"Coming Late Syndrome" or "the CLS"  

Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

Last week, I was waiting for one of my friend to come at the city centre in Dundee. I was patiently waiting approximately for an hour.After some time, I went for shopping inside the Overgate mall and bought a pair of socks from the cheapest Primark store. I was roaming in the Overgate shopping mall, waiting for his call, peeping into the showrooms which had a variety of clothing, food, medical stores, book stores. I was thinking, "How great it would have been if I was the son of Bill Gates?" I would buy anything I wanted in the most costliest countries in the world, the UK. Though I didn't buy a single thing, it was a good pass time, rather than waiting for my Srilankan friend in the freezing cold outside. He also suggested me to wait inside the mall due to the shivering cold, he must have felt, till he comes and gives me a call from outside. He is a nice person, cool, calm, friendly, and felt like my elder brother.

Finally he gave me a call that he's arriving in 15 minutes and I should wait outside the Overgate mall. I came out of the mall and waited outside the gate of the Overgate. I thought that only India had the "Coming Late Syndrome" (I call it the CLS), but I was happy to see the CLS is spreading worldwide! I waited outside for half an hour more, waiting for his 15 minutes to get complete.

While waiting, I was thinking about my past experiences of waiting for someone, and I started recalling the moments I waited for my friends, clients, family members, relatives, etc. I also thought of the people whom I kept waiting for long, following the CLS. I started recalling my experiences serially - as if I was writing a CV - and some times giggled and laughed thinking of them. I was lucky there were not much people around to see me laughing alone, without any reason. I thought and thought and then thought of writing those in my blog to share it with you people.

My first experience of waiting desperately started from the school days, when I was in the 8th standard. We had bought a new Pentium 3 computer. Me, being the most impatient person in our family, removed the covers and plugged the computer pins to electric board, after assembling the monitor and CPU connectivity. I was successful! I tried to connect the speakers to hear some music installed by the dealer. It was my first time of using the windows 98 version, after using windows 3.1 version on our earlier 486 machine. It was all new for me. My mom, who had purchased the machine for her use, was out with dad for some function. I took the advantage, and to surprise my mom with my smartness, I had assembled the machine by myself. I was actually acting over smart and wasn't knowing this at all. I started the Winamp someway and was getting more curious with the enhanced and cool interface of windows 98, one would obviously feel it after using the windows 3.1 version. I wasn't much familiar with the functionality of windows, may it be 3.1 or 98. Playing games and banging the keys was my business in terms of computers. I was completely unaware of the copy, cut, paste functionality every computer has, which is widely used by the programmers today. I just selected the entire song's folder. I someway got into the explorer, dragged the folder on the Winamp's desktop icon. Unfortunately the complete songs folder was dragged into the recycle bin which was below the Winamp's icon. I wasn't aware of it as I didn't know the recycle bin and other functionalities in windows at that time, as playing games was the only function my brain used to execute if it saw a computer - My mom had made it more easy by putting the different game icons on the desktop, just double click and the game starts. No efforts to learn windows apart from starting and shutting down the machine - The recycle bin didn't have the capacity to keep the songs folder into it and it popped in with a message - " Do you want to permanently delete the folder Songs?". I didn't read the message and thought that it was one from Winamp to play the songs. I said yes and then realized, I had just put my leg on the dog's tail! I wouldn't find the song's folder anywhere on my machine also in the recycle bin. It had some valuable marathi songs which my dad had brought from his friend, from far away. He was willing to listen to it in peace when he reached home, I remembered him saying this to mom while they were leaving. I was visualizing the scoldings I was going to get from my parents, I could imagine the words and even the phrases. I knew that all the parents like to pull out studies when they start scolding, it maybe any reason. I was shivering. I thought some major problem had occurred, and I wanted to fix this any how to avoid me getting the scoldings. Already my parents had admonished me for studying till they come back. I immediately called the dealer for the songs CD which he used to install the songs. I told him the problem and asked him to send any person from his office to install the songs immediately. This was the time when I waited for the computer guy and also wished god for my parents to come late. Earlier I was waiting eagerly for my parents to arrive so that I would show them my smartness of connecting the machine and starting it successfully. Though the computer guy came after my parents, I didn't get much scoldings and the guy installed the songs again. I still feel the pain of desperately waiting for someone for a long time, and then that person arriving at the wrong time. The computer guy explained my parents with all the things I had done, in the curiosity of playing the music. I didn't play games for the next week as a punishment from my mom.

