Panic is sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety.
I believe I am not the kind to easily panic. Of course I am ruling out pranksters setting upon me with their real looking plastic spiders, lizards and such. In case anyone is thinking of using the originals to scare me, let me tell you in advance, I HATE you! You are not my friend! And never will be!
Now that that’s settled let me get to writing my post on panic.
Long years back, I got a call from the First Born’s school. He had cut himself above his left eyebrow when he hit his head against the wall while playing with friends and needed a couple of stitches. I don’t remember panicking at all. He was six the time the army school bus arrived back from school without him, with the driver giving the sorriest excuse that the senior children were let off earlier (my son was the only one in primary section), I was extremely angry, but there certainly was no panic.
There was the time a severe pain in his leg caused the Second Born to be hospitalized. The doctors were evasive about the reason for the pain and the treatment they were giving. With the Dad out of station they did not feel obliged to tell the parent on hand, me, due obviously, my gender. I was annoyed at their attitude and anxious for my son. But panic? Nope.
One day a couple of years back, I was returning home by train after a visit to my parents. Midway through the five hour journey I looked up from the book I was reading and watched the beautiful lush green land whizzing past the train window. It was too beautiful to be missed. So I shut my book and took out the iPod. Music was what I needed to go along with the enchanting scene outside.
I checked the time. How much longer to my destination, I wondered idly… and stopped short, going hot and then cold in panic. I didn’t know where I was going. I tried hard to recall. Was it to visit my parents or back home to Luci? The harder I tried, blanker went the mind and panic feeding on the blankness also grew in proportion.
I know it was a simple enough matter to ask one of the passengers where the train was headed. Never mind that my query would have guaranteed me a permanent place next to Lord Emsworth of Blandings Castle in the woolly-headed department. By the way, if you are right now wondering ‘LORD EMSWORTH, WHO?’ drop whatever you are doing and go get yourself a Blandings Castle book. Author: The one and only, P.G.Wodehouse. You can thank me after you have stopped dying of laughter.
Getting back to my panicky situation. There was an even simpler thing I could have done, something that would keep my reputation intact and yet tell me where I was going, take my ticket out and check. The From and To stations are prominently printed on tickets for people like me to refer to in case of an emergency panic attack.
Luckily, I didn’t have to. It came to me in a flash, just like that. I was returning home. This information tallied with other information which had started flooding, too late, into the system, corroborating facts. The brain trying to cover up its tardiness of earlier was overdoing things. You had clicked those Blue-tailed Bee-eaters on the tree near the railway lines behind your parents’ house, remember? Also seen a Racket-tailed Drongo flying against the blue sky and stared open mouthed in amazement, failing to capture in time, only to berate yourself later. Your mother had made iddlies and you ate them just before the train started. Remember? Remember?
Yeah. I remembered. Only too well. Everything was clear. The moment of scary uncertainty had lasted all of a minute perhaps, but it had seemed like eternity. Well, that’s panic for you. Or rather, me.
©Shail Mohan 2016