A Calmer You, by Sonal Kalra: How to get even with odd people
There’s no need to tolerate irritating people when you can irritate them back!Updated: Jan 18, 2020 15:14 IST
Disclaimer: Some of you would write hate mail to me after this one. At least the boring ones out of you will. And you’ll give me gyaan on how we are not supposed to respond in the same coin if someone behaves badly. And actually you won’t be wrong in saying that. We’ve all grown up on moral science lessons about patiently waiting for bad to turn good someday. But aisa hai, while that logic may be right when it comes to serious stuff in life, it’s the minor day-to-day irritants that allow us the unmatchable fun of being able to get even. I’m gonna talk about a few irritants today.
Since some of you have rightly guessed that I stay perpetually annoyed with most things, I decided to not use my biased judgment on these rants. I simply asked some of my friends to take a poll on some highly irritating ‘body-language’ habits people exhibit in public. The top three turned out to be unmentionable here, considering this is a saaf-suthra family newspaper. If, at this point, you mockingly turn to the back page with a raised eyebrow, I will be forced to remind you about that page’s crucial contribution in reassuring you time and again that you can indeed have a family. Coming back to the point, here are four annoying kinds of people that irritate the hell out of those around them. Let’s give it back this time...
1. Stare-stalkers: These people can almost make a living out of staring at others, in public. Just like that. Maybe because God gave them eyes. Maybe because he forgot to add that those eyes need not be fixed on people’s faces. Be it at a bus-stop or in a crowded metro, five minutes won’t pass before you spot a bonafide member of the stare-stalker community. You usually look away and keep feeling agitated within. Next time it happens, don’t punish your own blood pressure. Widen your eyes, raise your eyebrows and stare back, without blinking. Till everyone’s attention is on the one staring. Your eyes may water, you may feel weird but do.not.blink.
Remind yourself that you owe it to the society to scare or embarrass a stare-stalker out of work forever. If he/she doesn’t back off at this, try blinking your eyes rapidly, looking straight at them. That usually does it, as long as you know the difference between blinking and winking. Warning: Those who wear contact lenses, please don’t try this or you’ll curse me. Also, not recommended if the other person looks very shady, as he may just consider your action to be an invite of sorts. For clarity, refer to the Shakti Kapoor or Gulshan Grover look in your head. Sometimes, having fun at the expense of the annoyance also happens to do the trick. Once I saw a girl in the metro, who seemed fairly irritated by the constant staring of a middle-aged man. She suddenly decided to take him on, and while everyone expected a show-down, she suddenly covered her face with her hands, then lowered them slowly to reveal her face to the starer, and said peek-a-boo. I can’t describe the look on that man’s face as he hastily retreated.
2. Leg shakers: These kind of people may or may not know how to dance, but one of their legs surely does. Maybe because of constant practice. No matter whether they are in public transport or in a business meeting, they don’t stop shaking their leg, even if it means sending earthquake like vibrations to those sitting next to them.
Medical science has a name for the condition — the restless leg syndrome — and attributes it to some pent-up nervous energy or simply an adolescent habit that stuck forever. Once a guy came over to my office for a meeting. The fact that he sat flat on his back in such a manner that his legs would have reached Bihar is still forgivable, but then he started shaking one of them while talking about some really serious work-related matter. Maybe this was a unique test by God to see if I can hold forth my concentration while the furniture around me gets a mini epileptic seizure. I failed miserably. And ended up asking him if he needed something...err...like a flower pot to put on his leg so that it could stop moving. He didn’t find it funny but that bothers me less than how much the shaking leg would be bothering everyone around him everyday. Tell them to stop and take a walk to utilise the energy. If the dancing leg belongs to a colleague or classmate who you have to sit next to everyday, consider slapping the leg into senses. As an ultimate resort, get up and hug the leg, begging it to stop. Warning: Please do this action discreetly or you could end up looking like a dog in heat if their leg continues to shake.
3. The knuckle-crackers: You know this annoyance normally goes un-discussed but a lot of my friends mentioned it as the thing that bugs the hell out of them. When people suddenly start cracking the knuckles of their fingers one by one, making that weird ‘pop’ noise each time. Why, some people even crack their neck or back when they get up after staying in a position for long. Great indulgence if you are alone, but OMG, it’s the most Godawful noise, and sight, for the person sitting next to you. If someone does that around you any longer, take out a notebook and pen and tell them you are ready to keep a record of how many of their 206 or more joints have popped so far. Tell them that you love the sound and won’t rest in peace till you get them an award for having an entire orchestra inside their body. It’ll work.
4. The nose-pickers: Do I need to elaborate on this one? Really? Keep a torch handy. The moment they start digging for the treasure, volunteer to help them look for it. Tell them you are willing to even try taking it out for them if they agree to give you 50%. Sorry, that was gross. But needed.
Sonal Kalra plans to write a book on how utterly boring life would be if everyone behaved with good manners. Mail her, if you agree, at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/sonalkalra13. Follow on Twitter @sonalkalra.