Being Punctual – Is It Important ?

Krishnan is still upset !!! Krishnan’s punctuality is famous within the family and at work. For him being punctual is a core value. Am equally notorious for sending people back home from training programs when they arrive late.

We had a meeting in Jasola with one of ShikshaDaan’s sponsors on May 26, 2023. Since it was some distance away, we decided to leave at 9 am for the 10.30 am meeting. Google maps showed that it will take an hour to reach the office. We felt happy that we had an extra half hour cushion.

There was hardly any traffic from Gurgaon to Manav Rachna university and we felt happy that we will be on time. The first sign of trouble happened near the Anangpur Chowk. We took the right turn to take the shortcut towards the Faridabad highway using the underpass. There were vehicles turning back because the underpass was flooded.

It had rained the previous evening and that seems to have flooded the underpass. We turned back and then followed the Google maps’ instruction to join the Faridabad highway.

True disaster struck just when we turned into the highway….. there was a massive traffic jam. Initially Google maps showed us the expected time of arrival at the sponsor’s office as 10.35 am.We tried to relax saying its just 5 minutes late and we can inform in advance. As the jam thickened (pun intended), I could sense Krishnan’s discomfiture rising.

I immediately called Ritika at the sponsor’s office to say we are getting delayed by 15 minutes. I also told her that were happy to start the call on Zoom as we were sitting in traffic. Ritika felt it was better to do the meeting in person.

We were literally on pins and needles as the taxi moved inch by inch. The driver was new to Delhi and that added to our woes. The taxi was low on fuel, so we had to stop for a few minutes to refuel as well :(.

Being Punctual - Chegg
We just had less than 6 kms to go and Google maps said 29 minutes :(:(

We finally reached the sponsor’s office a full 40 minutes late for the meeting. Krishnan’s core value of being punctual was not fulfilled and obviously he is still upset. We did apologise profusely and the sponsor’s team were not miffed, but Krishnan and I were very upset. We have never been late for meetings. The only saving grace was that we did offer to start the meeting in time using Zoom so at least the option was available.

Is it important to be punctual ?

Heck yes !!!! Being punctual shows you respect the other person’s time. Delhi NCR is notorious for people being late. When we shifted to Delhi in 1997, Krishnan nearly had a fight with a friend for being an hour late for dinner.

There is a funny incident from 1998 when we reached a wedding venue and there was hardly a soul there. We checked the invite a few times. Clearly, we were 10 minutes ahead of the time printed on the invite!!! When we finally found a public phone (this is the pre-cellphone era) and called a common friend, we realised that the joke was on us. Weddings in Delhi wouldn’t start on time apparently. For South Indians like us, that was unheard of.

We see an unfortunate trend developing which is to be 5 to 7 minutes late to every meeting. I have several mentoring calls and other meetings – many times, the person is 5 mins late. Rarely we have someone coming 5 mins early.

One of the mentees studying at a prestigious B-School didn’t turn up 10 minutes into the call. I disconnected the call. He told me a full 45 minutes later, that he was stuck in another meeting and couldn’t join the call. I wondered if he would have been on time if this call had been paid for mentoring :(. What if it was a call with a potential employer ?

Being Punctual

Would you hire someone who comes late for an interview ? I wouldn’t …. unless I was informed in advance. There are all sorts of challenges one faces and sometimes, you can’t reach on time, but everyone today can inform. Nearly everyone has a cell phone and sending a message doesn’t cost time or money.

Being 45 minutes late and not informing shows poorly on the person’s leadership abilities. It will also dent his success, unless that attitude changes.

Punctuality and Work Ethic

I loved this quote from Nicole Kidman. Coming from an artist its even more important. We have successful actors like Amitabh Bachchan and the late Sivaji Ganesan being punctual even when the film industry was notorious for stars coming in “days” not hours late.

Being Punctual

We were watching the Republic TV Conclave that happened a couple of weeks back and PM Modi walked in a couple of minutes before his speech was to begin and he completed his speech within the stipulated 30 minutes. Absolutely amazing to see a politician do that in India. Historically we have had the “masses” just waiting for the leader to arrive and public gatherings being inordinately delayed.

1 thought on “Being Punctual – Is It Important ?”

  1. B and K,
    I avoid making time commitments for that reason. I can’t count on the other person’s
    desire or ability to respect my time or theirs enough to keep to a schedule. This has changed with cell phones, as you mention.

    That your PM Modi was on time, even early, gives me new respect for him. It is a sign of his respect for his audience.


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