Last week was the annual day at my daughter's school.My daughter was a participant in a fusion song which was being performed at the function.It was going to be a dance on the fusion song- many Hindi film songs were going to be sung one after another .The children were to change steps accordingly.
The function was scheduled to start at six in the evening.All the participants had been told to report at five-one hour before the program.By the time,I managed to get myself & my kid out of the house,we were late.My kid had dressed herself & also applied her own make up .She trusts herself more than me in all these things.We reached the venue at around half past five.Many children had arrived with parents in tow.Some were late just like us. My daughter joined other co -participants in a ,classroom & I went to join a friend who had come before -in time.We sat on chairs like all other parents waiting for the program to begin.
We took turns to get up & go & enquire if the kids needed water & eatables.The school gave snacks in packets for participants.The kids just handed the packets to us as they were nervous to eat them before performance.
We looked at our watches.It was half past six & there was no sign of the chief guest.Slowly but surely,the sun had set & still, there was no chief guest.By now,the kids had emptied half of the snacks & an equal amount of water.They also had visited toilets -very reluctantly -taking care to see that their costumes did not get soiled in the toilets.
It was half past seven & we could sense that the Chief guest had finally arrived with many others following him.All heaved a sigh of relief.There was a prayer dance as the first performance & then there were boring speeches praising the Chief guests,their wives -in fact, their entire retinue, sorry ,entourage for arriving late ,nah for having arrived !
I & my friend were thinking aloud about the youngest kids who were to perform at the venue-they are just six years old.They must be so uncomfortable -in their costumes,having donned them more than two hours ago .But our guests of honour had no qualms about making children wait .
Some years back,some children had fainted whilst waiting for a Chief Minister in north India but no lessons have been learnt as yet.Maybe a death or a major tragedy might open eyes.That may also not lead to anything except a lot of noise with a repetition again after some time.
Chief guests,VIPs et al seem to opine that unless they arrive late,their importance will somehow banish .That by their untimely arrival ,their audience would vanish never crosses their minds ! VIPs will arrive at IST-Indian Strectchable Time -the streching depends on the importance of the person.More important the person,more time will be streched by the time ,the VIP makes an appearance if at all that is.At times,they never show up.
The guests of honor would have us believe that they are so busy that they find it difficult ,almost impossible, to attend to mundane matters like Annual days ,inaugurations,meetings etc.If that is so,why agree to attend sorry be the centre of attention at such events ? But they will always try to crowd their appointments like this & delay everything possible.The aam janta in fact, have no time -they somehow mange to squeeze in time for functions as they are sincere in all relations -they attend school functions,attend other ceremonies etc all in time.It is not that they have 48 hours in their day & our VIPs have only 12 hours at their disposal.In fact,for VIPs life is much more easy as their presence or name suffices to get a lot of work done for them.As against this,the common person has to struggle to establish proof of existence at an election booth ,at office, at the bank -in fact at every place.
Cutting back to the school,the Chief guest at the Annual day apologized & said that he had arrived only half an hour late .Now,this was yet another shock for all of us ! The chief guest seemed to state that half an hour late is a small price to be paid for having him as the Chief guest ! Really,how pretentious can anybody get ? Some people -in fact all VIPs have this impression about the importance they enjoy.They flaunt it as a license to demand respect.They can never command respect anyway .So,the Chief Guest was trying to brainwash us all into believing that half an hour late was better in some degrees.
The entire group sitting with the Chief guest were being endlessly served tea,snacks, fruits & they seemed to be devouring it all.I failed to understand as to how any person beyond 50 years could eat everything .Mostpeople who get to be Chief guests do so in their advancing years when lot of health problems have already set in.Yes,in this case also the VIP was above 50.Even his group members were of the same age group.
The function ended at around midnight but the cronies of Chief Guest had already left much before that.The vote of thanks was also accommodated in the middle of the performances to suit this exit.The next day was declared a holiday as " the kids had worked hard & deserved a respite ."I understood it to mean that the Chief Guest had felt guilty & this was his way of making up.But ,I am sure, all of you would opine that what we all need is a respite from the numerous & various guests of honour to get on with our routine- well in time !