“ How long are we to keep on walking?”
“ I have no idea either. Its taking forever isn’t it? Perhaps he will know...” replied Nancy frowning at the innocent scorching sun and hurrying towards a girl who was hastening as though she was about to miss her flight.
“Oh my goodness, its already 11:20 a.m! “, I screamed.
“We better hurry then.” Nancy followed my tone.
Taking notice of some students heading towards a block where a horde of people where rushing in and out of a building’s gate.
“This must be it!” I sigh with a unconvinced alleviated tone.
Seeking help from the guards present outside the gate Nancy walked up to confirm our destination.
She made a grimace of avenging terror as she returns with her answer,
“Why do we look like a fool? I mean I literally feel like a fool at this particular moment...”
“Why? what’s wrong? “ , I interrupted with a curious stare.
“Where do you think we are?”
“University Headquarter?”, I replied rather confused and annoyed.
“ We have reached and we are very late my friend. I doubt we will have any chances of getting our work done today itself.” She responded as she hurriedly drags me by my wrist and continued,
“I hope the queue won’t be long...”
We both made a hasty not so attractive runway towards a small entrance where it felt like a group of people were waiting for a celebrity’s autograph thronged in a manner where for instance if I happen to wear a new Balenciaga, I would only survive the queue with a five years old worn out Balenciaga later.
Lo and Behold!!
For a minute,we both stood there in amazement with a wondrous hopeless gaze glancing over the 40% of Manipur University students standing in high hopes that they will be able to take their examination forms in manner where it already is pictured as ‘chaotic’ in my head.
Thankfully we managed to get to the other end of the “office counter “ more like that of Manipur Misao Gas’ compound located by the roadside at Chingmeirong. Well I was pretty sure of my assumption that there is no such difference between standing in queue for Gas Booking and standing in queue for examination form at Manipur University.
“Joyce, do you happen to see any probability where we can ... oh! look who is there?”,
She paused as she swallowed her sentence and lended me her gaze towards a girl who looks too similar to simply ignore in a glance.
“Isn’t that the girl to whom we asked for this location? I mean I thought I saw her wrong at first but how come she is already there in the submission queue. Didn’t she say she wasn’t sure about the administrative block before? I mean isn’t that a brick slap on both of our faces?”
Nancy explained our surprise encounter with a blank expression of detest.
“Yes, it’s her. Perhaps she might have thought that we will over run her for the queue. what’s the point in getting mad anyways...( fake laugh )I guess some people are even selfish and competitive when it comes to a queue. Well that’s new though.”
“I wouldn’t stoop down to that level,though its entirely the University’s fault. I mean look at the University , I never thought that the administrative block will be in such a pathetic condition because initially all my admission and other works were done by my cousin and I had no clue that the Administrative block is itself in such a disarrayed condition.”
She continued as we both stare helplessly into two small counter thronged by four long vertical columns of students,two in each counter categoriesed as male and female on each side.
“Unbelievable!! such a huge University,say,the only State University affiliated to the Centre has only two counter in the administrative block? Wo this is beyond my tolerance!”
“Its true and the fact that the University cannot provide proper staffs and proper counter for such a vast number of students inspite of it being a central University is rather infuriating for many students like us. Why can’t the students body complain about it? My sister always told me that promises made before elections for this particular situation has never been fulfilled even during her time of year in the University either.”,
I summed up her sentence as we both made our exit from the office campus looking at more students walking into the counter section.
“Do they even know its about 2 p.m now? “ Nancy blurted out in certainty feeling hopeless even if it means we have to stay longer back there in the office counter.
“Aha...supposedly what if it’s the last date today and the students had to submit their forms by hook or by crook, perhaps maybe of some personal unavoidable reasons they couldn’t during the given period, we never know. What if cases like that happens and they had to close the office early. Eventually the students have to suffer the consequences of paying late fines not because they couldn’t submit it,but because the queue was too long...”, I hinted with serious note only to the fact that it was just the two of us who were deliberating over a matter which is quite impracticable to even imagine for the both of us.
“I guess we have to miss our first class in order to get the forms at the earliest tomorrow.”
