It had been a busy day. Though I had acquitted myself well in my work, I still felt bogged down by doubt and negativity. There were tasks to be done within deadlines, an event on Monday, and of course, backlog. I tried to get a bead on the work and noticed it was well past lunch time. 3.15 p.m. to be precise. I would get home by about 4 when I would eat. I was already growing irritable.
During the day, my little son had warned me, ‘If you come in the afternoon, I will open the door. If you come in the evening I won’t open the door.’ He was busy enjoying his Saturday turning the house upside down.
When I reached home, I looked for him at the window. I didn’t hear his shriek of delight when the car entered the driveway. Slowly I lifted the numerous files, and books I had brought home and prepared to ascend the steps up the stairway. When I reached I heard a commotion. My son wanted to lock me out! With some difficulty he was moved away from the door.
As I came to the table for lunch, he jumped on his mother and held her tight. Losing her balance both of them fell down in a heap. Something snapped within me. I smacked him and told him to go to his room.
Over lunch Queenie told me that baba feels insecure when anyone talks to her, be it my dad, a friend on the phone, or me.
I had misread the situation. I had brought my tension at work into the home. My loved ones did not deserve to be at the receiving end of my misplaced ire.
Given the obvious warning signs, I had not heeded the caution to H.A.L.T. when I was in danger of doing something I could regret later. The acronym HALT comes from the following words, any of which being present, you are advised to halt, or tread with care:
H is for Hungry. I was starved. It was almost near tea-time. My body-clock had gone haywire. The fact that this was becoming more of a rule than an exception was very worrisome.
A is for Angry. I was angry. Things did not seem to be going my way. I was upset at real and imagined slights. A dose of rationalization later chased them away.
L is for Lonely. I was lonely. Away from my family I needed to take decisions in the work place which did not always seem convincing.
T is for Tired. I had got up at 4.30 a.m. to complete some work. I had finished it, but by the afternoon, fatigue had set in.
I remedied the situation by having a nice nap after lunch. When I rose I had Munnar tea with the family. Later I spent time looking at my Weekender articles and played the guitar to relax. A brisk walk next morning had me in fine fettle – I also wrote this article.
Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on 14 February 2016.