My second experience was for my best friend Viraj. This guy was a brilliant in academics and was among the most spoken students in the college, for his computer skills. The only thing I hated in him was the CLS he suffered from. He was senior to me and I was just a newbie in college. Though I was among the very loyal and honest people in the college, I didn't have specs or oily hair. It was many times when we planned any outings and waited for this brilliant guy to reach, for hours after our arrival. But this time it was the heights of height. I waited for 4 hours on the Municipal Corporation bus stop. The time was 9 am to 1 pm in the afternoon, mid of the month, May. We were supposed to go to the I2IT at Hinjewadi for a freelance project we had received. I had called him in the morning 2 hours prior the scheduled timing of the bus. Busses were frequent and we had planned to travel by the 9 am bus. He agreed to the timing and asked me to wait near the bus stand. I came around 9.15 at the bus stop and felt the regression of being late. I arrived at the planned bus stop searching for Viraj. He wasn't there. I thought that he had left, as I had come late. I called at his place, and it was to my surprise that he was still leaving his place. I assumed that there would have been some problem which was the reason of him leaving now. He said he'll arrive in 30 minutes. I thought of roaming around till he comes. I went on the nearby bridge, which was a new construction by the PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation). It was a clean and plain tar road, than the other old bridges in Pune. I bought salted peanuts from a person standing at the other end of the bridge. I moved on the other side of the bridge while finishing the nuts. While eating, I was watching the flowing river water, people washing clothes, cows and buffalos having a bath, some kiddies completing the morning good habits of cleaning their bowels, and also the industrial waste flowing in the river. It was 10.00 am, I went to the bus stop thinking that Viraj must have come. What the fuck, He isn't arrived yet? was my reaction. I called his place for the second time, from the coin box telephone nearby. It was his brother on the line and he stated, "Viraj has left and would arrive anytime!". I was getting impatient and angry. I also couldn't leave alone, as the trip to Hinjewadi was very boring without a company, and also it was our work not mine, stated my ego from inside. My ego was pushing me more into aggression. He being my senior, I didn't usually expressed my anger towards him, but now I was thinking of the ways to do it. I was totally frustrated, and still waited till it turned 11.30 am. I was hungry and went to have some food in a restaurant, in front of the bus stop. I went there and ordered the famous Misal Paav. I ate and relaxed myself from the soaring heat with the help of a cold drink. it was 12.15 pm when I left the restaurant paying the bill at the counter. He wasn't arrived yet. I waited till 1 pm loyally. He arrived around 1 pm and gave a broad smile. I was to angry and didn't speak a word with him the whole journey. This was the final way, through which I expressed my anger. I never asked him the reasons why he was so late that day. But now, Viraj being a master in computer arts, has also mastered the art of obeying time schedules he promises.

Me, Mandar and Viraj were the best friends in college. Mandar was the second sufferer of the CLS after Viraj. He never managed to come on time in his whole college life! There is no such special waiting experience about Mandar like the one of Viraj. But I want to specially describe his qualities of explanation when I used to call him to ask the status of his arrival. Most of the times Mandar would promise to come at my place in the morning usually for outings or passing the time during the weekends or vacations, but his morning would arrive in the evening. When asked for a reason, he used to tell that he was busy with his factory work(he has a fabrication and sculpture factory) and his uncle didn't leave him. Once he was coming from Talegoan some 35 kms away from Pune at a friends place, where our group had gathered. I called him to ask where he was and got an answer that he had reached Shivajinagar. But suddenly some voice was heard from the background. It was someone asking him to go safely and call after reaching. I was stunned and I hung up the phone. He arrived from his so called Shivajinagar after 2 hours. A person hardly takes 20 - 30 mins to reach the Karvenagar(the place where we gathered) place from Shivajinagar. That day not me alone, everybody was waiting for him to come. So I wasn't the only patient person in the room. Most of the times, when Mandar and Viraj came late, they used to have a good and realistic explanation which would attract anyone's trust in a second. I always suggested them to work in the Marketing team of any agency. They were always in the last stage of the CLS in the college days, and I had tried all the possible ways of treating them for this disorder, but all was in vain. Finally when we graduated, these guys changed and their CLS was vanished. Now sometimes, I go 5-10 minutes late and they arrive a few minutes before the time.

