In addition to my clinical duties, I have to occasionally indulge in administrative duties, which despite the fancy words merely refers to refereeing my subordinates while they slash each other. So I walk in this morning to find a landmine waiting for me, a perfect trap set by one of my juniors to make me blow up in the face of another. The scene had been prepared carefully, the dialogues were pitch perfect- enough to make any normal man explode in anger and punish the offending culprit. My instigator was foaming at the mouth “do it sir, do it, this time you have to take action, we cannot let this kind of behavior go on any longer, we have to make an example this time”. As I said, enough to make any normal person give a memo/call for explanation immediately. Any normal person. Not me.
I have this curious habit of thinking things through even when I am under great pressure, even when someone is screaming in my ear. They say the best soldiers perform calmly even when the bombs are falling all around them, bullets are whizzing past their ears. Unfortunately, I have never had the chance to be in a combat situation, so I don’t know if I will panic or stay calm. But in all other non-combat situations my mind stays grounded. Besides I am a great believer in the concept of “audi alteram partem” or “hear the other side” and in the absence of the nominal offender and without inquiring her side of the story, I was reluctant to take action and present her with an adverse order on arrival. After all, it would be more proper to chew the person out verbally first and then do the needful, I reasoned.
And so after asking the accuser to calm down and leave it to me decide on the proper course of action, I decided to involve myself in the daily routine of work which had got stalled with this diversion. By and by, I started thinking things through, piercing stuff together and with judicious inquiry among the others around the department, I finally understood that I was about to have made myself a donkey that morning. The entire thing had been the result of a personal vendetta between two warring parties and one of them had set a trap for the other on the occasion when the accused party would be late and not be able to defend herself and counting on me to the dirty work of actually taking action and facing the ire of everyone once the issue explode beyond the confines of our department. In chess terms, a check had been placed on me.
Nobody fools around with good-natured, good old me, can they? In minutes I had a counter plan ready and calling in the accuser of the morning, I told her in no uncertain terms that although I was in overall in-charge, she (along with the other) was the one directly responsible for the state of affairs and in the absence of the other I had no option but to punish the accuser and proceeded to issue a call for explanation memo to the trap setter. Biter bit. Checkmate..Look on her face. Priceless.
The point I am trying to make in this post is that the only thing which saved me from exploding a grenade in my face was my anger management, my lack of temper, my self-control or whatever you want to call it. I am very, very slow to anger, so slow that I probably do it maybe once in five years or so. And then I do it, because everyone around tells me that it’s good to let go off your anger rather than bottle it up and so I give myself permission to act angry, for others sake if not for mine. Believe me it’s so hard to act angry or pissed off when you are just not feeling it and you are only laughing your head off inside.
People close to me have always been astonished at my self-control and lack of anger (in contrast to the rest of the family- all of them Rayalseeema Chilli like hot to anger – swear death, revenge and vendetta types) and have praised me for it as if its voluntary, but it’s not. I don’t consciously do it. I somehow find the funny side of everything, even if it’s me being made fun off. When you are laughing inside you cannot be angry. My sister has over the years accused me of being a cold fish with no passion or emotion. But she is absolutely wrong. She hasn’t seen me in love. I am as a passionate as the next man when it comes to the finer emotions. Just this anger and short temper seems to elude me.
Come to think of it, when I was in school, I regularly used to get in trouble with my teachers because they thought I was making fun of them or smiling sarcastically at their lessons. I tried and tried all through my school life to explain that I had a natural smiling face (like the Joker in Batman) and I went from morning to night with a smile/laugh on my face and it was nothing personal and I wasn’t criticizing their teachings. But they never believed me. They used to complain that I was making them uncomfortable and often I had to stand outside the classroom till I could frame my face into a sad expression. For a long time in my life I used to wake up with a smile on my face, go through the day with it and go to bed smiling. Life was not meant to be taken too seriously for me.
Anyway nowadays whenever we go to see a girl for my arranged marriage, my mom takes it upon herself to explain my personality to the girl’s parents. I suspect she does it because she doesn’t want them to think that the smile on my face is a sign of unqualified approval of the girl. She tells them that I am a calm type and I never get angry and in fact she has never seen me get angry in all these years (a slight exaggeration/a white lie) and she expects that the girl is calm too. For this is one condition that I have insisted on while selecting a girl for me. So any calm, quiet girls out there? Please mail me with your EQ scores
My point is, I cannot abide people with short tempers, the raging, foaming types. Even in my friends circle, I always cut off those who cannot keep their temper in check. I strongly believe that people who say certain things and afterwards blame it on their being angry words (or on drunkenness) are LYING. Flat out. They wanted to say it, but didn’t have the guts to say it sober or calm and hence try to excuse their behavior with a convenient fall guy- their short temper. I am certainly inflexible in this belief and I would rather have no company than the company of someone with a short fuse with whom you have to hold back and walk carefully all the time. Its too stressful and life is short. Adios.
P.S. My sister often curses playfully, that I will get a mate, (fate?) who will be the very opposite of me, a raging cursing, foaming, rabid girl…I just pray it wont happen..or I might just finally get angry myself.