I was in the process of drawing cash at an ATM when I heard knocks on the door. I turned to look at the door. A young man, who had been knocking on the door, opened it slightly and, with a worried look on his face, said, “Sir, please finish your work faster. I’m in a hurry.” His words surprised me because I had not wasted any time. But I assumed he had some urgent work which was causing his impatience.
Normally, after withdrawing cash at any ATM, I put the cash into my wallet, keep my wallet in my pocket and then come out. But this time, out of concern for the young man’s urgency, I came out holding the cash in my hand.
As I was putting the cash into my wallet and keeping my wallet in my pocket, the young man was speaking on his mobile phone, looking quite relaxed. I realized he was engaged in a conversation with a friend about their plans for the weekend. His urgency seemed to have vanished into thin air!
‘Urgency’ seems to have become a way of life in India. However, the sad truth is there’s no real urgency.
Why do so many people jump traffic signals? Is it because of urgency? No. It’s probably because they’re behind schedule. Why are they behind schedule? It’s probably because they did not start their journey on time. Why didn’t they start their journey on time? It’s probably because they did not plan properly? Why didn’t they plan properly? It’s probably because they don’t care to plan!
Whenever I travel, whether by train or air, I see many people engrossed in their laptops. I used to be impressed by how these people put their travel time to productive use until, one day, I happened to notice a person playing a game on his laptop. After that, I realized that many of these people were not working, but were either playing games or watching films on their laptops! So much for productivity!
I’ve been kept waiting at shops, offices, banks, etc. by counter staff who cannot attend to their work because they’re speaking on their mobile phones. Most of the time, the conversations are not about anything urgent, but some personal matter that can wait till after office hours. Why do they do this? Simply because they can get away with it!
If the young man at the ATM, the people jumping traffic signals, the people ‘working’ on their laptops while travelling, the counter staff who keep customers waiting while they speak on their mobile phones, and all such ‘busy’ people were actually engaged in productive ‘urgency’, India should have been the world’s greatest superpower by now!