Crowds

A crowd is a gathering of many people in a place of limited size, such as in a hall, a supermarket or a town square. In a crowd, the movement of a person is restricted. He or she cannot move freely and may often have to take action to avoid collision with another person.

I have been in many types of crowds before and I have to say that the experience is not pleasant. Though a crowd can be bearable, most of the time it is uncomfortable to be in one and I get out as quickly as possible.

Once I had the misfortune of going to a popular supermarket when it was having a sale on. I did not know that until I reached the place. All I wanted to buy was some mosquito coils and some sweets. When I arrived there, I was shocked to see the place packed with people. Nevertheless, as I had come quite a distance by bus, I decided to join in the crowd to see what was inside the supermarket that attracted the people so.

That was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. The moment I squeezed into the crowd at the entrance, I was swept into the supermarket by the sheer wave of eager people. There were all sorts of people here. Young and old, men, women and children were all gripped by the 70% discount fever that was plastered all over the place.

I had intended to go to the confectionery section but I was pushed against my will towards the clothes section. That was where most of the action was taking place. The clothes were on sale. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw respectable-looking adults involved in what looked like a gold-rush. They were literally tearing at the clothes. No quarter was given or asked. It was madness. I could see how people could behave when they stood to gain from something. Manners, courtesy and shyness were all thrown aside as they grabbed the dirt-cheap clothes.

After some struggle I managed to free myself. However it was no different in other sections. I had to fight my way through the throng to get what I wanted. Then I had to wait in line at the checkout counter, which was the only orderly place in the entire supermarket, for a long time to pay for what I got. After paying it was another struggle to get to the exit. Finally outside the supermarket, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I swore that I would never join in such a mad crowd again.

Another crowd that is unpleasant is the going-home crowd in the bus station every evening. As night approaches everyone is eager to get home and that is when people can become impatient and unruly. Young and old jostle with each other to get on the bus. The conductors yell out obscenities but no one takes any notice. All each person wants is to go home, regardless of others. So everyone rushes. If one does not then one has to wait for the last bus.

There are other crowds like those in stadiums, processions and other social activities that involve many people. Not all are unruly. This is so as long as there is no disturbance. A crowd, however, has the tendency of turning into a mob if there is excitation, as evident in football matches. I shy away from such dangerous emotions. A crowd is definitely not my cup of tea.

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