How often do you keep your cool when some stranger hits in your head with a rolled booklet? Have you ever had such experience at all? I did! A couple of days back! And I totally kept my cool!
This happened at the career fair. After standing in long queues, I got tired and came back to the lobby to have a seat. Ahh. The plush comfort of the couch! What can be more satisfying than having a coke in a couch? Apparently, checking my email was ! So I took my iPod touch out and started reading email.
Suddenly someone hit me on my head. I was startled for a moment. I quickly looked up to see which of my pestering friends it was, but to my further surprise, it was a total stranger. She froze for a moment. I had a temptation to shout “Someone call 911. I’m being attacked!” in typical Deepak-style. But I thought there were way too many people there, and someone might panic.
Anyway, after the moment of shock sunk in, the lady started apologizing to me. Apparently, the top view of my head looked like that of someone she knew. I was looking down as I was reading email, so my face apparently was not that visible. The only thing I felt about the whole “mishap” was amusement. Now, that was interesting. Because, had this happened 5 years back, I would have been real angry… even if it was a stranger.
There used to be a time when I used to get angry very easily. I used to scare away a great deal of people, who thought that I was not worthy of their friendship because I was rude. But only I knew that I was not rude. It was just… I would get angry very fast. But as if to counter that shortcoming, I never ever held a grudge against anyone. I would forget that in a matter of hours.
I have become better and better at curbing my anger, since my undergraduate days, and although I haven’t rooted it out yet, I can be happy that the last time I got angry at anyone was several months ago. There have been three key people who have helped me get better at controlling my rage.
Deepu Chandran, who has been a great friend of mine, even after I did this to him. He has advised me a great deal on the need to remain calm, and how to do it.
My father, who I consider an epitome of calmness. I have never seen him get angry in his life. (Although he acts like he is angry sometimes, for example, when he doesn’t get food on time, he is a really bad actor.)
Thirdly, my mother, who is a good example that you can control your anger if you try hard. Recalling my childhood days, I remember that she used to be really short tempered. But nowadays, I would say she can give my dad a run for his money. She once said that one important thing in keeping your anger at bay was to not attach yourself to anything materialistic.
I have understood through the course of time how important is it to prevent yourself from getting angry. Anger, as I know it, doesn’t help in anything productive. It only lengthens the distance between two people. It doesn’t ease your tension. It doesn’t free your mind. It is an unnecessary and potentially dangerous vestige of human nature. I strive to be free of anger all the time.
Looking at this incident, I’m sure I have improved a lot. I was initially apprehensive about whether I was just not showing my anger because it was a stranger or because it was a girl. But I asked myself, if I was angry inside, about the incident, and the answer was “Not at all!”