Help…get me out of here!!!

Help…get me out of here!!!

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Friends, there is an interesting story behind this post. I had written a comment in Debra’s blog about my fears and phobias, Debra suggested that I write an article based on my experiences, so here it is. The credit for this post goes to my dear friend Debra El-Ramey.

Help…get me out of here!!!

‘Remember, you are eating for two now’, was the well meaning advice doled out to me by my more experienced mom-friends. I was three months into my second pregnancy and the nausea and other side-effects of the first trimester were a distant memory now. I could eat, I was forever hungry…Ravenous, all the time. I heard eat for two, but to be on the safe side, I ate for four people and gained 20 kilos in six months time.

I have always hated elevators, but as luck would have it, we were allotted a house on the 13th floor and since refusing to take it meant another year’s delay in getting a different house, we took it. I was apprehensive, but resigned to a long trek up the stairs every day, because I just cannot ride in an empty elevator. I need at least one more human being in the lift with me, or I lose my sanity.

Though we did have two operators for the two lifts in the building, they were like the water and electricity supply, one moment here the next gone. With so many power outages, the elevators kept stalling mid way all the time, this heightened my paranoia. My worst nightmare was me getting stuck in an elevator and dying a horrible and agonizing, oxygen-starved death.

I used to dread getting into the elevator and went in only if the operator was there, otherwise I climbed the stairs. In the second trimester I could make it up to the 13th floor with just three breaks in between floors, first five then rest, climb 4 more then rest ,three and home. But seventh month onwards it was a five stop trip home. It was so painful and embarrassing. On lucky days, I would get company going up and I would alight at the floors, the others would, and take the stairs from there.
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There was a pay phone in the lobby and a few notice boards, my modus operandi was to lurk in the lobby and pretend to read the various notices put up there or pretend to make a call, the moment somebody walked towards the elevators, there I was, faster than lightning, but trying to appear unhurried and completely relaxed. I would sweetly enquire, “Which floor?”, and wait with a baited breath for them to say a two digit number so that I didn’t have to climb more than a couple of floors, but most of the times the morons would just say second or fifth floor. My god!! These people were sissies; couldn’t they climb up 5 floors when a very pregnant woman could do it every day? Once in a while some Good Samaritans replied, 12th floor and I could have wept with relief then and kissed them on both the cheeks, god bless them.

A lot of water has flown under the bridge but I am still unchanged in my fear of closed spaces. Trying to make me understand and overcome my irrational fears is an exercise in futility, I am beyond redemption. Kriti Mukherjee, my dear friend and now, also my business partner, lives on the 13th floor too, deja vu…

Whenever I visit her place, which is very often, I call her up from the lobby and she comes down to get me. Her two year old daughter, Agni, whom all address as Guni, also knows that Sulekha aunty is scared to go down in the elevator alone. She accompanies us down when I leave their place, “Mama, I also want to come with you and Sulekha aunty”, bless her innocent and sweet heart.

Friends, the next time you are waiting for an elevator and happen to spot a woman with a crazy and desperate look in her eyes, don’t be alarmed, and just ask her if she wants to ride in the elevator with you. Her gratitude will overwhelm you. It could be me or someone like me, with all her phobias wrapped around her like an invisible cloak. Help her, help me.

 free online image http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images

Lucks aka Sulekha

27 thoughts on “Help…get me out of here!!!

  1. Wow that is some heavy duty climbing you did while pregnant, with all the exercise I am surprised you didn't lose weight.

    All joking aside a fear of elevators is somewhat common, my son doesn't like them. He closes his eyes and hangs on tight to the railing.

    Many don't like the way it feels, while others like you fear being stuck with no air to breath. I used to fear it breaking off it's wire and falling straight to the ground with me in it.

  2. Funny piece,Sulekha.I too hate getting into an elevator by myself. I blame it on the horror flicks that I've watched.But yes if push comes to shove – i do right it alone :-)If i come to Delhi i'll be on the lookout for a woman outside an elevator:))

  3. A very interesting story. It says alot about your phobia that you would rather walk up a dozen flight of stairs when pregnant than step foot in an elevator alone. Most folks in the prime of their life wouldn't take the stairs so you're to be commended for the dedication.

