It was a crazy morning. We’d had no water for nearly 18 hours, and at 4.30 am, a little voice woke me up to go check. When I realised that there was not a drop for even flushing the toilet or washing hands, I woke up the kids and told them we’d have to go to my mom’s place to get ready for school and work. One of them decided to skip school altogether and stay under the blankets; sleep out the crisis. The other had no choice and so off we went at 5 am in a flurry of activity. Hubby lay blissfully asleep through it all.
Once we got there, I realised we’d have to wait for the water to heat up before we could bathe anyway. In the meantime, my poor parents woke too, worried about all the commotion. There I was, boiling water in kettles, making the kid’s tiffin, calling up the dog-walker to tell him to come a little later, rushing through a shower and hair wash, when the kid called out from the bathroom, “I forgot to get my skirt.” Damn, we’d have to go back home; she’d miss the bus; I’d have to drop her to school as well. It was going to be a close call and a mad dash.
At 7 am, as I drove like a deranged woman through the sleepy, chilly streets of Delhi, the kid suddenly said, “Why are you panicking? Stop, take a deep breath. You are the one who always says, ‘No matter what happens outside you, it is how you respond that matters’. Everything is in our own hands.”
Her words stopped me in my wild mental tracks. This was a 14-year-old talking to a 39-year-old, not the other way around. And she went on.
“Besides, imagine how boring life would be without its fair share of ups and downs. Do you really want things to go smoothly ALL the time? Trouble is fun too.”
The darling of my life completely put things in perspective for me in that instant. What’s a little water shortage in the larger scheme of things? What’s a bit of silly early morning drama when it comes to an infinite universe that has the potential for just about everything? How easy are our problems when compared with really serious issues others face around the world? How blessed am I that this angel chose to be born through me?
The day went by tremendously smooth after that. And even if there were hiccups, I didn’t notice. I’d glimpsed into the face of God for a moment, driving at 80 kph down Africa Avenue, trees on either side, the mist clearing up to make way for dawn.
Stop, take a breath, respond.