A little too late….


Rahul had always been a go-getter, an achiever. Right from his school days, he always used to go above and beyond what was normally expected of him and this ensured that he not only came out among the best among his peers in all the activities that he participated in, it also ensured that he always got the necessary recognition for his efforts and was considered as ‘the best’. His parents also encouraged this particular attitude of his and provided all the monetary and other forms of support they could. Rahul was never found wanting for anything, big or small, in his endeavor to be ‘the best’ at whatever activity he used to perform.

This winning attitude of Rahul also meant that as he grew older, he started getting used to being ‘the best’ at everything he did and this took precedence over everything else for him in his life. From being the academic topper at school and college, he always strived to be the best in extracurricular activities, sports, etc. And as he grew older, he also started doing the ‘ancillary but necessary’ activities such as socializing with the right people to ensure that he got the necessary visibility and was always at the forefront of any ‘wild card issuance’ for any events that he was interested in. While he always remained ethical with his interactions and all of them were ‘above the table’, his constant endeavor to excel took a toll on his personal relationships.

While Rahul had ‘friends’, he treated most of them as ‘avenues’ or ‘opportunities’ for him to continue on his path of ‘excellence’. This behavior of his was so bad that almost all his friends started treating him as a mere acquaintance and not necessarily as a friend. Although they didn’t quite hate him for his ‘go getter’ attitude, the fact remained that all of them realized that he wasn’t necessarily their friend, and that he treated all of them as conduits to open the necessary doors for him.

Things had reached a situation where the only people who genuinely loved and cared for Rahul were his parents. For them, he was still the ‘apple of their eye’, their brilliant son who was a winner at all that he did. From academics, to sports, to extracurricular activities, Rahul made them proud each and every day of the week. And them being parents, they also did not complain about the fact that he rarely spent any time with them. They understood that being as successful as Rahul was meant that he had to necessarily socialize with the right people and build the right connections to put him on the fast track to professional growth. That being said both his father and mother used to ‘physically’ miss him a lot. Although he stayed with them, his socializing meant that he was rarely at home at any point in time including weekends. His father and mother used to communicate to him mostly through SMSes where they used to request him to pull out some time, and stay back at home doing nothing but just talking to them. Rahul used to reply to these messages with a standard non-committal “Let me get back to you on this”. He really didn’t have time for general chit-chat with his parents which in no way would help him advance his career. While he did care for them, he just didn’t have enough time to spend with them.

In his quest for professional excellence, Rahul not only used to spend almost all his waking hours in office, but also spent almost all of his weekends in attending parties, social gatherings, golf outings with his seniors from office. He clearly understood the pulse of each and every one of his Senior Leadership team at office and ensured that he pushed the right buttons by being in their radar each and every waking hour of theirs. He took time and efforts to understand their personal likes, dislikes, anniversaries, their hobbies, their out of office pursuits and interests and modified his schedule accordingly so that he could give them company, all with the sole purpose of ensuring that he remained at the top of their mind as far as ‘recall’ was concerned.

One fine day, he got a call from his mother. As he was in his boss’ cabin he declined the call and continued with his meeting. A couple of minutes later, he got an SMS which read, “Dad serious. Admitted to yyy hospital. Call me.”  When he read the SMS about fifteen minutes later when he got out of his boss’ cabin, he was shaken a little. He immediately called his mother who informed him that his dad had a cardiac arrest and was put in the ICU. Not once during the call did she ask him to come over to the hospital to see his dad or provide her with much needed moral support. Even at such a time, she trusted and believed in Rahul’s good judgment to prioritize this emergency over everything else and immediately rush to her side. She was therefore a little disappointed when he said “Ok, if he is already in the ICU, there is nothing more that I can do at this point. I have a couple of important meetings to get to right away. I will call you later in the evening and follow up on Dad’s status.” He didn’t even give time for his Mom to respond and disconnected the call.

Once again Rahul was procrastinating when it came to taking care of his parents’ emotional needs. While he knew what he was doing was wrong and felt somewhat guilty about it, the fact remained that his quest for excellence had blinded him to a large extent and was manipulating his good judgment to the extent that it took precedence over anything else in his life. However, he was not overcome with so much guilt that it affected him. In fact, his quest for excellence had fine tuned his mind to a level where he would ‘zone out’ of everything else and completely focus on the professional task at hand.

Late that evening when he was being driven back home by his driver, he suddenly remembered about his Dad. When he called his Mom, in a sober tone, she just told him “Beta, come over to yyy hospital please.” When he reached there and went over to the ICU, he couldn’t locate his Mom. When he called her, she asked him to come to the ground floor of the hospital and come over to the back entrance.

When he made his way there, he noticed that the back entrance was where the Mortuary was located. His Mom was signing the papers that were necessary for her to take custody of the corpse. She looked calm and collected throughout and her face even had a slight hint of a smile when she saw him come.

Rahul didn’t quite know how to react. Although he knew that he should not have procrastinated when it came to just spending some time with his parents, not in his wildest dreams had he realized that things would reach a state where his parents would not even be with him when he wanted to spend time with them.


Image courtesy: Google images search for ‘procrastination’


This post was inspired by the Daily Prompt : Procrastination


This post was selected by Blogadda as one of their Spicy Saturday Picks on 07-Sep-2013.


19 thoughts on “A little too late….

  1. Very well written Jairam. Too often people believe excellence is the only quest to be pursued. They forget to enjoy the journey to the goal and end up losing out on a lot. You have explained the same without even saying it so well…..

    • @Vishal, thanks for the kind words.

      Yes, a lot of high achievers I know and their experiences inspired me to write this story…

    • @Kalpana, yes, I personally know quite a few folks who actually live like this 😦 as you so aptly put, striding forward for excellence but striding backwards when it comes to emotions and relationships…

    • @Proactive Indian, thanks for the kind words….yes, most of the achievers lose track of what it is that they really want to achieve in life…

  2. This is the state of many youngsters today, actually much worse. But then, it’s a chain and they have learned many behavioral traits from their parents, so you cannot blame them alone. The thing is, many ppl don’t stop and reflect about what they are doing and where they are going in life. Your story conveyed this message quite powerfully.

    Destination Infinity

    • @Destination Infinity, yes, most people get so caught up in the rat race that they fail to stop for one moment and reflect on their actions, the consequences, etc.

  3. Work life balance is so important for all of us.It is not necessary to be the best in all the spheres of life but to spend some quality time with your near and dear ones.
    Well crafted story which conveys so much in a very simple manner

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