It was one of those rare days that will go down the annals of my universe’s history with glory. Pappu Singh, Chaddha ji, Bubbly Aunty and I were sitting within the radius of two meters and everything was still peaceful. What made the situation a perfect dream was when Chaddha ji said something and everyone actually understood. It seemed surreal, as if peace had suddenly returned to every corner of the world, including Iraq. <b1>
And then he walked in. Ill-fitted trousers, cropped moustache and Gandhi chashma. Chhottu announced his arrival at the dhaba whispering ‘teeli uncle aa gaye’. Before I could ponder upon the pun in a surname like ‘teeli’, Chaddha ji made a gesture which informed me that ‘teeli'’wasn’t this person’s name, Chhottu was calling him a ‘matchstick’. And I was to soon find out why.
He went up to Pappu Singh and asked for a Coke. Pappu Singh, not looking him into the eye, said Coca Cola was finished and could he give Pepsi instead. At this point, Bubbly Aunty made the grave mistake of intervening for no reason and said ‘ek hi baat hai’ (it means the same thing). Teeli uncle then turned and spoke, and I instantly knew Bubbly aunty would have to a look for a cover. “What the *** do you mean?” Have I asked you for your opinion? What kind of a buffoon could say that Coke and Pepsi mean the same thing. And surprisingly you look educated,” blasted Mr Teeli and suddenly all the peace from the world was gone. “Why are you raising your voice Mister, I wasn’t even talking to you,” retorted Bubbly aunty, foolishly thinking that I could save her if teeli blew up. “If you are not talking to me, why interfere in what I ordered. Women have no sense of when to speak up,” thundered Teeli (thunder reminding me of why he didn’t ask for Thumbs Up). Pappu Singh and Chaddha ji made a collective effort of trying to diffuse the situation by a loud ‘jaane do ji’.
Anyway, the long and short of it is that a lot of us these days are walking and talking teelis. Always on a short fuse, ready to blow up at the smallest of provocations, sometimes even that isn’t required. We may try to find justification of this behaviour in anything — bad traffic, insensitive boss, slow waiters, inattentive spouse or even the now fashionable recession — but we know that the problem lies somewhere inside us. And the sufferers in the long run would also be only us. A US study on depression and anger revealed that people on a short fuse “are always sitting on their arteries,” which constrict in response to stress hormones that spew forth from their adrenal glands.
The calmness trick this week is to save yourself from self damage by finding humour in every situation.
Sonal Kalra thinks getting angry can never be justified. What?…you don't agree? You *%$@&*! Go to H**. Send your calmness tricks to her at firstname.lastname@example.org