30 minutes of eternity in an elevator
Well, this story is not cold and dark just like that of a super villain. Neither it’s about a hero that goes and saves the universe from the destruction. You can think of it as how a “not so famous” anti-hero like Gru becomes a man known to the entire world. But rest assured, the story is true.
As usual, I was bored — reading and researching about the topics related to Software Architecture. Who wouldn’t be after-all? Sitting on the chair and doing coding continuously stresses your mind. And it’s not like that throne from Game of Thrones everyone desires to sit on and get control over the superfluous world. Nature calls and I had to go upstairs; it was a sort of an emergency for me. Even the greatest king, super villain or an anti-hero must bow upon the nature, if not the least.
I don’t know if I should call it my bad luck, but the washroom was occupied. I was on the 6th floor and I was in no state of going for another, the one that lies on the 4th floor, by walking. I decided to go by that mighty elevator I rarely used. (To be honest, I had only used it 3–4 times before that).
The doors slammed (gets closed in a comical way) and after pushing the button to 4th floor, I was resting inside the elevator. Just when I was calming my mind, I heard something. It’s like the elevator hit an emergency brake. I had thought it was mere the power failure. So, for 30 secs or more, I waited for elevator to start. After a minute, I was sure I was stuck in the elevator. So, I tried to revert back to the 6th floor. To my surprise, it didn't work. The lights on both the 6th and the 4th floor buttons were turned on. I did try to hit the “open the door” button. But it failed miserably. By then I had realized I was stuck in an elevator.
After a minute or few, I started yelling “hello. hello”. I banged the door really hard, tapped on the metal plate of the door hoping that somebody would hear me out. I was relieved when I heard some voices outside. So, my yelling got louder and louder. I started to tap intensely on the door. I notified the people outside of my name. Finally, a familiar voice passed through the cage and I yelled at people requesting to just freakingly get me out of it.
People outside made me assure that I would get out after 5 minutes. So, upon hearing that, my panic was lessened. I don’t know (can’t really recall, because I didn’t have my smartphone at that moment) how much time had passed, but I was notified to not press any button in the elevator because power was restarted and so was the elevator system. After few minutes, I started to yell again for the rescue. I knew roughly 5 minutes had passed and I was again in a state of panic. One of the sisters (Salvi) told me it would take 30 minutes for the rescue as they were contacting the elevator-man(I don’t know what I should call him. Mechanic? Elevator-man? Repair-Man? Cable? :D )
Once I heard that it’d take 30 minutes in entirety for my rescue, my panic had started internally. It was not the voice and the yelling that represented the panic, but my mind, my heart and thoughts. My breath started to become intense, short burst. I knew my heart was starting to beat faster. The mind is the real culprit in reality. Negative thoughts were starting to float here and there. I started to think about worst case scenario —
Elevator’s cable breaking down. Oxygen being consumed more and more that might be deadly. Me falling in the free fall. What if I am in a free fall. What should I really do? Should I jump just before the moment of impact? Should I sit down? What if I run out of oxygen? The hole up is so small. I might really suffocate. Should I try to open the upper part of elevator to escape?
These uncanny thoughts started to flow in my mind. At one point, I had imagined my own death and started to remember my loved ones. (This doesn’t include my girlfriend. And yes! I don’t have a girlfriend. I don’t really care about it. :D My loved ones are my family and small circle of friends that care about me). For some seconds, I did visualize the scene from Final Destination and it stuck me really hard.
You see! My panic!. It doesn’t happen to me normally. I am a person with a calm mind. And I don’t panic in any of the bad situations. At least, that’s how I have grown up. My secret power is perseverance/patience. But the situation was quite different inside the elevator. I don’t know if it’s the fear of death or dying without creating a legacy. I have so much to do in my life. And at that moment inside the elevator, my dreams would be doomed. And these type of feelings made my mind more elusive.
I knew having these chaos thoughts and panicking wouldn’t teleport me outside. I was also getting conscious about my short and intense breath. I might really run out of oxygen. So, leaving those thoughts aside I decided to calm my mind. I sat down on the floor. Sat on my meditation pose and started to take long deep breath to calm myself. That’s how I lessened my panic. I always say to people:
Meditation is the key. Have patience. Mind your breath. Stay calm. Stay focused. Stay awesome.
People outside were trying to open the door manually. I heard banging of wood outside. Mukunda sir investing a hard effort for opening the door using the wood. And bingo. I saw the light coming inside from the cracks of the closed door. People could fit a water bottle, mobile phone or any small items through that crack. To my surprise I saw people. Many people. One of the brothers (Suman dai) had asked if I wanted anything such as juice, water, or chowchow. I was in no state of having those items inside. At some point, I tried putting myself into that crack. But it was all in vain. Since I couldn’t trust the electricity, and that the light inside the elevator was going ON and OFF at random times, I requested for my mobile phone inside. So, I got one.
That light through the crack might be a form of satisfaction. But that was secondary. What really made me happy and content was the mass of people outside on the stairs. I could see “many people” who were worrying about me. And that me being trapped in the elevator was not a joke. To be honest, my life has always been a joke. I am a cheerful guy. I don’t usually get irritated and angry. Some of you who are reading this article might know that. I always smile and try to make jokes and make others laugh. This type of personality comes with consequences.
People don’t take you seriously. It’s always about the laugh and the smile I bring. Even in the difficult situation when I don’t mess up certain things, I laugh and it render myself guilty.
After 20 minutes
Just when I got my phone, I took some pictures from inside. Messaged in our company’s slack channel about my situation in the elevator. Most people had thought it was not a deadly one. And had thought that I was trapped from that point when I informed them in the channel. But then, 20 minutes had already passed up-to that point.
People were laughing because I was smiling and laughing and chilling inside. But only I could know about my mental situation. I was in my meditation position and my eyes closed. Some of the people had thought about me starting to faint. Well, nothing could be done either. My mind was stable by then. I saw guards and some unknown people outside. At some point, I was enjoying the serene scene.
5 minutes before the rescue, nothing was really changing. A sister (Barsha didi) in our team called me on my phone just to confirm where I was. I was laughing and the talk was calm. She, too, had thought that it wasn’t a dangerous one. But then, she realized the situation was worse after coming upstairs to see me inside the elevator. Well! It couldn’t be helped really. I always laugh and smile. So, it was inevitable if not the least.
The Judgement Time
There were people telling me not to sleep (especially Nilav dai) who knew about my laziness and my urge to sleep anywhere anytime. As, I was seeing everything outside, people began to become happy for the mighty elevator-man had arrived with the key to open the door. He put the key in the keyhole outside. And just as the gates of washroom opens in times of emergency, the door of the elevator opening made me and the people pretty happy. I stepped outside.
People were yelling. Laughing. Enjoying. The moment of happiness. The moment of freedom for the caged bird.
I felt like a celebrity. (I still feel like a celebrity for I have spoken to many people in the office that I didn’t talk before).
Those 30 minutes of my life. I won’t forget for the rest of my life. Those 30 minutes that seemed like an eternity, forged certain thoughts, certain mindset inside me.
It has taught me about life. About uncertainty. Accidents. Serendipity. Love. Care. Effort. Humanity. And above all about Life, Dreams and Death.
And my friend! Life’s all about happiness, dreams, trust, care and love.