Our neighbour's daughter, who got married recently, came to visit me. "My child, you look upset," I commented.
"Aunty, you are absolutely right. Whenever I plan to move out, my mother-in-law makes stupid enquiries that spoil my mood no end. I feel relieved spending some time away from home. Frankly, I'm so fed up with her nagging attitude that I am seriously thinking of taking up a job, even if the salary is low," she said.
"You allow your mood to be controlled by somebody. You are taking up a job to run away from such unsavoury situations at home, but what will you do if you have to confront such a boss even in your office?" I asked her laughingly. "Aunty, it is a joke for you, but only that person knows who undergoes such mental agony," she said in a child's vein.
Most of us allow others to control our mood, whether it is at home or work place. It happens because steadily we become intolerant to the environment in which we are living. It includes people with whom we live and face in day-to-day life and the situations in which we live. For example, if the flat you bought has seepage and your builder didn't take action and now he is not responding, there is no use spoiling your mood by cursing him whenever it rains. He is too far away to listen to your wails.
Action will work, not mere wailings.
The behaviour of people in such situations differs from man to man. For example, a few start shouting, a few seethe with uncontrollable anger, which gets manifested in their conduct and work. These harm us more than anybody else, including the one who is considered the cause. I think these anecdotes from the lives of two great men can give us a direction.
We all know Socrates was not only a great thinker but also a powerful orator who could address the audience for hours together. Once when he was addressing his friends and admirers at home, he continued for many hours. It was too much for his ill-tempered wife, who took a bucket of ice-cold water and poured it over his head. His friends and admirers were not only shocked but were greatly upset seeing their hero being treated like this. But, Socrates was not like most of us. He projected the incident as an act of timely first aid by his caring wife who had come to know that her husband's head had become very hot after the long talk he had delivered.
Sant Tukaram had also a highly short-tempered wife with little reverence for his greatness. Once when Tukaram was going to the nearby town, she asked him to bring sugarcane. He bought a bundle before leaving back for his village. Being a saint with inborn generosity, he would give one to everyone who would greet him on his way back home. By the time he reached home, he was left with only one piece. It was enough to flare up his wife, who took it and hit it on Tukaram's head with full force. Tukaram replied wittingly to her, "You saved me from taking the trouble of breaking it into two pieces, one for each of us."
Agreed we can't be Socrates or Sant Tukaram, but we can take a cue from these anecdotes for our own good. And this cue is learn to adjust with people with whom we have to live. Life lived with others is life. Our ability lies in building relationships and not in creating fissures. Both India and Pakistan continue to suffer because they have forgotten this simple truth. But to achieve this, we need to keep in mind that it is not possible to have everything perfect. We can live together when we keep in mind our own imperfections and judge others by seeing beyond their imperfections.
You may write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org