"My wife expired years back," he said.

A hole in my chest. That is exactly what I felt like. I hated myself.

A few years back, when I was in IT, I was given a task to collaborate with a
technical lead to resolve an issue. He was calm and soft-spoken. Not someone who
would enter a debate and convince the customer.

We gelled up ok. The only frustrating thing about him was that he used to work
at his own pace.

I was more dynamic.

This gap in identity sometimes didn't work for us. If we were behind a deadline,
I used to end up being angry, blaming him for the delay.

He never reacted. Always had a smile on his face.

One day, when we missed a deadline, I ended up asking him, why are you so slow?
Why it seems that you are preoccupied and not focused on your work?

I pushed him for an answer.

"My wife expired years back," he said. "My mom and dad who are very old, take
care of my small kids when I am in the office. I can't do much as I have to
balance professional and personal life, which becomes a challenge sometimes."

My world came crashing down. As far as I remember, there were tears in his eyes.

How could I be so ignorant?

The respect for him just skyrocketed from that day.

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