I finally took a breath of relief as my cab stopped outside railway station. The minute hand seemed in a hurry to reach 9. It was half past 7. I still had 15 minutes; my train was supposed to leave at 7:45. But as my plans were last minute, I had no ticket. When I reached the reservation counter, I gave up all hope of catching the train. The queue was simply too long; nevertheless I joined in, watching the time ticking away, hanging on to the slightest possibility of some miracle. The minute hand struck 7. There were still 13 more passengers in front of me. I was debating whether to take a risk and travel without ticket, or cut my losses and return home, when a commotion caught my attention. A middle-aged woman, definitely from a well-fed family, had broken the line and was standing at the front now. A few people were making efforts to remove her. This was totally unacceptable. Here I was, standing in a queue, quietly waiting for my turn, following the rules, probably was going to miss my train, and the rules meant nothing to this woman. She simply barged in. Other passengers gave up trying to remove her. But this was not right. So I went up to her. An argument took place; other passengers took no particular interest in helping me; the woman finally got her ticket and left the queue. The minute hand struck 8. There was no way I could get a ticket if I went back to my original place. So I also barged in the front place. Now the other passengers were furious. But where was their righteous anger a few seconds ago, when someone else was breaking the rules? I simply ignored everyone, held onto my place with all the determination I had, and asked for the ticket. A few seconds later I left the reservation counter victorious.What that woman did wasn’t decent or right. What I did wasn’t right either. But if I had quietly accepted my fate, I would have missed my train and wasted an entire day. If the rules are not properly enforced, they are nothing more than suggestions and it’s not just the responsibility of the authorities to enforce rules, each and every involved person has a responsibility to maintain them. If the people don’t object to something wrong, in a way, they are giving acquiescence to it. In this context, Darwin’s theory of the “Survival of the fittest” unwittingly comes to my mind; it’s ubiquitous. Even a simple reservation queue, where equality is not enforced, works on the principle of the survival of the fittest.
Long queue of a reservation counter