Sometimes all you need is a little jolt to make you realize how blessed you are to be sitting here in the safe confines of your home with your daughter right beside you watching her favorite show as you type these words on your mobile, when these very moments could have turned out something entirely, drastically tragically different.
My hands and feet are still shaking as I recollect the moments Namnam and I spent in one of the home furnishing stores a while ago.
We were excitedly strolling along the lanes with our trolley, picking up stuff needed to do up the room for my father-in-law who is expected next week. We reached the cash counter all set to check out when all of a sudden the fire-alarm went off! For a good few seconds nobody reacted, since most of us thought it to be normal fire drill. When it still didn’t stop the anxiety started creeping in. Namnam covered her ears wondering loud, quite loud at the deafening jarring sound. The cashiers stopped tapping on their keyboards. And then I saw a lot of people running helter skelter towards the elevator. Right then one of the customer care officials announced that it was a false alarm. I heaved a sigh. Barely for a fraction of a second but. For right after, he announced us all to evacuate the building. So the alarm wasn’t false,but very much real!
I had a stream of thoughts running in my mind as I held Namnam’s hand to get out of the building. I had to get to the basement of the building to take the car out. But would we reach there in time? What if we got trampled in a stampede? Would I be able to get my Namnam home safe? The thoughts kept gnawing at me as I held Namnam’s hand, walked down the stairs and out of the building. We were still away from the basement and way away from the spot I had parked the car in. Right then on our way out I met a friend and her husband who were trying to figure out a way to get to the basement too. I felt a strange sense of relief to have spotted a known face in the midst of an utterly chaotic and panic-ridden situation.
We, then, found a way to the parking lot from the side of the building. Fortunately my friend and her husband spotted their car close but Namnam and I had to walk a bit to get to ours.
The parking lot had turned into one hell of a deafening room filled with panicking car-horns. I wasn’t sure whether I would succeed in taking the car out. Namnam wondered the same. And when she said, “Amma, if you kept saying it was a fire alarm, why is it that you’re driving so slow? Why cant we get out fast?”, I realized that my child was scared too! Although I tried to reason to her about the number of cars ahead of us trying to get out, I wonder if she even heard me. She had her eyes firmly focused looking out for the exit, like me. I messaged R who was in Delhi, about the situation we were in. Not that he would have been able to help, but then it gave me some kind of strength to be able to just reach out to him.
And right after I messaged my three closest friends on our common chat thread just so they could reach me if needed.
In another 10 min or so we were out of the parking on to the road well on our way home! Were we glad to be safe!
Well not fully safe yet, as I was to find out soon as I drove a few meters further, still reeling under the shock of what we had just gotten out of. I banged into a car right in front of me while waiting at the traffic signal! Luckily, it was a minor bump so no dents on either of the cars and even more fortunatelt the driver was a very patient and polite person, a fellow parent but certainly not a hassled one like me! I could get away with a sorry and drive home.
As we reached home it all began to sink in.
Now at the end of it all it may not seem such a big deal. But its when you think back at those moments that you realize how much worse it could have got.
Fate has strange ways to kick you out of your complacency! I have been so laid back and engrossed in this life that I have forgotten when was it last that I stepped back to look at the beautiful way my life was shaped by so many wonderful people around me and be thankful about it…
I have my Namnam whose unconditional and growing love for me makes every single day of my life worth the while. I have R whose rock solid support just keeps me going always. I have my parents( achan, amma, appaji), who seem to just magically know when I need them to give me strength and will to pull through difficult tides. And I have my friends whose just being there is the best assurance that I can get. The confidence, the trust I can place in them at any point in time is more than I could ever ask for.
I can’t thank God enough for blessing me with so many wonderful people in life. Life cannot get better than this. Touchwood!