Monday, November 14, 2011

And They Came to my Rescue

Disclaimer: The accident and the rescue attempts detailed below are NOT a work of fiction. There were about 20 witnesses to this event, as it occurred yesterday Nov 12th around noon.

A beautiful November morning dawned, the skies crisp and clear, temperature in the late 50s – a little unusual for Minnesota this time of the year, though something everyone clearly enjoyed – judging by the chirpiness and the spring in their step. We all gathered near the Nickelodeon universe at the MOA to celebrate a friend’s kid’s – Ritzu’s birthday. Kids of all ages ran around – the girls prancing like perfect princesses and the boys, kicking a football around as a typical guy trait. Adults stood talking, the parents with a watchful eye on their kids, the guys discussing NFL and home rates, the ladies talking about driving classes and carpooling, again a very specific trend if someone were to be studying gender traits. Every once in a while, a father or a mother would go and pull apart two kids punching each other for some silly reason. There were balloons of all colors and the tiny tots, sitting ensconced in their mother’s arms were enamored by it.

I was running along with Adya, holding her hand tight, flitting along tables as she tried to escape the playful catches by other friends. And that’s when the accident occurred. It happened too fast to notice. All it took was a second. She let go of my hand for just a second, and I went tumbling back. 3 pairs of hands simultaneously shot up to grab me, but they were a tad too late. The railings near the veranda were maybe 4 feet high, but they failed to stop me. I tripped over it and went beyond. It was a sheer 20 feet drop to the ground and I couldn’t even close my eyes, I couldn’t do anything, I was paralyzed. I was sky diving - in the opposite direction. The roof of MOA seemed to get farther and farther away.

Adya cried out for me, I could hear her tiny voice screaming as I fell. About 5 feet down from where we had stood, there was a solid extension out from the wall. It reached out for me as I fell and I hit it with a bang. Searing pain rushed through my body. My head and part of my upper body was still dangling in the air but I was unable to move. I lay there for a second, my eyes looking up to where my friends stood, as they thought of a way to rescue me.

One gentleman I did not know finally took off his camera strap which was about 4 feet long and swung it over so I could hold on to it. I don’t know how a weak little camera strap would help, maybe they thought I could hold on it and stand up, then they could hoist me back up. It just about reached me but was a few inches short. They tried swinging it to and fro but I couldn’t reach it. He pulled it back up and a couple of them contemplated on how best to extend the length. They found a handbag and finally broke off that strap, linked both together and let it down again. It was a good plan, except I couldn’t move my fingers, my hand, my head or even cry out for help.

They finally let down the heavy handbag itself and starting swinging that to-and-fro. I watched in horror as my legs started shifting towards the edge of the verandah. It was still a 15 feet drop. Were these guys trying to kill me? I could only hope they knew something I didn’t, because this did not seem like a very good idea. Maybe someone had put together some soft stuff at the bottom, so that when I fell, it could stifle my fall.

And then before I could realize it, I went over. As I fell, I could see a smile on Adya’s face. Kids are innocent. If she’s smiling, rest assured it would turn out alright. She came running to me as I lay on the ground and picked me up. I was a little bruised but I had survived. She laid a thousand kisses on my face and held on to me so tight; I knew she would never let me go again.

And then she screamed at the top of her voice with all the strength in her tiny lungs “Mommmyyyyy, I found Teddy !!!!”. That’s right. I am Teddy. Adya’s Teddy Bear. Her favorite toy. Forever.


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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Art of 'NO'ing

Day in and day out we interact with all kinds of people - co-workers, clients, acquaintances, friends, relatives, family. And in some way or the other, we try to keep people around us happy. Intentions aside, its just basic human nature. Share that Kit Kat with a friend, maybe run an extra report for your co-worker, put a rush on some processing for a client. Taking it one level further would be helping a friend solve his/her problems, trying to cheer someone up, give up on your gym time to help a friend get through the day. In any case, the relationship clearly dictates the lengths you would go to.

But I take a pause here and I think, how much really is important? Where do you draw the line? How important is pleasing people, keeping everyone happy? And more importantly, is it even possible to keep everyone happy? How long before you say "No"? It is important to say NO every once in a while, you can't be expected to do everything for everyone. Bear in mind, the "best/close friends" category is an entirely different thing, these questions might not even apply there. I am talking about the daily junta you run into every now and then.  I admire people who are very clear and precise about how much they would/would not do for someone.  But I have also seen the kind of relationships they share with others and somehow I am glad, I am not made that way. Nonetheless, at times I do think I need to get better at saying NO.

Same goes for guilt trips. I have had instances where try as I may, I couldn't cheer someone up. Earlier it would affect me too, as I would spend hours thinking what I could do to help. I wouldn't even know the root of the problem, but maybe the selfish soul in me would just want to confirm that I am not the root cause., though I don't think that is true. I have had a couple of people send me on guilt trips too, taking my jokes too seriously or taking something I might have said to heart. Me being the inane person that I am, meaningless jokes that I might have made a fortnight ago and completely forgotten about since, would suddenly crop up  portrayed as something serious which I shouldn't have said. I would leave a conversation thinking I was so wrong, I shouldn't have done that when all the while I wouldn't even know what it was that I had allegedly said or done. But I have grown up since. If I don't know what I did wrong, its not worth losing sleep over.

You can be mature about something, accept/admit it, see if it can be worked out, else just leave it behind. Life too's short to think too much about something and try to please everyone. If you're happy the happiness will spread automatically. You just do what you can in a day and hope that the others would come around eventually. Sometimes, easier said than done.

And as some of those cool quotes go:
1. I can please only one person per day. Today's not your day, tomorrow's not looking so good either.
2. Tell me what you need and I'll tell you how to get along without it !


I would love to hear your views!
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