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Follow the Anger

This is personal. I thought about it and found the whole process very interesting. Hence, sharing. Please read to find out.

Before going into the personal details, let me bring two movie scenes into the context.

Munnabhai MBBS (Hindi, 2003) - Munna’s parents travel from their village to where Munna stays. Their arrival at the railway station is eventful as it involves Hari Prasad Sharma, Munna’s father, foiling an attempted pickpocket upon himself. The onlookers quickly jump in and start the bashing the life out of the culprit. Before things go bloody, Hari Prasad intervenes and frees the guy. He asks him to observe the anger built up within the crowd. ‘Someone has come fighting with their spouse. Someone’s son has disobeyed him. Someone is fed up of the rampant corruption while someone else is fuming over the cricket team’s failure. And they are all going to lash out their frustration on you.’

Maheshinte Prathikaram (Malayalam, 2016) - There is a brilliant, well executed, a much-discussed scene in this movie which shows a series of events all triggered by a small spark of frustration and confusion. Everything kicks off at a funeral as a feud between two men over confusion regarding who is supposed to look after a piece of land owned by someone living abroad. As the feud turns bitter, someone tries to mediate and ends up getting blamed by both parties in the end. Angry, he rushes out and cycles recklessly, almost colliding with another cyclist in the process. The second cyclist averts and in turn hits a man carrying a sack of gooseberries. Both of them falls and the berries are spread all over the place, which are then picked by a gang of kids returning from school. Obviously, in a terrible mood over his loss, he returns home and asks his wife for some water. His wife, not expecting him at that time and glued to a TV soap, does not respond. This enrages the man so much that he shouts at the neighbors and goes on to beat his wife. Scared, the neighbors inform the wife’s brother. The brother tries to phone his sister, however, he does not have enough balance on his phone. All worried, he rushes to the nearby store to recharge his phone. A man was already at the store for a drink when he rushes in. Seeing his hurry, the shopkeeper tends to him first, which enrages the other guy. A scuffle breaks out. This goes on to set the major plot device for the movie.

Time to get into the personal stuff. It is a mess. You have been warned.

My sister has come home for a month long vacation after a grueling exam session. Spirited to try something new, she had set her mind on coloring her hair blue. She bought a shade and fixed an appointment with the hair stylist. All went fine, except that the hair looks kinda the same even after the process Exactly the same, would represent the truth better. Needless to say, she was in blues. Except you could not see it. (Excuse the pun).

It’s our mother’s birthday. Buying her a gift is a tedious process, due to multiple reasons. First, she seldom expresses interests. Second, she has strict reservations about spending money. So, it is difficult to decide. As I sat back and worked on what she would like, I remembered how she used to express interest for a juicer. That’s it, I thought. I asked her and she approved. Cool. My father asks me to buy one online. I turn hesitant as I have no real knowledge about juicers, and believed it would be better to buy one from a real store. He doesn’t approve of my position and laughs it off.

We go to a nearby store, see some models. I didn’t like the one my father liked. He didn’t like the model I liked. The model all of us liked was obviously beyond the budget. Then he gives up saying it’s my choice (probably since I am the one paying). We end up buying the model he preferred. A fair deal if you check the price.

We exit the store and rush to the nearby hypermarket to buy stuff. Fruits, mainly because we are super excited about the juicer. Not just fruits, though. My sister had cravings for “Merriboy Tender Coconut” ice cream. We look for it but for no avail. Ended up buying another brand. Felt like missing something. More disappointment, even though nothing compared to what we felt after trying out the new juicer.

To be fair on the juicer, it worked the way it is designed to be. It’s just that our expectations were different. Too much pulp discarded as waste. Too little juice. Instantly, we knew this one would be a dud in a house where everyone loves eating fruits.

Kinda dejected, we think of supper. Here comes the Kashmir problem. Very tricky, very complex. My sister had planned on making chicken noodles for supper. She had checked with mother and had gotten the go-ahead as we had finished off the rice during lunch itself. So she sat there expecting noodles. That’s when mom remembered about the leftover breakfast and chapatis from last night. Those would be wasted if not used tonight. Very logically, she decides to use those for supper and save noodles for another day.

Now my sister is oblivious of this development and has mentally prepared for noodles when mom announces the change of plans. Already sad about the botched hair job, she reacts in her signature style. Let me say that she is not exactly known for being mellow and mincing words. She is being logical because she had checked with mom beforehand so the last minute changes are beyond her comprehension. Also, tomorrow is Shiv Ratri and that means no chicken noodles. More importantly, she is not aware of the reasons that drove the change in decision. She asks for the reasons, quite fiercely so.

Bad hair day meets ill-spent money day. The exchanges are not really calm. My father and I, both frustrated by various stuff throughout the day, too joins in, only to worsen things. The standoff ends with my sister announcing that she needs no food.

It is to be noted that three of us, with the exception being the mom, has vented out some of their frustration through the raising of our voices. My mom calls me and we make some noodles anyway. Shortly afterward, we all have our supper. A disturbing silence looms large. Quite expectedly, my sister breaks down.

Usually, I choose to keep myself uninvolved during emotional situations, but today I decided to step in. I ask her what’s wrong. She bursts into tears saying nobody understands her, both at home and at work. She tries hard she says. Despite all the emotional setting, I found it strangely funny when she told me that she was sad about her not being like me. I found it funny because I was thinking of the exact opposite some time back. Remember how I mentioned my father laughing at my preference for buying the juicer offline. I wanted to explain my lack of knowledge and also question the smirk, but I could do neither. When someone does not try to understand me, I feel hurt and the questions in my head do not come out. I just reason to myself in my mind and sit there silent. My sister does the exact opposite. She explains her stand clear. The tone is not always pleasing and the immediate reaction would be terrible, but her points do get registered in due time. I have the same piece of advice for my sister and Ranveer Singh. You guys could tone down a bit, and things would be infinitely better. Anyway, I envy this quality of her and then she tells me that she wants to be more like me. Hell no, girl. Even I do not want to be more like me. A classic instance of the whole greener grass scenario, perhaps.

It should be fair to say that anger is like fire. It usually starts with a trivial spark, then builds up on little things, consuming stuff in its way. If you could backtrack your steps and follow your anger, there is a good chance you could see that the whole thing was set up by something totally unrelated to what you are angry about right then.

Look beyond the lines of argument you put forward,
behind the sets of defense you surround yourself with, 
between the shifting of blames you were engaged in, 
and you shall find the truth.

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