I had overslept, courtesy the endless greed that led me from one episode to another of FRIENDS the previous night. I obviously woke up late cursing myself for missing another day at gym. I tried to skip breakfast to save time, but eventually ended having a heavy one. It was mid-march and it was humid as hell. It didn’t help that I sweated like a pig. Before I could take stock, the beads of perspiration that had gathered below my neck had started to snow ball across the contour of my body, adding more than a pinch of salt to my shirt that was damp in patches in no time. This didn’t help the fact that I already had anger issues and all it required to get triggered was an empty box to fall from a shelf.
So, yeah, it was in this blissful state of just-about-to-burst-from-my-skin that I took the road to work that day. Boy…were the vehicles non-moving, like permanent fixtures. I pressed and pumped at everything in reach to vent out. Some endeavors sounded like honks and others came out as cuss words. But I ensured one thing, that everyone around me on my way to work felt nasty or hasty, much like I did.
And tell you what. I was late by only ten minutes that day and my Boss hadn’t even come. I needn’t have been as spiteful I thought in hindsight. Well at least, not yelled at a dog that was perched on a platform. But that day continued to spiral just one way, downwards.
I fought with my colleagues over lunch with entitlement that sprung from a rationale that, sweaty men needed empathy over others. I not so humbly, disagreed with my boss, oblivious to the repercussions.
If work went this way, date was the dessert. I picked up an argument with this girl I was supposed to impress for no consequential reason. Probably something like Robert Downey Junior being over-rated. I stormed out of the coffee shop over, not before creating a scene over a person I only knew as moving images.
It took me sometime under the shower and some solitude facing my bedroom wall, to wake up to realization of the things I had done and undone and the people I had hurt in the process. Without any second thoughts, I called up individuals I had hurt to apologize for the arsehole that I was to them. And most of them seemed to be okay. But damage had been made, only repair could be attempted.
If only I was as wise, I wouldn’t have had an encore of the same day with a different starting point, a week later.
Most of us get so involved in a sub-plot, that we almost overlook the story itself. Take the case of the state of agitation that comes along with being stuck in traffic on way to work or a date.
We lose our temper, soon our sanctity over things that we don’t control like say a minister’s convoy that is awaited, Sun’s scorching heat or a two way road that has been blocked one way, en-route the destination.
These are ancillary to an end product. What we end up doing more often than not is, getting sucked into the emotions that these ancillary processes entail, to derail from the pursuit of the significant end. As a result we end up blowing our lids on the road over an attempt to put some traffic sense into an unruly commuter, bartering with the sanity and intellect reserved for a more purposeful place. So we finally end up at the place which we started to be at-say office, disgruntled and empty.
We as a species are gregarious balls of energy. Energy here is an absolute resource, neither good nor bad, like electricity. We radiate energy, over every process or interface. And depending on the mood that precedes or prevails over the process or the interface, it comes across as either positive or negative energy.
While positive energy is influx to the collective bandwidth, negative energy is expenditure from it, the consumption of which depends on the intensity or duration of emotional display.
What we do when we lose our temper bickering over trivial matters is we not only expend energy earmarked for a larger purpose, but expend it as negative, leaving a significant dent on our reservoir, that starts to develop fissures with every such act to finally break down some day to a condition people call-mental instability.
It doesn’t matter if a rich person buys his way out of a queue leading to a temple. Yes, it isn’t in line with egalitarianism, but it isn’t worth spoiling the peace of mind from the much larger process of prayer that awaits.
Let a politician make a derogatory remark about your idol or let India lose an important cricket match. Taking to social media jingoism with misplaced righteousness is just not worth spoiling your equilibrium over. All the more if it deprives you of the pleasure of enjoying a well prepared meal ,casual conversation with a close one.or even a few hours of sleep.
For what matters in the evening of life are the moments that take your breath away, that constitute the thin line between existence and living. To let the moments sway, one ought to be at peace with the self. A state of mind that thrives on willful occupation in more positive moments than negative. A practice that comes with well mused awareness without suspension of the intellect or a compromise of the conscience.
I’m reminded of this wonderful prayer from my Dad’s office cabin which goes –
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.