Pees and queues: When you travel faster and faster but mostly remain in the same place – Jug Suraiya


I often wonder why travel is called travel.

Travel suggests movement, of getting from Point A to Point B. And in this day and age of bullet trains and jet planes, getting from Point A to Point B should become faster and faster.

But in actual fact, the longer and further afield you travel you find yourself remaining in the same place for lengthy periods of time, with very little, if any discernible movement.

The reason for this stationary state of things is the queue. The queue is a living testament to the philosophical observation that movement creates obstacles. The desire for movement which is called travel creates the obstacle of the queue.

If you go to foreign lands, you first have to stand in the emigration queue at the airport. Then comes the queue for security check.

When you get to your destination you have to stand in line at immigration. When you exit the airport you have to queue for a bus, or taxi to take you to your hotel.

When you go to see all the marvelous sights you’ve travelled all this way to see you’ll encounter huge hordes of people who’ve also come to see these very same sights as you, and have turned up to do so before you and have formed an interminably long line ahead of you.

It doesn’t matter what sight you’ve come see – the Louvre in Paris, the Vatican in Rome, Madame Tussauds in London, or our very own Taj Mahal in Agra. There will invariably, and inevitably, be a horrendous queue between you and it. Not to mention the queues for the toilets you have to use to pee, and which are always in short supply at such places.

By the time you’ve finished with all this queuing you’ll be too tired to properly see the sight you’ve come to see and just want to go home and put up your aching feet.

Which brings you the best form of travel: armchair travel, which is what you’ve been doing by reading this.

(The writer is a former associate editor of the Times of India. [Courtesy: ToI])