PK | Dec 26, 2009
Have you noticed how some people can speak their part only in outbursts of some kind? They would be otherwise nice, sane people going about their lives in a circular routine that they have built around themselves. Yet, under their calm exterior there is always some undercurrent of judgmental thoughts flowing quietly which keep them perpetually irritated about something or the other.
I have noticed this in myself when I am driving. The need to focus on whatever others are doing is so strong to avoid collisions because in Delhi one drives by the rule that if there is space one has to go in and fill it up or worse if you have a bigger car, your self-importance gives you the right to go ahead first. This creates a situation where you have to drive with one eye on the rear-view mirror and the other three eyes on the left, front and right. Of course there is also this continuous analysis that is humming inside the brain. And every now and then, the perceived stupidity of the other guy vents itself out in expletives.
So coming back to our original premise, we need to consider the why and why-nots of the situation. The question is why some people speak their part only in anger; and this is not just anger, it is also laced with a heavy dose of indignation. Indignation presupposes that the person has been wronged and has been made to suffer due to the unworthy actions of the other guy. This also presupposes that some sort of judgment has already been passed. So, I can safely say that the person speaking out in hot flashes is not being pragmatic, he has not bothered to listen to both sides of the story and feels so strongly that he has been wronged that there is no space for discussions in the situation. The situation is exacerbated by the person‚Äôs need to not only prove his point but also teach the other malefactor a lesson even if it has to be drilled into his head. This I suppose is what they call road rage when it happens on the highway.
How we tend to work ourselves very often into a lather for nothing is beautifully illustrated by a story I read many years ago. It was titled ‚ÄúWant to borrow a jack?‚Äù
A motorist had a puncture somewhere out of town and was appalled to discover that there was no jack in his car. Now at the unearthly hour of 4 in the early morning where would he find the assistance needed and that too in the middle of the country side. Let‚Äôs not forget that this story comes from a time when cell phones were not invented. So although his head was brimming with anger against all the people who could have done this to him, he was cool-headed enough to look around. In the distance he noticed a light and decided to walk towards it. Soon it became obvious that he was approaching a farmhouse. This got him thinking. ‚ÄúWhat if the farmer does not open the door? He must surely be sleeping and will be upset at being disturbed at this hour of the night. But my need leaves me with no option but to knock at his door so to hell with the farmer. The farmer can always say no and that will be that and people are so unhelpful anyway nowadays, etc.‚Äù¬† By the time he reached the farmer‚Äôs door he had already worked out his case against the disturbance he was going to cause. If only the poor city-slicker had any idea that farmers get up rather early and are generally the most helpful kind of people on earth as they are deeply in tune with nature‚Äôs vagaries. Anyway this motorist knocks on the farmer‚Äôs door and the farmer opens the door. But before anything could be said the motorist blurts out: ‚ÄúNow are you going to give me the jack or not?‚Äù
Why are we in such a hurry to prejudge? Why do we feel superior enough to be judgmental with so much righteousness? The other day I was back in my old school which is an ashram where the morning hours are for meditation and no other activity is encouraged especially in the meditation area and near it. I was sitting there; it was six in the morning. Just then an old lady comes, sees the latest newspaper daily around nearby, left by another ashramite and asks me to tell her the cricket score. So I pick up the paper and open it. After all if the old lady is more interested in cricket scores and meditation is not her forte, who am I to judge? But before I could do my good karma, an old teacher of mine passes by and immediately scolds me for reading the paper in the meditation area! Boy, I was so amused. It was so much like my childhood when I was being scolded for something or the other, never heard nor given a chance to explain. I left immediately and went to the sea beach nearby to cleanse myself of the indignation that this teacher had injected in my atmosphere.
When people burst out in an immature manner after living on this earth for so long, I do wonder if they have learnt anything at all. Why can‚Äôt they, even if they have been apparently wronged, keep their cool and state their case without anger?
Our courts would not be so filled with cases and divorces would diminish in numbers if they did so. Everyday skirmishes would turn into studious discussions.
I am reminded of this saying by Isaac Asimov ‚Äì‚ÄúViolence is the last refuge of the incompetent.‚Äù And I will leave it here for you to judge!
Pradeep Maheshwari is a Delhi-based author, personal¬†growth frainer and marketing consultant.
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