So what did I do?

I called them back.

(Read the first part In a moment of panic if you haven’t, to make sense of this one)

Now tell me, how many of you would have guessed this of the Cybernag?

Back to the story now….

For a while after sighting the kids, all I could do was say, ‘Thank you God, oh, thank you God,’ like a demented soul. The place where I was sitting was flat, about ten feet square. So once I called them back, I did what my friends have all suggested — I shouted, laughed, sang, danced and screamed.

At that time my mind had raced over the options, my faculties having returned. Could I catch up with them even if I hurried fast? How long would it take for me to reach them and then the top? They were nearly three quarters of the way, within sight of the massive gate. It had been more than an hour and half since we had left bhabhi behind. We had been told that the entire trek would take an hour and half and we had added another half an hour and told her we would be back by two hours. It looked like the estimates were by people who were regular trekkers and not one-off trekkers like us.

I had two options. To take a chance and let the kids complete the trek by themselves; to take another chance and assume that bhabhi won’t worry about us and try to catch up with them. If I let them go on, could I go through another scare or even the anticipation of a scare? Also, I was not feeling as fresh as when I had set out and might not make good time if I pushed on.

I must tell you that even Chacha Choudhary, whose mind works faster than a computer would have to beg some brains from the Cybernag. For all these thoughts had literally raced through my mind and I knew what I should do.

I cupped my hand to my mouth and hollered, ‘Vikki!’ Again and again till my voice reached them and they looked back. ‘I waved my arms and shouted, ‘Come back!’

He was saying something but I couldn’t make out what. He pointed to the gate and gestured. He was saying that they were so close and should go all the way up. I was adamant. ‘Come back!’ I shouted again. They talked among themselves and finally began descending. I heaved a sigh of relief. This time though I was prepared for their disappearing from sight when they crossed the valley and their figures grew larger as they came down.

I felt rotten, mean, crummy and all the other adjectives that you guys can think of to describe the feeling of snatching away something within reach from one’s kids. But I felt helpless and…weak?

‘Why did you call us back?’ demanded the boy when they reached me. My niece added, ‘We could have reached the top in another half an hour, max.’

Mami is waiting for us and it would have got very late had you gone up. She might have worried and we don’t even know how or where she is.’

Mami wouldn’t have minded. You are the one who worries so much,’ accused the boy.

If I had had even the tiniest idea of confessing to them the things that had transpired at that spot a while ado, it evaporated that instant. And all the tension and terror of the last hour finally snapped what little self control I had. I began doing what R’s Mom said mothers do – I started scolding them for being so inconsiderate about other’s feelings, carefully skirting over mine. Had I told them, they would have perhaps laughed or even been angrier for allowing imagined fears stop them from reaching their goal.

It was time to find bhabhi. It was nearly three hours since we left her. We climbed down carefully. She was nowhere in the normal path. Then we spotted her; she was sitting under a lone tree off the trekkers’ path under a tree close to a precipice! She had climbed quite some distance from where we had left her. We didn’t call out for fear of startling her. It was a sight to freeze one’s blood.

She told us how she had taken the path she saw the villagers take and came to the place where she was then sitting. She didn’t seem to be scared, or at least didn’t show it. It was we who were! So what was she doing as she waited?

‘Throwing pebbles down the mountain to see how far they fell.’ She said simply.

It was time for the kids, especially my niece to begin hyperventilating. I realised that suddenly they were glad that I had called them back! I could have hugged them then, except the older one would have either thrown me down the precipice or have jumped himself! So I refrained from showing any emotion.

Then it struck me. When you are unaware of any danger, you don’t panic. Also you don’t panic so much when it concerns yourself. You only panic big time if it involves a loved one. Like we worried about bhabhi before finding her and when we saw her sitting on the edge of a precipice; or when I saw the kids disappear on the mountain.

Over the years the memory of not completing the trek must have first rankled and then softened in the minds of the kids, for when I asked them about the trek before writing these posts, the older one said something to this effect: ‘I remember Kavita and me not able to (or not wanting to) make it the whole way up and coming back at some stage.’

My niece said: ‘We were given a time limit of two hours, not distance but time; so we had to come back.’

Neither of them remembers my hollering for them to come back, though my niece remembers me scolding them!

But I have not been able to get over the shock of having them disappear and none of us have forgotten the scary sight of bhabhi sitting there alone under the tree at the cliff’s edge.

Bahbhi’s memories? ‘I would feel scared now. But at that time I was much fitter and younger and didn’t feel any sense of fear or panic. But after coming down, I did feel the jitters when I looked up and saw the lone tree under which I was sitting.’ Well so much for aftershock!

I am not going to ask if what I did was right because it had been the right thing to do at that time and doesn’t seem wrong in hindsight either.

I had not talked about this to anyone all these years but since the two kids are now parents themselves, I knew that they would understand the reasoning behind my decision.

 

34 comments

  1. My dad/mom would’ve done the same thing. It happens 🙂

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    1. All parents react the same way I guess in such moments. And most of the time they don’t let on how scared they were 🙂

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  2. Interesting- finally ” all is well”[aamirKhan’s style]

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    1. But only I could say ‘all is well’ since the kids had blamed me for being a worry-wart and also spoiling their fun 🙂

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  3. just an unprovoked diversion….nice name for a blog ‘Cyber Nag’. keep up the nag 🙂

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    1. Thank you Ravi. Provoked or not, a compliment is always music to the ears, right? 😀

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  4. You did use your magical belan on the kids .

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    1. Who, me? The Zephyr? Perish the thought. It was just a tongue lashing 🙂

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  5. I would have done the same thing you did, I think. 🙂 And as someone commented, all’s well that ends well!

    And the kids don’t remember the event the same way you do? That’s funny, isn’t it? I’ve noticed the same thing when I occasionally talk with my childen about events which happened years ago.

