Saturday, September 30, 2006

A small incident

During the Durgapuja many organisers arrange for bhog, a public lunch sometimes free, sometimes paid. Simple khichdi and a typical mixed curry with some fries and payes. Simple but delicious food. I went to a Puja in Pune as a guest of a friend of mine who is a member of the organising committee. As the lunchtime neared crowd started pouring in. And the big hall room seemed to congested. Somehow, we managed a place in the first batch as we were the guest of a member! We normally don't use spoons for eating this kind of dishes. But habit of civilized society hasbeen so deeply engraved in some people's mind. They have brought their spoons and bottles of mineral water with them. The organisers start distributing food. We were hungry, the food was delicious and steamy. The typical homely and decent atmosphere of Puja. Almost hundred people were sitting in this batch. Gradually the menu comes to an end. The sweet dish payes is being distributed, when I started spotting another row of people are taking their place behind each of ours chairs. They are booking their seat in the next batch. It feels awkward. Somebody is waiting at your back to finish your meal! But in a public lunch place this is usual.
But then the problem starts. Some volunteers say they have already booked the places and whosoever is booking by standing behind a chair is not permitted to sit there. The sits are to be alloted by the volunteers. The environment starts heating up. Nobody is ready to give up. Nobody has time to wait, its a competitive world - nobody can wait and see their peers are getting serviced before them. The quarrel starts. Young volunteers on the power of their youth starts misbehaving the the elders who were standing behind chairs. Organisers try to control the mob. Everyone becomes agitated; and as usual agitated Bengali never speaks in Bengali - exchange of English and Hindi hot words is started. The soothing homely atmosphere is completely vanished now. I manage to finish my meal and come out struggling to the open place.
So impatient we have become ...
"It makes me want to run out and tell them
They've got time.
Take a step back out and warn them
I've found out I've got time... "

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