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Emotional Intelligence during times of distress

Source | LinkedIn : By Rashmi Saran

Just a few days back, I faced a harrowing situation. Along with my daughters, I was returning home from my parents’ place. The evening had witnessed a very heavy downpour. In spite of my worst intuitions and those of my better half who had warned me not to take any inside roads as these roads get flooded very soon, I was tempted to come into the same internal roads – the wind tunnel road in Bangalore. I knew that the main roads would be jam packed and would delay my trip considerably.

Initially it was good going till we reached a stretch which had waist deep water. Other vehicles were crossing slowly and I was confident that my driver would also be able to cross over without much hassle. But lo behold! Hardly had the car entered the water, as if to resist the driver’s attempt to drive fast, it stopped in the middle of waist deep water. It was late evening and the road did not have any street light, though there was a fairly good flow of vehicles on the road. Suddenly, I felt cold water on my feet and almost jumped. The water outside had started gushing into the car through the corners of the closed doors. A surge of emotions – panic, fear and shock rushed in together, almost numbing me. The driver had gone out to get help and the water level outside went on rising as cars passed by. The water level inside the car too was rising. I was worried that if the water level rose further, we would not be able to open the car doors and come out.

On 26th July, 2005, during Mumbai floods, I had faced a similar situation and the memories of that day started playing its tricks on me. The same feelings – all negative emotions, started gripping me in their hold. Suddenly my logical mind asked me to cool down. I took a deep breath and asked myself whether this was the frame of mind that could help the situation become any better. I instructed my heart to calm down and beat slower. And surprisingly, it did. Then with the help of a few people on the road, my driver pushed the car to an elevated side where the water level was lesser. He then started the car gently. For the first few times the engine purred and died down. Then, all of a sudden, as if by magic, it started. With a mini swimming pool inside the car splashing at every movement of the car, we started moving ahead slowly. And believe me, slowly but steadily we reached home. My dear car which helped me reach home on that day, refused to start thereafter and is currently in the workshop undergoing some major repairs.

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