The morning of June 12th 2010 started off uneventfully. I had not seen my dad for over a month and I waited in anticipation as I wanted to share some really exciting things with him. The day was not going fast enough for me. Suddenly the quiet was interrupted by the harsh ring of the telephone. For some uncanny reason the feeling of anticipation turned to fear. It was a call from one my relatives saying that he had just then seen the news of a bomb explosion on a railway track near Villupuram. In a flash I realized that my Dad was traveling to Chennai on that route. Time stood still…. Instinctively I called my father on his cell but call would not go through. The feeling fear elevated to one of horror. Stress overtook me and I found I was quickly incapable of all rational thinking. We just sat frozen as near the phone as possible.
About an hour later we got the much longed for news – dad was safe. Oblivious of all the confusion and tension that prevailed at home, my dad informed us that his train was right behind the one that bore the explosion. It was close call. I had always admired my dad for his amazing capability to stay calm in crisis. He did just that once again! He got down from the train, walked a kilometer to the nearest highway and boarded a bus to Chennai. He was not perturbed by the explosion rather he was grateful for his safety. I was reminded of this quote:
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”-Corrie Ten Boom
I realized that there was so much I could have done – go to Villupuram (which is only 2 hours away), call the railway help line, send a text message to my dad’s phone….. and many other things that could have saved his life, if there was danger. This could have relieved us of a lot of heartache and tension. I think the moral of the story is that it is not the challenge that causes us the problem but the anxiety and stress generated in our mind.
No matter how tough the situation is, staying calm in a crisis is a key leadership quality in todays global work environment. A President/Prime Minsiter of a country is called upon primarily in times of crisis; a manager should be able to calm a disturbance and a leader should bring peace when there is restlessness.
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