I am sharing this incident after taking due permissions, having given necessary disclaimers and ensured the best possible protection from any consequences. Still, I request the reader to be very mindful in posting comments as anything that can be mis-construed would be a risk to my limb and life. Not to mention my family life due to reaction from my wife. 😊. The incident involves her, and I have done my best to avoid anything that can remotely be criticism. Yet, I felt it only appropriate to let the reader know the possible impact of an un-mindful comment.

Over the last few months, we developed the habit of doing our weekly grocery shopping together over the weekend. We would go the department store and buy provisions. Then I would have the good fortune to lug all the heavy bags from the store to the car. This needs great concentration and awareness to avoid tripping on the eight steps leading from the store to the road where the I generally park the car. Then comes the juggling of the bags while fumbling in my pockets for the key to unlock the boot. If it had rained, then there would be additional challenge to avoid keeping the bags on the road, which I would otherwise do it were all normal. If there was a huge purchase, this process would repeat till all bags were in the boot.

Please don’t be under the impression that I am an oppressed husband doing all this physical activity while my wife is looking on. She would be busy during this time selecting vegetables – an activity that wouldn’t need all the careful skills of balance and dexterity, I have developed to execute the activities mentioned in the above para. By the time I would finish, she would select the vegetables and leave them at the counter for billing.

The careful juggling of loaded bags down the stairs to my car’s boot after settling the bill would be repeated this time for the vegetable bags. On lucky days, I would have just one full and another half full bag. On even luckier days which would test my skills to the fullest and improve them, I would have three or four.

Again, while this balancing act is going on, my wife – obviously to save time by parallel tasking (in case you haven’t figured it out yet😉) would be in the vegetable store across the road selecting more veggies. Here, I don’t have steps to balance on – the relief after all that heavy work done already.

This is a Good Habit – it saves time, makes the team effective and ensures both of us do what we do best. As a Half-Trained Husband (will elaborate on this in another post), I can’t ask for more. I am spared the great responsibility of selecting the right vegetables which needs discernment, understanding of what’s fresh and not, what’s going to be cooked, the right balance of different veggies and the MOST difficult – the right quality.

All this is background information – now the incident.

The other day, I caught a cold. When my body is week, I am irritable and may say a few unmindful things. We had to do the weekly grocery routine and so it was that I was left with four heavy bags from the department store. As usual, I was struggling with the load down the stairs and at the car boot. My mind chattering away about how I could do with a little help and why I had to do this slogging every time. Yet, my mouth co-operated and desisted from letting any words out. It had already let loose two onslaughts over the last twenty four hours and had the good sense to keep shut now.

With the mind-mouth struggle on, my ears got into the play and let me know the voice of my wife – she had completed the vegetable selection and was going to go across the street for her next task. Needless to say, my mind chattered faster (and I censor all that stuff in spite of all the precautions taken and mentioned in paras 1). After I had managed to manoeuvre the heavy bags in the boot, I looked up.

Here is where, my friends, comes the subject I am talking about. My wife was standing there, patiently to help me with the veggies. I reached, we bagged the veggies, brought them down the stairs and she went across the road while I went back to the car. My mind went silent.

What I must mention here, is she has a tennis elbow and refrains from lifting heavy things.

Within her limitations, the act of stopping to help in whatever way possible quietened my frivolous mind. She broke the “Good Habit” we had established.

And that is what I am trying to say – habits need to be broken sometimes for the larger good, for acts of kindness. Its wonderful to have good habits and a schedule. But in excess, even medicine is poison. One should be aware of when to step out of a habit and extend a helping hand to someone.

PS: The above story is adapted from my actual real-life version. I value a happy family life more than stating the blunt and brutal truth. And that is My Truth. 😊.

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Subhash Iyer

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