Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Be Punctual! Or at least, TRY.

I recently had to meet somebody for an interview about...this and that. First of all, this person postponed the meeting by an hour -- we were supposed to meet at 2 but at 1.30 I get the message that it would have to be an hour later. First bit of irritation.

Once I got to the meeting point, this person kept me waiting one hour and during that hour, I had to call the person twice or thrice to figure out what was happening. Finally, I just said "If you are not here in ten minutes, I am leaving." I meant it. Needless to say, this worked. Adi odhai udhavuraamaadhiri annan thambi udhava maataanga.

This person had the cheek to tell me soon after late arrival, that celebrities always kept people waiting and that people 'here' anyway don't have a sense of time. I coldly informed THE PERSON that I have had no such problems with celebrities, OR with any others because everybody's time is precious and most people know it.

Well, despite all this, it's a different matter that the interview went on smoothly after all.

The thing is, this is something that has ALWAYS bothered me -- when people are not conscious of other people's time, and not even at least TRYING to be punctual, etc. Sometimes, when even the intention is missing, it's VERY annoying.

What if?

What if I was having dinner at the Golden Dragon at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai that fateful evening? (very likely mind you, given how much I love that cuisine and the restaurant too).

What if it was I who got the shock of my life in the middle of a forkful of noodles on hearing gunshots or on suddenly seeing a terrorist with a machine gun barging in? Would I react fast? Would I chuck the fork, plate and everything else and dive for cover? Would I react fast enough to escape bullets and/or notice? Would I keep my cool? Would I even remember to take my loved ones (dining with me) with me under the table assuming I was fast and quick-thinking enough to spearhead any 'diving' operation?

Or would I gape and die with a fork in my hand and some uneaten food in my mouth? (NOT a pretty sight.Oh, am not trying to make funny of the situation. These are real thoughts.)

I thought these terrifying thoughts (even the THOUGHTS are creepy) and decided to come up with a plan. I would stay ever watchful through every single meal at every single five star hotel I visit and at the first sign of terror, I will yell 'get down' and yank my neighbours down with me. God forbid there will be no child in the vicinity. Then once under cover of hopefully the table, I will feverishly think up some plan to get out of the situation and perhaps valiantly try to help others...

Enough. I doubt that any amount of planning will ever help in certain situations. For example, we all know that certain diseases can strike us any time. Cancer springs to mind. So, will understanding the effects of the disease and treatment for it and the possible successes and failures of such treatments, (blah blah) EVER prepare me for that moment If I were to get the crushing news" "You have cancer."? I doubt it. Nothing can prepare you to condition your reaction to certain things...

A terror attack especially, is probably just that. One that causes extreme terror. Bombs, grenades, bullets, whatever. Who the hell can prepare for it?

It amazes me that people out there want to kill others with such horrific fury. But then I try chiding myself: "Hello, you are privileged. You have not experienced any extreme misery (grief of losing a loved one aside) like poverty or hunger or extreme physical / mental/emotional abuse.So you cannot even begin to judge the less fortunate who have gone astray".

True. But if a privileged soul like me does not question evil then who will? Surely not the warped-minded terrorists.

I guess I digressed again. But 2 whole days + (and still going on) of watching the relays on the informative and sometimes irresponsible TV channels has affected me quite a bit it seems.

Coming back to 'what if', I guess I don't know what I would do and definitely, I don't REALLY WANT to know, since the truth is I would hate to be in such a situation.

Still, the thoughts linger...What IF?