TODAY -

The Wait

Kajal Chatterjee *

  National Highway 39 - Imphal to Kohima :: March 2009
National Highway 39 - Imphal to Kohima in March 2009 :: Pix - WT



Apart from indulging in actual work, recreational activities and sleep; we also have to devote a lot of time of our lives in Waiting --- waiting in banks, hospitals and where not !

Waiting is indeed a matter of great irritation especially when the surrounding ambience is most often crowded, chaotic, unpleasant and even without adequate sitting facilities. It also results in a colossal wastage of precious time as we could have performed many other necessary tasks during that period gone unproductive.

However in this hugely populated country, with service providing institutions being disproportionately less, confronting unending queues is inevitable.

So when there is no provision of escaping this phenomenon of waiting, we must explore various paths to utilise it in a constructive way or at least find avenues to make it tolerable or even entertaining !

However prior to that I must mention a set of people who are least perturbed by waiting. One, those who love gossiping ! Anytime, anywhere, in any circumstance, they can strike up a conversation with an absolutely unknown set of people and they get engrossed in such a scale and depth that it seems that the more they wait the more they relish !

I vividly remember the ambience within a classroom where the polling personnel tagged "Reserved" were asked to wait since noon before the polling day. Hardly anybody knew each other as polling personnel were drawn from various offices around the city. Yet to my astonishment, I noticed that within half an hour, 2 or 3 groups got formed to indulge in gossiping about all topics of the world, cards came out, legs started getting pulled and in the evening they set out in search of tea and snacks as well !

In contrast I was noticing the reserved non-gossiping folks emitting sigh for getting bored and lamenting why call of duty is not coming or why they are not getting released !

Those who are obsessed with social media perhaps also find no problem how to negotiate the wait ! However folks not interested either in gossip or social media certainly find the wait intolerable. So they can explore things which they love. For example, book lovers can carry any paperback edition with them. If finding themselves in a queue, they can effectively utilise the time in going through it.

Nice utilisation of time while getting entertained ! Since my father is interested in crosswords and sudokus, his bag religiously carries a pen and the relevant page of the daily if he ventures somewhere with a chance of having to wait !

Since I find salvation in writing, waiting time gets very constructively utilised by me. Be it in sitting or standing position, I bring out my mobile set and start writing a piece as I am doing right at this moment revolving "The Wait" while testing my patience to get vaccinated and despite long queues indeed how nice the time is flying !

Ending my piece with a memorable wait which as a nature connoisseur, I found very pleasurable.

While travelling to Imphal from Kohima, as soon as we crossed over the Nagaland-Manipur border to reach a sleepy hamlet named Mao, our bus came to an abrupt stop. It was learnt that a mechanical defect has cropped up. So we will have to disembark as the bus will return to Kohima and again come back after necessary repairs!

Hours continue to pass by, yet no sign of the bus return ! Meanwhile I have criss-crossed the habitation countless number of times! Indeed, Mao was so beautiful ! Surrounded by lofty mountain ranges on all sides, it housed a few eateries and a post office perched high on a hilltop. We took a birdís eye view of Mao and the scenic surroundings from there.

As the bus returned from Kohima to make an onward journey to Imphal, I felt a bit of sadness as the wait in beautiful Mao came to an end !

So let's negotiate the Wait in a constructive and positive way --- be it through gossip and laughter, reading or writing or exploring the surroundings if there exists provision of moving around while waiting for our goal !


* Kajal Chatterjee wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on June 16 2021.



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