    I'm thankful that Kristi and her daughter are willing to help you as needed. These phobias can be very difficult to cope but I'm glad it doesn't completely control you. I have no fear of elevators but my fear of confined spaces has been getting worse…hoping they don't bury me in a coffin while alive, that would be the worse 🙂 Thanks for another great read!!!!

  4. Sulekkha, you make me feel so much better. When I was pregnant with my 2nd I ate for 4 and gained at least 80 pounds. OMG girl, I didn’t know that the elevators occasionally stalled midway 🙁 This explains everything.

    How amazing that you took fear and turned it into fun – I can see a comedic episode or scene in a movie based on this real-life chapter. Charming story; it gives the reader a glimpse into your psyche – which always makes for good reading 🙂

  5. Sulekha you were strong and brave to face fear…. Am sure it was not funny at the time. Now we can laugh about it…

  6. u are a very brave woman Sulekha,and an extremely honest one too…it shows the strength of your character also..

  7. LOL darling Mitr! Agni and I will climb the elevator with you to heaven if it comes to that ever : ))). Thank you for mentioning me in your precious precious post – my turn to be overwhelmed : )

  8. I didnt know this Outlier. You never mentioned it but I guess where we met we never had the need for an elevator. Some fear you had to take 13 flights of step everyday. I can imagine the desperation, waiting for someone to go up some 2 digit floor so that you didnt have to climb that many flights. Take care sweetheart.

  9. Girls…girls… you gave me an idea to gain weight ;)…just kidding.

    This is very interesting Sulekha. I would've done the same thing (as climbing a flight of stairs) had I the same fear.

    But you are way too bold and strong to do that in your third trimester…

    The only fear I have with elevators, is in case it gets stuck somewhere in the middle of a 30 or 40-storey building. I work on the 17th floor (but it's just 25 storeys in the office) :0

    I'll gladly assist anybody…thanks for making me more sensitive to others' needs be it fear. I hope you overcome it 😉

  10. @Friends,

    Thank you all so much for visiting my blog and taking time out to read and leave such wonderful comments. I appreciate each and every one of your compliments. God bless all…

  11. In the book 'French Women Don't Get Fat' there's a reference to the fact that if we could simply return to common, everyday activities like climbing stairs, etc., we wouldn't need to spend so much time and money at the gym!

  12. NJ, thanks a lot for your compliment and nice to see you here. Can you believe it, I am still terrified of getting into an elevator alone? 🙂

  13. LOL Lucks, didn't know this about you….I know someone who got stuck in an elevator alone for 5 minutes during a power cut, and actually passed out!! 🙂 I loved the bit about the attendants being like water and electricity supply 😀

  14. Swati, missed your comments here…Thanks for the visit and your compliment.Ask Kriti, once she wasn't home and Lona had to come down to get me 🙂

  15. Lol, Jim…welcome back from Alaska, loved your post and pictures.It counts a great deal, especially stuck in an elevator 🙂

  16. Love Kriti's comment. Understand your fear. My father in law got stuck in an elevator once on a NYC high rise and it instilled a fear in him that is still very strong to this day.

  17. What a sweet story!

    When I was 18 yrs. old I moved into a ratty apartment with my BF on the 13th floor in a bad Chicago neighborhood. I had the opposite fear of yours! I took the stairs up 13 flights because I was scared to death to get into the elevator with some of the people who lived in my building — haha!

    Life is wonderfully rich!

  18. Welcome to my blog, you climbed the stairs because you were afraid of getting into the elevator with strange people and I searched for anyone who would accompany me up.

  19. Tameka, thank you so much. Isn't it annoying when you get so affected by certain things which other people take for granted.

  20. Sweet girl, your sense of humor and your candor had me laughing along with you as I read your story! You addressed your irrational fear with honesty and no misplaced drama. It is a fear that you admit to, and you recognize it has very little logical thought behind it. Fear rarely is logical, after all. I don't know if writing this article helped to allay some of the demons, but you certainly entertained with your very deliberate description of your own personal challenge. I promise to keep a weather eye peeled for pregnant women loitering near elevators in the future, and I also sincerely promise to become a helping presence to usher them safely to their destination. Smiling as I write this!


  21. Dawn, I am so happy to see you here. I am terrified of elevators and have yet to conquer my fear. Thank you for smiling and your wonderful compliments.

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