When A Late-Night Call Becomes A Wake-Up Call

Have you ever had that heart-stopping moment when you felt your action had sent your loved ones into a tailspin of worry? Yeah, we’ve all been there. That moment when you think, “It’s no big deal,” but for them, it’s a full-blown crisis. You know how it is!

In hindsight, everything’s 20/20. You may have learned your lesson or slipped back into old habits after a while. Sound familiar?

Something happened recently that made me reflect on this. Last weekend, a late-night call jolted me awake. A call past midnight is never good news. I woke up with a fright. It was election night in five Indian states, and I’d been up early that morning.

 The Consequences of Being Unreachable

A colleague’s wife called, frantic on the other end of the line because her husband hadn’t come home. Manoj had texted her he was leaving work, a mere 20-minute drive after midnight. That was more than an hour ago. But now he was missing. What was more worrying was no answer to calls or texts. You can imagine the panic. I called Manoj. He did not answer. I began to fear. My mind raced with all the worst-case scenarios. Accident? Robbery? Health emergency?

I called another colleague to check if he knew. There was no answer. I texted others, but no one responded. They were all asleep after a hectic day at work. It’s in these moments that time seems to stand still, each minute stretching out endlessly. I thought to myself, “What do I do now?” Tired and groggy, I was not in my best mind to think straight.

A few minutes later, Manoj saw my text and replied. Turns out, he’d lost track of time chatting with colleagues, his phone on silent. A simple oversight, but the ripple effect? Sreeja — his wife — was a bundle of nerves, and rightly so. Manoj called her back, felt sorry, and immediately left for home. I stayed up till he reached home before I went back to bed.

Image: Midjourney


I couldn’t sleep for the next two hours. I couldn’t help but think about what Sreeja must have gone through in the 90 minutes when Manoj was incommunicado.  It’s not an isolated case. Many of us have been through this. We don’t realise what our loved ones go through while we get occupied with something that catches our attention or interest.

My Wake-Up Call: A Lesson in Carelessness and Guilt

I am guilty of the same, too. This episode reminded me of my blunder five years back. Leaving a party, dehydrated and unwell, I collapsed. No one around. My wife, expecting me home, panicked as my calls went unanswered. Eventually, colleagues found me and got me to a hospital. After injecting fluids intravenously and observing my condition for an hour, I was discharged.

But the guilt? It still lingers. I had inadvertently put my wife and colleagues through turmoil. We don’t mean to, but our actions, or lack thereof, can send shockwaves through the lives of those who care about us. We get caught up, distracted, and forget the simplest, most crucial thing – to stay connected.

Next time you’re lost in the moment or forget to check in, remember this: a small action on your part can be a huge relief for someone who cares. Let’s not underestimate the power of a simple text or call to ease the minds of those we love.  And if you have your loved ones waiting at home late at night, think of them before you get lost in the company of others. You owe it to them.

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