Waiting Room

There was a time – not so long ago – when a waiting room was meant to be just that, a place where one waits. It was never made clear as to what one is waiting for or how long one must wait. All one had to do was to park oneself on any of the uncomfortable benches arranged symmetrically in the room, pick some outdated magazines and read them if one is bored, or stare at a TV screen tuned to a channel that no one ever watches.

In such a situation, waiting seemed to be the most sensible thing to do, or rather, the only thing to do.

It was a situation that, undoubtedly and I’m sure accidentally, produced scholars and philosophers who would never have found their life’s purpose if it wasn’t for these waiting rooms.

Imagine being confined to a room that demands nothing from you except that you wait… for whatever it is you are supposed to wait for. I’m sure it summoned up strengths that one never imagined one possessed because, well, what else can one do? Ideas, thoughts, theories were just darting across the room like flies and all one had to do was tap into them, that’s all.

Of course, no one likes to wait because human nature wants quick and easy resolution. Or rather, that’s what we imagine human nature wants since that is how our world-view is shaped by the sultans of the rat race.

The persistently impatient, however, have no time for philosophising on the merits of the waiting game. This group, of which I happen to be a member, believes that point A must leap-frog to point B, point C, point D and so on and so forth. There has to be logic and symmetry to ever cause and reaction.

Things have to move in a progressive order, and preferably, in a linear fashion. Lateral progressions, or even ones that take a circuitous route are cute, and worth talking about over cups of coffee any day. But to see that approach bulldoze its way into our life-decisions is something most of us like to avoid. It is not comfortable. It is not easy. It is just beyond the paradigms we are familiar with. It just demands us to sit and… think.

Now that’s a road most of us pay lip service to because we don’t like to imagine what might transpire when we actually sit down and think. Suppose we come eyeball to eyeball with our worst fears? Suppose we are forced to deal with issues that have scarred our mental make-up? Suppose we are made to remember the things we like to forget?

Questions that somehow make their presence felt, and it takes either nerves of steel or mustard-seed type of faith to stare into this whirlwind and emerge with some answers, of sorts. It’s hard, but necessary, and like all things essential… crucial to our eventual growth.

But for that to happen, one has to wait, wait and wait.

It is not a coincidence that this piece was written in Sharjah International Airport where I was waiting six hours for my connecting flight to Mumbai. I have to add that this philosophical pondering were forced upon because there is no proper seating arrangement and absolutely no Internet facility in this ‘international’ airport… none whatsoever. I will rant about this in some other post, but let me say this on record: “Sharjah Airport, please get serious.” That feels a whole lot better.


Anonymous said…
Hey Ashish, wanted to comment on your previous post too but somehow it didn't work. Well what I wanted to say about your ongoing inner dialog about which place to call home - methinks in this global village we live in, there is no need to define home or even to live and feel allegiance only to your place of birth......as for waiting, I hate that waiting game but must admit some of my best thoughts have occurred when I have been forced to WAIT. Manju

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