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    1. the best thing about kids’ memories is that they don’t remember the scoldings or the no’es they hear from us when they are growing up. I guess that unless the disciplining is really severe and harsh, they understand that the parents were right in hindsight. What does that make us? Ideal parents or what 😀

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      1. When my son was growing up, he ‘once’ told me that ‘no’ was my favourite sentence. It really made me think.
        And just the other day, he asked me, “How did you teach us that ‘no’ meant NO?”
        I guess he has grown up.

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        1. So like another great mother, you agree with my decision that day? I thought so. The no’es are the ones that shape the kids’ strength of character. And yes, he has grown up 😀

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  6. Really interesting story…glad everyone ended safe and sound 🙂

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    1. All is well that ends well, right?

      Just came back from your blog. Do read my latest post too.

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  7. One always tends to assume the worst in a panic situation, specially when it involves your loved ones ! But all in all you did maintain your outwardly cool Zephyr hence the kids didn’t appear to give it any thought…. ! Good for you !

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    1. I might have, but with the pair of them glaring at me for having called them back, I dared not. It was easy to hide fear in anger 😀

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  8. At least remembered something! I can barely remember what I had for breakfast.

    So, you’re sure there was no filmi scene? I’m still hoping.

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    1. No. Remember I had decided not to tell them about my ordeal? Unless of course you choose to think of the ‘scolding’ scene as being filmy 😀

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  9. We always try to justify our actions with excuses. You haven’t. You were worried sick and wanted the comfort of familiarity.

    But I have to admit your kids are very well brought up, they didn’t waste your time in endless arguments.

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    1. …and scared 🙂 You put it perfectly. I must have so wanted the comfort of familiarity and togetherness, for all our sakes. They might have, but I scolded them, remember? 😀

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  10. In panicky moments like these, bad and horrifying thoughts are the first to plague our minds especially if the situation involves someone so close and dear. I guess, even my mother would have done the same thing.

    But as I read through the post, I found myself saying ‘Nooo… wait!!, please don’t call them back, please let them complete it!’ If they had completed it, then today their versions would also certainly have made for interesting reads too, on thoughts about you and bhabhi, provided they had one that is 😛

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    1. Didn’t I tell you how i felt about taking away the glory from the kids? In fact that is the other thing that I always remember about this incident. But children are very forgiving when it concerns such things, where they realise that there must have been some better reason for me to have called back, even though they don’t acknowledge it 😀 At least that’s what I have experienced.

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  11. So you showed amazing presence of mind and courage.Such incidents leave an indelible mark though…I am sure you remember every detail even though the kids do not.

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    1. Curiously I felt that I was showing some measure of weakness when I called them back 🙂 Thanks for terming it as courage. I do so remember every detail especially the moment of terror.

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  12. Aiyo! that was super scary…you called them back..hmpf! no wonder they were bugged…please keep this post a secret when R grows up and reads about people I admire (meaning you!) if she knows that I advocate mothers scolding children..mera kya hoga!

    Hugs Cybernag…I think it was very brave..of all four of you…I would have certainly gone crazy!

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    1. Don’t worry R’s Mom! I can nag her into believing that scolding is good for her especially if it is her mother who is doing the scolding 😀

      I went crazy too. But another thing about humans is that when they are all alone, they find the strength to become good decision makers. they have to. So you would have too. 🙂

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  13. I loved the way you finished it, why bother with whether it was right or wrong from other’s perspective – you did what you thought (and still do) was right and I appreciate your conviction. My dad is the kind of person who gets tensed and I remember him jumping onto the kayak – it is not like he enjoys these things – when we went on one as he didn’t want to let us go alone and out of his eyesight. His additional reasoning was that he didn’t want to let us go alone, if god forbid, the kayak capsized in the 4 feet deep water. 😉 Parents, I tell you!

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    1. As I mentioned at the end, only if you become a parent can you really understand the feelings of insecurity concerning one’s offspring. So I can perfectly understand your father getting into a kayak despite his misgivings 😀 Besides, you never know what kind of mishap (other than drowning) can occur in such a trip! 🙂

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  14. Perception of risk is different with different people. It is probably a result of experience, ignorance and faith on one’s own abilities among other things.

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    1. No Tanmay. It also involves other people’s feelings, safety etc. But you are right in that one has to have faith in one’s own abilities, (in this case, the ability to take the right decision) which is what I did when I called those kids back.

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      1. I agree with you 100%. I’m just tried to step back and understand what happened and why. What I said is that each person (in this case you and the kids) has a different perception of the risk (because of various factors I mentioned), and hence they behave differently. When in a group, the collective perception is what should decide what the group does.

        Rule no.1 in any adventure trek: never split up individually. Even seasoned mountaineers climb only in pairs.

        Cheers!

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        1. Wow! That is a mini thesis on perceptions! It is very true that as individuals we can afford to have a variety of perceptions but need a collective perspective when in a group. Psst, have you thought of applying for the post of advisor to the government on this? We could do with a collective perspective in a lot of things that they do (and don’t do!)

          Thanks for the tip on trekking. I will pass it on to the Brats, since I have stopped doing such foolhardy things long ago 🙂

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  15. It was the right thing to do in that situation. One is responsible for the safety of one’s kids; adventure comes second. You are right; I am much more worried about any danger coming to my family. For my own health and safety, I am not that worried :). I guess they worry :).

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    1. So the bottomline is that we worry for our loved ones. We have to draw the line somewhere about worrying too, else we will do nothing except that, with so many things to worry about 🙂 Didn’t you see the best part in the post, where the two concerned kids have forgotten the disappointment of not reaching the fort, but remember the worry about their mother/bhabhi, and that too because it was a tangible and visible danger?

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