“Why you keep dropping your pencil?”. My Mom chided me.

“What is wrong in dropping a pencil?” — I thought to myself.

This habit of dropping pencil while the teacher gets engrossed in the class continued. It was a momentary fun to escape from the world of mathematics or history to a world of solitude. Until one day when a teacher noticed me and called me for a talk.

Blaming myself for not being careful, I entered the teacher’s cabin.

“I know you love dropping pencil. But you know what happens during that time. You miss something important in the lesson. The point which you can capture and keep it in your mind forever whiskers away and you toil yourself to get that point grilled into your mind”.

Teacher made her point. I realised the mistake only when the marks were out. Pencil dropping stopped. or at least I thought so.

Last week, My wife attended District Annual Toastmasters Conference in Bahrain. I went to pick her after the conference. She was jubilantly describing the events to me, when I noticed my son doing some tricks in the car. My attention got distracted and I told my son to stop doing that.

He got upset. But that was not the only thing that happened. My wife got upset.

“You always do this whenever I talk. If you are not interested in the first place, why pretend listening”

“No, I am still listening to you”

“I cannot speak now as you spoiled the conversation” She shut down the conversation.

Is this a pencil dropping moment. Yes, it is.

How many times we do come across such pencil dropping moments in our daily life. Some of the pencil dropping moments that I have experienced (Actually, I am the culprit in few cases)

People playing with mobile phones while having conversation .

People checking emails while having a discussion.

People leaving the conversation in the middle to have another chat with someone else.

People answering mobile phones while in a conversation without even bothering to apologize.

When we submit ourselves to our mind wandering in some place else while someone else is intently and intensely engaged in a meaningful conversation with us. Are we adding meaning to the conversation and the relationship or do we allow the pencil dropping moment to rob us the joy of engaging relationship.

I do have this habit of checking mails while attending phone calls. One of my colleague commented “Something interesting happened or is there a new mail that has disturbed you”. It hit me straight in my face. I stopped reading mails while answering phone calls from then on.

What are the Pencil Dropping Moments that keeps repeating in your life and what action you want to take to avoid these moments.

Originally published at medium.com