Those 20 Minutes


Avi Gill

Son|Husband|Father
3 Mins Read

 

Recently my wife was diagnosed with Appendicitis and got admitted to the Hospital. A normal operation is usually 1 hour long and patient is discharged within 1 day but she had developed some complications over time and the operation turned out to be a major one stretching to 5 hours but the operation was a success.

She remained in Hospital for 5 days after the operation. First day, she could barely sleep due to pain and was on pain killers, by day 3 she was walking. Should say she was recovering well. I was visiting her every day taking time out of my busy schedule. Being self-employed if on one side, I have the luxury of working my hours, on the other I am always rushing to get things done.

There is not enough time to do everything. In fact, for many of us time is always running out. On an average, humans walk 1.5m/sec but many of us walk as much as 2.5m/sec because we are always in hurry.  For me, make my child ready for school, pick him up from school, find a parking at the hospital, make calls to clients and banks, check and reply to emails, do shopping, and the list goes on.

I had been doing all this for so long that I had actually forgotten to walk, I was just running slow until one day when my wife in her 3rd day asked me if she could go for a walk around the hospital as she had been trapped in a 10-10 room for past 3 days feeding only on liquids.

So, we decided to take a stroll to the cafeteria. Her bed was on 4th floor and the café was on the ground. First steps were a struggle, she was weak and low on energy but the thought of going out to a café was enough to keep her going.

At this point my world started to slow down nearly to a halt. We were walking at .5m/sec. It’s like walking in a super-slow motion. Even a baby who has just learnt walking for the first time is fast. Finally, we reached the lifts, she leaned on to my shoulder and we glided down to the ground floor.

We started walking again, slower and slower. At this point I realised how hard is for me to walk slow, I was struggling. A part of me was getting frustrated and repeatedly telling me to get the wheel chair. My every muscle in the body was screaming to push her to walk fast. My brain itself was in a dilemma as to why was I walking that slow.

But as my body and mind came to realisation and coordinated or understood the reason, things became easy, clear and more interesting. There was a beautiful sitting area on our right side which I had no time to appreciate. There were people walking past me- smiling, there were nurses on their breaks laughing and sharing food with each other. There were strangers from all walks of lives, pictures on the wall flashing proud history of the hospital.

There was art on the floor, on walls which I had not noticed before, there was commotion- people were smiling at me while passing by and chatting everywhere. Everything slowed down as I slowed down. I was literally starting to understand what they were talking about. Finally, we made it to the café, ordered some pasta and again started our slow walk.

This time the walk was pleasant, my mind and body worked in peace with each other. There was a surprising calm inside me. I was not in hurry, or impatient. I was not concerned about people who were walking past me in a hurry. Most of them having no idea why they were in hyper state.

This small, super slow walk with my wife showed me the reality of life, which we all miss every day, every minute –every second. We have been taught to hustle, systems are getting faster and faster, expectation are super quick results. Now time is not money anymore, it’s your life. How fast can you spend your life to make your Boss, clients, customers, investors happy.

At this moment, I realised ‘There are so many moments I am missing just because I was trying to make someone else happy. There are so many beautiful things that I simply did not appreciate that play an important part of the reality that I live in. And most surprisingly I was finding it hard to find a moment to stop, realise and evaluate whether all this I was doing was worth anything in the end.

I was not only spending the time I have but also my life now, which I will never get back. More time at work, more time getting to and from work, less and less time with family. In a way, I was not allowing myself a time out. Time out to relax, do what I love, sit with my family’.

These slow moments showed me the real world, nothing was blurry anymore. I could see the details in the building, hard work, effort and sheer beauty of the plants and ambience that was designed to bring you close to nature, provide comfort and relaxation.

Everything around me was slow even though everyone else was running- their feet, hands, eyes all senses racing with each other to gets there first not realising they all have same destination.

There were people with sad faces, people who were gazing outside as if waiting for someone who might never come, some so frail that they could barely move, some were with their loved ones sharing a cigarette and a laugh, some were waiting for cab but knew they were coming back here sooner than later.

There were so many people with so many different emotions and I was witnessing them, observing them in super-slow motion and almost hear the commotion inside them.

All this was observed in 20 mins. Amazing isn’t it. I still remember the color of the walls, tiles, food at the Cafe, how much time staff takes to make a coffee, emergency exits and so many other things. But as soon as we were back to bed, everything fast forwarded. My wife was attended by one nurse after the other. I was back to the normal world.

When my wife was discharged, Corona virus took over the world and people were advised to stay home. As everything started to slow down, panic took over. People raided grocery stores, pharmacies and started getting hand on essentials.

We (our generation) are a very pampered one, we have never seen a hardship and has always been protected and always taught about our rights. We are an overly informed generation where everything is available with a click of a finger.

For that very reason, we are having hard time understanding the meaning of social distancing, staying home and being safe. We (our generation) think, we are untouchable and nothing can harm us. We want to party, go out for drinks, exercise, shop but we fail to understand that we might be immune but whoever gets infected from us, might not be that lucky. So, our basic instinct kicked in and many of us reacted and started hoarding whatever we could with no regard for anyone else. Every human for him/herself.

This virus has given us an opportunity to look around us, evaluate things that matter, time is of no value at the moment but Life is and it always has been-it’s just we forgot.

We have all the time in the world now, but we don’t know what to do with it cos we have not been taught its real value, all we have been doing is trying to outrun it. Everything from expensive phones to cars have no value at the moment.

We might not get another chance to slow down cos as soon as this is over, the whip will be back and we all will start running again and this time will have a lot of catching up to do.  But you have a choice, either we to take the whip and run or decide to break that whip and live life on our own pace.

This is not the time to test your friends, it’s time to stand with them. It’s not the time to act but to listen. It’s not the time to run but to stand still. It’s not the time to find faults but to find a solution. It’s time to stop-reboot-restart our lives the way we dreamt about it. Now ‘We have all the time in the world’ to paint our future and nature has given us enough time to do that.   

Whatever the outcome of this war with an invisible enemy, we all will have a story to tell. Remember to remind ourselves how we sat at home comfortably while on the frontline Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics, Police and so many other people were fighting unconditionally putting their lives at risk so that we ‘the pampered generation’ could have a future.  

 

This article is copyright(c) of Avjeet Gill and copy or use for financial gain is strictly prohibited. 

  1. Nice write-up Avi
    Truly this is the time for all of us to sit back and take a time for self realization.
    Wish you all a safe time ahead…