The next experience was way later in my life, it was when I planned to study abroad. I used to go for counseling in the an agency in Pune. It was the final stage of my visa application. I went in the agency for the visa counseling, filing my form and for putting the documents in a proper order. I still remember, it was a real hectic day for me. I went at the counselor's desk, tensed, anxious and worried, asking her to help me filling up my form. I was waiting for 2 hours before going at her desk, in the waiting section. This added to my anxiety and frustration. Waiting in any organizing, and for friends are two very different experiences. We can yell at friends, but we cannot yell at the counsellor or an authorized person of any organization, as we need to complete our work with their help. I calmly waited for 2 hours until I got a chance of meeting the counsellor. I started filling the form as she explained. My anxiety was disturbing her, as I could see it on her face. She asked me to calm down and write the information slowly and carefully. Applying for a visa is like applying for a CAT examination. You don't know why you were rejected! My documentation work was going on for 8 hours, and I felt like I had started working for that agency from this day. I was sitting from 11 am till 7 pm in the evening. In my journey of form filling, came a lot of people discussing their problems with the counsellor. I was asked to wait outside, two times while I was in the process, once for lunch and the second time for a guy who had come early in the morning and had some minor problems regarding his visa application. I wished to slap the guy and the counsellor who couldn't manage the appointments. I was cursing the agency management from inside. Finally the guy finished and I went back to the counselor's desk. I was more tensed, anxious, worried about the visa application than I was before. I told the counselor in a friendly but serious manner that I won't get up from here until I complete my work, even if the manager comes in between. I was sitting till the end of the day and completed all the visa formalities and the poor counselor was waiting for me to help me complete the form and documentation, though, all the staff had gone home. I felt nice for her, after I completed my visa work. I thought, we become so nice and calm from inside with people who help us, but this is only when the work is complete. Earlier I was cursing the people and management like it had the worst management in the world. This experience taught me that we need to be polite, calm and patient even if we have to wait for hours, because its our work and we need it to be done at the earliest. Complaining things to the management just wastes your time, and the counselor then takes revenge while counseling.

