A roll of police tape (police line) lies on the ground outside a home being foreclosed on in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2009.
Courtesy of Wikipedia

On Friday night, shortly after returning from a wonderful concert featuring Brian McKnight at the Strathmore not far from my home, I turned on the news to see what breaking events I may have missed. It was the day after I’d celebrated my 62nd birthday and while I had thoroughly enjoyed the show, I was feeling a bit lonely. I was feeling a bit disappointed because the pandemic had made it impossible for me to celebrate with my children, my grandsons, my sister, my family, my friends, someone — anyone — who loved me and cared.

So, yes, I was in my feelings as they say. Meanwhile, the news alert addressed a tragedy that had occurred at a local bank, Capital One earlier that afternoon. While details remained sketchy, it seemed that a Maryland man had been taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder after committing an unbelievable crime. For reasons unknown, he had struck his wife with their SUV as she exited the bank on New Hampshire Avenue as attempted to cross the parking lot.

The heinous act failed to interrupt my plans as I poured myself a glass of wine and prepared to snuggle on the couch with my two best friends, my dogs. So, when I finally looked at the television screen, I was shocked to see that I recognized the man who had committed the dastardly deed. He was the co-owner of a popular beer and wine store located one short block away from my home.

I screamed in disbelief, telling myself that this had to be a mistake. Surely, this could not be the husband-and-wife business owners who I knew and whose store I had frequented hundreds of times over the past four years.

But as more details were revealed, it became clear that Alka Himanshu Tanna, 59, of Silver Spring, had indeed struck and killed his wife, Himanshu Maganlal Tanna, 59, using the couple’s car as the deadly weapon.

Montgomery County Police reported that the husband had accelerated and struck his wife several times before eventually crashing into a nearby lamppost.

In the days that followed, many people placed flowers outside of the store which still remains closed. Later, I learned that Mr. Tanna was being held in police custody without bail and was being evaluated for potential mental problems prior to his court appearance scheduled for soon.

A statement which he made to the police allegedly said he killed his longtime wife because he suspected that she had been taking money out of their funds which they kept at home that totaled more than $200,000.

He said they’d been having financial difficulties but with that kind of money — I don’t know how. But, I digress.

I can’t say I knew the couple all that well. But I liked the wife. The husband, on the other hand, was routinely gruff, almost never polite and rarely spoke in English, choosing instead to speak their native language, presumably an Indian dialect given their appearance and the few pieces of art that were displayed in the store.

I found myself wishing that I had ignored his frigid attitude and demeanor which I had come to assume was based on his dislike for Black men like me or his resentment of Americans. I wished I had ignored his attitude and engaged more with him, like I had with his wife. He had always seemed to have something on his mind and sometimes I felt compelled to either challenge him or to encourage him.

I was angry with myself for ignoring what I felt in my spirit as I had not been obedient when God spoke to me about this couple. I think I had been too caught up in my own “stuff” — my own concerns and fears and anxiety of the future, particularly given how my own life had changed due to the pandemic.

Since hearing the news, I have made it a point to include Mrs. Tanna in my prayers. I hope she did not suffer much before her death. I pray for their family especially their sons who I had met only once. But I also pray for Mr. Tanna as well.

And I have learned a valuable lesson. In these days in which we must multi-task at breakneck speeds, many of us have begun to abandon the most precious thing about being human: the ability to form friendships, build relationships and the joy which comes from doing so.

Instead of calling our friends, family or co-workers to ask what they’re up to, how they’re feeling or what’s on their minds, we simply shoot them a quick text or email, believing that these kinds of messages suffice. But they don’t. They’re too impersonal for my taste.

You can’t look into the eyes of someone when you’re texting. You can’t hear their voice and discern their joy, sorrow or frustration when you’re only communicating via email.

A song I remember from my days in the gospel choir at Big Bethel AME Church in Atlanta, “I’m Available to You,” said our hands, our voices, our entire bodies are to be used in God’s service — to hug, to offer a word of encouragement, to help someone who has fallen down, to lift up a little child who cannot walk on their own.

That’s what we’ve stopped doing. We rarely utilize that which distinguishes us from animals — the human touch and the power it yields.

Take time, my friends, to smell the roses, even if it’s temporarily through a mask.

And when you’ve enjoyed that moment, help someone else do the same.

D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents in their struggles with Alzheimer’s,...

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1 Comment

  1. Wow, such great perspective of being vigilant and cognizant of listening to the Holy Spirit, even when it goes against the grain of your current emotional environment or season.

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