We all know that 2 - minute Maggi is the biggest hoax we've lived through, even though it's the best thing in the world. But it isn't just our instant noodles that arrive later than promised, it's also our people. Maybe Indian Standard Time just means being late.
We always seem to be late for everything - weddings, appointments, hangouts or movies. You will always see a scattered crowd of people making their way in with no shame whatsoever. Keeping all those images in mind, it's a little difficult to understand why Indians are so late to everything.
Is India simply just time-insensitive or is it something else? Let's look at all the reasons why Indians are "late latifs."
Important People Arrive Late
Apparently, the belief that important people arrive later than the rest is acceptable as a reason to be late. Every Indian has heard this phrase at least once, but does it make sense?
No matter how important you are, being late is simply just annoying. Everyone appreciates a punctual person, and no one is thinking "important" when you arrive late. I'm sure your boss isn't going to give you any perks for being late because you think you're important.
Traffic, Travel And Misfortune
It's true that India has the worst traffic in the world, and sometimes traffic consumes all our time. But, every Indian knows this, which means they can anticipate the traffic, which further means they know they should leave earlier which then means that traffic isn't really an excuse. I take the same route to office every day and I leave the house, keeping in account all the traffic that's going to hinder my punctuality.
Then there's the fact that cabs and rickshaws don't always take you where you want to go, but again, you knew that. Should've left earlier. It's terrible that you have to give up on a bit of sleep or leave the house a little too soon, but getting to a place on time was part of your commitment, follow through!
Indian Standard Time Or Indian Stretchable Time?
This one is most likely to be the real reason why Indians are so late. We usually don't care about making another person wait because we get caught up in our own troubles, worries and problems - with travel, traffic, or otherwise.
We also tend to use the "important people arrive late" mentality, quite wrongly at that. But most of all, Indians don't seem to have any concern about being late in itself. We step out of the house whenever we like, and then we reach whenever we like. It's so common that most people, outside India, refer to IST (Indian Standard Time) as Indian Strechable Time. (great rep, guys.)
Most of all, it's so common to assume that everyone will be late that we tend to forget being on time is important. Basically, Indians are probably the worst timekeepers because we are extremely time insensitive.
Indians Tell Us What They Think
"I really don't know, but I'm always late. I don't think there's a particular reason but things just kind of keep coming up. My uber cancels on me, or I take too long getting dressed, or there's too much traffic, the list goes on. Even if I wake up on time, leave on time something always comes up. It's either bad luck or my disorganization." Latika, 24, Student.
"I'm always on time, It's not that hard if you just plan your day properly. I leave on time, I make it on time. I account for traffic, showers, and any other probable disruptions. It's really embarrassing for me to reach late, I feel too guilty so I make it a point to reach on time. Everyone should feel like that, making another person wait is really rude. But in India, everyone is always late and I think it's because they don't really care, they'll apologize and forget about it. It's very frustrating." Ajay, 32, Engineer.
"Is there any place Indians reach on time? I don't think so. There's such a laid back attitude about time its stressful. But when it's time to catch a flight, everyone shows up at the airport 7 hours early. I don't get it. You can clearly be on time but you choose not to. What's the logic? I think there's just no concern for the other person time, but if you have to wait for someone - you get impatient. It's really stupid." Pranav, 24, Student.