I was not intimidated on hearing queues for I have plenty of experience in this department. I have waited patiently in serpentine queues in front the booking counters of all the major cinemas in all the places I have lived. Ten years back, I have also waited in front of the US consulate before the break of dawn. On the day before appearing in front of the US consulate for stamping my H1 visa, the HR executive had briefed me. During the briefing, he emphasized on getting there as early as possible. 3 am in the morning was too late for him! But, I reached there after 4:30 am! A person who has gone through such varied experiences is not daunted by queues.
I was not intending to watch a movie or get a new visa. I was only going to get an application for my daughter to enroll her in kindergarten. So, why all this elaborate preparations? But my friend insisted on it! The school is famous for academics. The parents in Bangalore kill for an admission in this school. Last year, the school stopped issuing admission forms after couple of days! On top of it, the school also stopped stopped accepting completed admission forms after getting a stupendous response. So the key is to get the admission forms fast, complete it fast and drop it back fast.
In spite of all these warnings, I reached the school at 8:45 am! I saw the tail end of the queue as I approached the school. The school is a massive building surrounded by high walls. The queue extended outside the school alongside the walls onto the pedestrian pathway. While occupying my position at the tail end, I searched for the school gate. It was not visible from my vantage point. This is like the numerous queues I have been a part of! In order to kill boredom, I started watching other people and also to eavesdrop on conversations.
- There was a family in front of me with two children standing in the sun. The children were getting restless. The mom was trying hard to comfort them.
- A couple was discussing the age of their son. In order to enroll children, the school mandates the child to be aged 4 on June 2010. But their child was only going to be 3 years and 10 months. There were worried about their child will be starting academics one year too late versus 2 months too early!
- A father received a call from his office. He was supposed to attend a meeting. But he is held up in the queue. He convinced his colleague that he was not a mandatory participant for the design review meeting and the rest of them can go ahead without him!
- A pregnant mother waiting patiently in the scorching heat watching her son walking around the place.
- A father narrating the bad experience when he tried transferring his daughter into this school. He ended the story with a sigh, “They are the best! So, they can do it and people will still wait in long queues!”. He was on the verge of cursing his fate!
- A father loudly complaining about this process. He wants this automated through the internet. This will save everyone’s time!
The school selects around 50 children and the selection criteria is really weird. There preferences are siblings of existing students, children of their staff, children of central government employees, children of returning expatriates and then the general category! The same management runs more than 2 schools that are spread across Bangalore. The scene in front of any one of these schools are the same!
Finally, I did get the admission forms from two of the schools run by the same management. Even though the seats are limited, I did not want to take a chance! I’m increasing the probability of selection by taking the admission forms from two places. The fact that I belong to the general category and has very slim chances of getting my daughter selected into the school did not deter me!
In order to get the admission forms, I devoted two of my mornings. On each day, I went in at 8:45 am and got the form by 11 am. On the second day, after accomplishing the mission, I called my wife up and told her the news. Having a penchant for drama, I exaggerated the events. After listening to my narration, she calmly replied, “Good Job! Your daughter is going to be very proud of you - her sun tanned dad!”. Huh?
Picture Courtesy: http://www.tribuneindia.com/