“This is so sad,i mean where did the funds of enacting development for the University flow into? its like Oscar Wilde in his novel The picture of Dorian Gray (1890)saying, “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
Nancy sighed in disappointment and we headed for class.
“...just 10 more minutes and I will be there,you take the chances without wasting much time now eh!”
“Alright! take your time meanwhile I’ll move ahead and stand in the queue because we have both witnessed the situation yesterday right?” cackled Nancy over the phone as I daze outside of the auto where for a moment ago it had escaped a deathly traffic then speeding passed Singjamei.
“Oh why am i not surprised you are still behind despite the fact you came early? “
I exclaimed heedlesly loud enough to wake up a Koala,panting my way between two immovable partners who were already standing before her.
“excuse me! that’s my place you are standing on”. said a girl rushing towards me in response to my desperate actions to stand in front of Nancy.
“Oh, perhaps your ghost stood here...i apologize i didn’t take notice of its presence.” I replied sarcastically intending to hit on her attitude with a simulated smile.
Thirty two minutes passed and just four more person in front of us and our first mission would hence be accomplished.
“Wait! why is there a mini branch of line in front the counter? I thought queues are supposedly meant to be straight.” I hinted Nancy accompanying my glance to some students hurdling at the mouth of the counter with a rather guilty eyes yet playing the part of some innocent characters in a drama. While also sympathising the people behind us who is as eager as us to get their forms in respect of following the sequence of the queue.
The heart has its reason,every right of reasons to feel guilty when our actions tricked our mind into believing that something wrong is right and that we deserve to be treated in a manner we want ourselves to be treated as.It delivers the feeling that it is doing the right thing for how our actions compelled our minds into thinking we are right. We feel ashamed. yet faced the shameful consequences for our own selfish satisfaction and ambition by leaving aside the likes and approvaI of other people.
Are we aware of our misconduct and misbehaviour within the social norms? Yes! we definitely are. But I have no complaints about it, it happens involuntarily or maybe we are just too scared to correct the fault of others because we sometimes commit faults too. Its like John Steinbeck quoting from his novel Of Mice and Men(1937), “ Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.” Yes! I feel everyone of us is scared to speak out the truth either because we are being horribly aware of the side effects of stating the social truth overlooking the positive results it will consequently lead to.
Its rather uncomfortable knowing that we are made to feel a dominant presence within our capacity of individualistic freedom which initiate our activities and thoughts , a specific Big Brother ambience that seems to watch our every moves. This state of feeling controlled and threatened by another superior power restraint us from our freedom of speech not in a way that it should be insulting or offensive or disrespectful in any manner. And the fact that the human mind is unconsciously conscious about the subconscious behaviour which is liberated within the space of a universal truth, a lot of us tend to ignore the truth in order to escape the fault of life’s sequence that comes along with backlashes and social disciplines.
The age between 23-30 is said to be the significant age of learning social behaviour and the stage of going into maturity. Its doubtful when our proliferating brain cells sends message to the other parts of our body cells to act accordingly within the stage of maturity, we refuse to embrace the reality which we scanned through our eyes. We know the truth, we know what is to be done,we know that people will be offended by our actions in particular situation,we are aware of the various aspects of behavioural crisis in social disciplines.
But we do not,most of us do not pertain to our own social stand where our moral conscience direct us to. We are our own captive, we are our own enemy, we are in a battle with our own state of conviction, unable to generalise and balance our mental psyche which may result to imbalances in our judgements. As a matter of fact our brain easily adapts to the emotions and other series of activities developing in and around our conscious state into deceiving ourselves about the believed truth in life.
When people lack the aspect of civility in their lives they too will lack the restraints and barriers it has on one’s inner evil. Civility,in essence,provides the basic structure for good. Through laws, structure,and general order, goodness then,for the most part will be the end product. Therefore a lack of civility would result in a lack of order,morals,and laws, leaving chaos to over power.
“I thought we are University students now.” remarked Nancy metaphorically implying to the unprogressive paralyzed queue of students helplessly enduring their individual tolerance on challenges that exams delivers outside the Administrative Block’s counter of Manipur University.
The writer is a student of Department of English and Cultural Studies, Manipur University and can be reached at [email protected]