Time consciousness is a trait that gets imbibed in our character as a byproduct of honesty, truthfulness and discipline. There is a very small population in our planet that has inculcated this mannerism in their day to day activities. It is not a text bookish kind of property like honesty, integrity etc., and hence people feel, does not impact them directly. Many organizations too display this property proudly as part of their value system, but hardly is it followed to its fullest. In many countries it has be inculcated in their routine affairs in such a way that people, by default follow the time schedules.
It is also said that, time is money. Many of us do not believe this and many do not qualify to even attempt the correctness of the statement. But the fact is that time can readily be converted into money, sometimes as liquidated as cash and sometimes it pays back (or takes back) the money. Hence it is pertinent that each and every individual need to respect the value of time, try to stick to the schedules, appointments, meetings, rallies etc. so that its aftereffects are not felt. If a meeting is scheduled at 9 AM then it has to be 0900 AM on dot. Any construction work to be completed in 65 days, then it cannot exceed even a day more. A rally to be addressed at 2 PM, then it has to be 1400 hrs sharp. Even for justice to be delivered there has to be a time limit to it, as they say that justice delayed is justice denied. Though slippage for none of these activities affect the individuals in terms of financial loss, but they all are convertible. Just think carefully and you will find, the cost involved in delaying any of the activities mentioned above.
Similar thoughts were transfused in my nervous system too. From childhood onwards, parent start teaching their kids to value the time, unfortunately, most of us do not pay heed to it. School time, college time, exam time, train time, bus time, movie time and many such occasions daily test our time consciousness and we either miserably fail or somehow pass in those tests. Can’t we follow the clock correctly without being kicked on the back?
First such lesson which the events had taught me was around six months ago. I was suppose to travel in the much revered ‘Rajdhani Express’ train. The distance to the railway station was almost 22 km so I started with a decent margin. My ride was smooth till only 3 – 4 km. And then, we got into the (in)famous traffic jam of Bangalore. And then, the ‘cab crawling’ started. I wished I could fly and jump the crowd. It continued so at every traffic signal and with every traffic jam I had my heart beats rising one point higher. Somehow, I managed to reach station five minutes before the scheduled departure. I hired a porter and ran towards the platform.
But, the train was too selfish to wait for me. In a country where the departure or arrival of a train in time is the eighth wonder, my train left the platform at exactly on the dot. And when I reached the platform, I saw the blinking red light teasing me from the back of the last coach. I could hardly do anything than sitting on the bench with hands on the head. My under estimation of time and over confidence had cost me the train as well as the flight ticket that I was forced to purchase to maintain my schedules. If at all I had 15 minutes extra, I could have saved Rs. 9k. That means the value of that time was 10 bucks per second. Gone in 15 minutes! An amount much higher than the salary of a multinational company’s CEO!
The second lesson was still more costly. I had an IndiGo flight and they say that for domestic travel the boarding gates close 45 minutes prior to the departure time. I estimated the traffic and the distance to the airport and started well before the scheduled time. Again the traffic played the spoilsport. With all ups and downs, I reached the airport just half an hour before the scheduled departure of the flight. I entered the airport and rushed to the boarding pass counter. They said that the counter was closed and asked me to contact the manager if anything can be done. The manager was busy with his beautiful colleague on a desk. I ran towards him with my mouth dry but he was quite cool. He took many seconds to understand the matter, looked at his wrist watch and replied, “You are late, Sir!”
“I know I am late, still there are twenty five minutes for the departure. Can you please check?” I pleaded.
He reluctantly came out of his comfort zone, went to a system, hit the keyboard few times and replied, ‘The counter is closed for this flight and the boarding has also started.”
“I know that! Can you do something to issue a boarding pass for me? I can still make up to the plane.”
“Sorry sir, the rules do not allow me to do so. Please check for another fight!”
“Please help me. This is festive season and I may not get any seat to travel.”
“I am sorry sir! If I issue the boarding pass, you may get stuck at the security check up counters. It is of no use. Please understand!” and he walked towards his comfort zone.
I was too irritated. Such an irresponsive and rude behavior from a customer driven company? I knew that the airport security staff always gives preference to the passengers whose are late for their flights. They are indeed helpful, but how do I get the boarding pass?
I sat helplessly with hands on my head and eyes on my watch which still showed 15 minutes left for the departure of my plane. One small effort from that manager would have made my day. With frustration in my eyes, I saw the manager enjoying his bit of life.
But it was my fault too. I should have come 15 more minutes early.
Now, there were absolutely no chances. I headed towards the ticket counters. None of the airlines had the seats available. Only IndiGo had few seats left for a morning flight which was after 10 hours. With no options left I asked for the ticket. It was for Rs. 21K!
“Oh my Goodness! Is this the price I need to pay for my small mistake?”
With tons of frustration I purchased the ticket. I looked at the manager sitting far in his party zone and enjoying his life with my tearful eyes.
He should be happy anyways. He had given a straight profit to his airlines amounting for 21k bucks! I am the loser. I didn’t respect the time so the time has given me this tight slap. Each second has cost me 24 bucks. 21K gone in 15 minutes?
Money is not everything but I made a resolution that day that I will give due respect to time, always take an extra margin, and try to be on the dot, always!