My next experience was, when I reached Edinburgh airport. After a hectic flight from Mumbai to London and London to Edinburgh, I arrived on the Edinburgh airport at 1.30 pm in the afternoon. I was searching for the University people, as they had scheduled a pickup service. I went at the student help service desk near the checkout gate of the airport. I enquired about the bus timings and was informed that it was scheduled at 2.30, but would arrive a bit late. I thought of freshening up and eating something to keep the trip going. I had a bottle of water and a vegetarian sandwich regardless of the massive cost it had, being on the airport. I bought the eatables and sat besides an old Scottish personality. He was friendly and cool. He helped me keep a watch over my baggage when I went for buying the eatables. "That was so nice of you, sir!" I said and sat besides him eating a chocolate and sandwich, I had bought as my supper in the lunchtime. I was thinking about the differences in the Mumbai airport and the Edinburgh airport. At the airport in Mumbai, I would see all the Indians having a chat with the people around you and make good friendships within a few minutes of chat, even exchanging contact numbers most of the times. On the other hand, what I saw on the Edinburgh airport or London airport was a total contrast. People were engaged in their own lives, they were least concerned or bothered about the person sitting next to them. They were either engaged in reading books or they were watching movies on their laptops. Hardly anyone was seen chatting or having a friendly interaction. After all, this is what I examined on the airport; each person’s perspective is different. It was 2.20 pm. I got up, shook hands with the Scottish person and waited at the student’s service center for the bus to arrive. I couldn't stop my nationality, to speak with the people around. I started having a chat with one of the girl student waiting for the same university bus for which I was waiting. I started my conversion with the already known bus timings and schedule for the pickup service. Then she asked me about my course and also revealed about hers. She told me about her course in some human psychology, which was a four-year bachelor's course, and also that she was an American. Americans are more bold and helpful than the British, I thought for a second. Getting attracted to any nice looking girl, and feeling everything in relation to her as good and nice, is a common thing among the boys, even if she's from some rare African tribe. I put her on my luggage security and went to make a call at my home and confirm my safety. Unfortunately, I was unable to call, due to some problem. While I was giving it a second try, a fat American boy came to tell me that the bus has arrived. The caring American girl, with whom I interacted for an hour sent him. It was already 3.15 when the bus arrived. I thanked him and again waited near the American girl I was chatting with. There arrived the president of international students union, who had come to receive us on the airport. He checked our names and ticked them as he asked the names of each person in the university's newbie crowd. He looked generous, with a broad smile of welcome, and calm minded. Suddenly there were wrinkles on his forehead, he asked us to wait for 15 minutes more, as 8 of the total people were missing from the spot. May be they hadn't arrived yet I thought. I was frustrated, 15 minutes felt like 15 hours, the nice feelings about the president vanished and I felt like catching his collar tight and asking him to leave us in the accommodation, and then find other people. But I knew that was not possible as it wasn't a bollywood movie scene. If it were a movie scene, then I would have certainly done the act, to impress the American girl. He was running around the airport searching for the missing people. His 15 minutes slowly increased by more 30 minutes, adding an hour at the end. His search was in vain and the lost people weren't found. We left the airport at around 4.30 in the evening, and went through the beautiful roads of UK, especially Edinburgh. The scenery was simply like a bollywood romantic song for me. They shoot the whole movie in Mumbai and go out just for a single rubbish song, which has no meaning in the complete movie. The scenery was amazing; there were plain green lands, with wooden houses far away from each other, on the big landscapes. The cows and horses were simply looking as if they were retouched on Adobe Photoshop software, and given effects like high saturation, brightness & contrast, tint, etc. They looked simply amazing. I was sitting besides an Indian personality, I realized. He was an arrogant and friendly, a typical sardar from India. We interacted with each other immediately as we sat in the bus. We shared our courses and also blamed the University for its rise in the international tuition fees. Then came the typical chat about visas, future plans, part time jobs and all. Each Indian I've met in Dundee asks me to do a part time job. I know it’s a good advice, but now I am counting the number of advices I get everyday.
The waiting experience doesn't end now. Finally, I reached the city of Dundee, and bus dropped me into the Hub apartments, in which my stay for the year was planned. I was again waiting in the waiting room watching the TV with some weird channel on. The Scottish receptionist was having a real fast accent that was absolutely not understandable, especially to an Indian like me! I tried to understand but had to say, "pardon me" a hundred times. I understood 75% of the total things he told me. I was given the contract letter, which looked more like a dissertation done by a student on, “staying in the Hub”. I read across the whole 20-page contract, trying to understand the minute details. I was so exhausted that I had to read each sentence twice to understand its meaning. I desperately needed some sleep. After reading initial 10 pages carefully, I just scanned the rest and put my signature abruptly on the contract. I paid him 250 Pounds, thinking them as 21,250 Rs. Indians in the UK always tend to convert and calculate pounds into Rupees in their initial years. Some friends tell me that this habit vanishes as you start earning the money by yourself. True, I think. I gave him the contract and asked for the keys. He was still unwilling to give me the keys and asked me to give me any UK based guarantor's address. He asked as if I have all my relatives and family members from the UK. I asked him to give me some time so that I can contact some of my local UK friends to solve the problem. He asked me to wait in the waiting room again as he was completing some other formalities. I was frustrated, nervous, homesick, sleepy and a lot more exhausted. I stood up near the reception counter and asked him to complete the formalities faster. I was very firm and arrogant this time. He was quick too. He immediately prepared the agreement and took my signature. Then he gave me the details of the room equipments and other forms to fill sitting in the room. I was then given the keys and shown the way to my room. I felt like I was heading towards a heavenly gate, walking through clouds, and a very soft and warm bed, having the most finest cotton in the universe, in it, fabricated in gold, was waiting for me. I came in my heavenly room, had a wash and slept like the character of Kumbhakarna of the great mythological epic, the Ramayana. I reached my room at 8.00 pm, slept at 9.00, and woke up at 2 in the afternoon, the next day.

The Srilankan friend met me after an hour at the Overgate’s gate. We exchanged some sorry, and no problem, and went ahead with our next plan to go in the Tesco for shopping.

I just saw "A Wednesday"...  

Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

I just watched the recent bollywood film "a Wednesday". I liked the movie too much. It is a practical movie of a frustrated common man in Mumbai, who plans to finish the terrorism by himself. Please do watch this movie. Its an amazing piece of direction, hats off for the director!

Please put me your comments when you watch this movie...!

Best advertisement ever  

Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

Best video  

Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

The day I started this blog...  

Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

Today, 29th September 2008 is the day of writing something in my blog. This is a great experience to start with blogging. It really changed my view towards the internet.