to being on time for anything. The most punctual people I have ever seen are in government offices. Sharp at one o’clock, during the lunch hour and at five o’clock, the closing hour, the office window will close, although at other hours of the day they might be punctuality challenged. I know it is going to be hard to change my habits. Poor time-keeping might make me sloppy, lazy, selfish and unorganized. But don’t blame me. I am forced to change to keep my nerves cool at all times of the day.

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