What If…


Our life is full of a series of “what ifs” based on our choices and actions

Photo by Fred Heap on Unsplash

Life has a way of taking sudden sharp turns when you least expect it. Not that anyone ever expects a sudden sharp turn…

And the twists impact different people in different ways…

A Date with a Beautician

There are several Apps available now that provide all kinds of services that you can think of, in the comfort of your own home.

Beauty services, plumbing, home cleaning, electrician, maid services, and so much more.

One such service that I use often is the beauty service. I like to get my pedicure and head massage in my own home without the hassle of having to dress up and go out only to return oily-headed.

A few months ago, I used the App and set up the appointment. The App confirmed the service and sent me the confirmation with the name of the girl who was supposed to come over and provide the service.

She (let us call her Uma) called and confirmed the time slot and said that she would arrive on time. So far so good.

Running Late

The scheduled time arrived, and I was looking forward to my much-needed head massage.

I waited and waited. 10 minutes passed, and there was no sign of Uma. So I called using the App.

Uma answered the phone breathlessly. She said she was running a bit late and would reach soon. I said that was ok and hung up. Since I was waiting at home, I was not in a hurry. I just wanted to be sure she would show up. My head was craving a good oil massage.

About 10 minutes later, Uma showed up looking all hassled. She apologized profusely for being late. She got caught in some domestic issues and couldn’t make it on time.

She started setting up the stuff and realized that she had not brought the massage kit. In her hurry to reach on time, she had left the kit on the table in her house.

Again a series of apologies while she called her husband, who was at home, and asked him to quickly bring the kit to her. I heard her urging him to come fast since she was already late.

The thing with these services is that they are booked back to back. Being late at my place meant that she was going to run late with the next customer as well. I could understand her anxiety.

I live on the second floor of an apartment complex. Uma said she would head down to the gate and get the kit from the hubby and come back.

I settled down with a book while I waited for her.

Terrible Twist

In the promised 10 minutes, the bell rang, I opened the door, and Uma was back.

But something had changed. She looked devastated, and she was crying copiously. I was alarmed.

I asked her what happened.

Someone had called her from her husband’s phone and told her he had met with an accident. That person told her that they were rushing him to a hospital, and she should come there directly. The husband was in no state to talk. He was bleeding and unconscious.

Image by fsHH from Pixabay

Uma was inconsolable. She kept blaming herself for asking him to rush. She suspected that he might have been speeding on his motorbike to reach fast.

She had come back to collect her bag and rush to the hospital that the kind samaritan had mentioned.

I felt very helpless. I was not sure what I could do to help her out. I offered her some money since I wasn’t sure how much money she was carrying. She flatly refused. A girl with high self-respect! She asked for a glass of water, drank it, and rushed out.

In spite of all that was going on, Uma has called her office and informed them about the situation. She had ensured that a replacement would show up at my door. I was dumbstruck.

That’s a tremendous display of commitment against all odds.

I consoled Uma as much as I could considering that the whole situation had left me too in tears. I gave her a hug and told her that all would be well.

It seemed unfair. A hard-working girl just trying to do her job well, and what a strange hand fate had dealt.

I felt guilty too because this happened due to my service request.

I shudder to think of what she must have gone through when she got that call from a stranger on her husband’s phone, and heard those awful words.

I marvel at Uma who received that call, kept her head, called her office to provide a backup, came to my house to get her bag and inform me, and then proceeded to do what needed to be done. What a woman of strength and character! Her face and her expressions are etched deep in my otherwise terrible memory.

Life’s Like That

Life is like that though, isn’t it? It doesn’t ask us before it gives us wonderful things, or before it hands us such hard twists. We can make all the plans we want, but if life decides something else, something else it is for us!

And the “what if” questions continue to plague me:

  • What if I had never booked that service?
  • What if Uma had arrived on time?
  • What if I had not called her and added more pressure?
  • What if the husband wasn’t under pressure to arrive fast?

Would things have been different? Or would life have found another way to effect the same state on Uma?

I rue the fact that I didn’t get Uma’s personal phone number. I wish I could have called to check if everything was ok. To this day, I can only hope and pray that the accident was minor and that life is back to normal for Uma and her family.

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