Disclaimer – This dialogue is neither a figment of imagination nor a real one; and the same applies to the characters as well. The character MAnvi is one I see myself in, though at times different. Her thAthA is one who seems much familiar. Much of these dialogues are a trigger from a book or a discourse by Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Any error in the way I have blogged upon, on any aspect is due to an error in my understanding alone.
When MAnvi’s thAthA stepped into his room, he saw MAnvi sitting on the floor, with her knees tucked close to her chest and her arms clasped around her knees. Her posture gave him the impression that she was in deep thought.
MAnvi (while in the same posture): Why do we do it, thAthA?
MAnvi’s thAthA waited in silence as he knew MAnvi would continue what she wanted to say.
MAnvi (staring into space): When we try and convert others to do something that makes us feel pleasant and comfortable, our whole demeanor towards them changes, thAthA. We are more softer to them, we smile a lot more, our like or love or affection towards them seem to increase, at that moment. Neither the softness nor the liking or loving or affection and nor the smile is faked. It comes naturally. Every one of these however, make their magical disappearance the moment we find that they have not done what we wanted them to do. What makes its appearance is anger; and in shades of red, depending on the intensity of anger. Is this anger faked? A definite no. Infact when the other person does not do something that is of utmost importance to us, our anger reaches its peak. This anger also causes us to hurtle strong words at the other person. That’s when we find that anger has completely taken over us and it completely eclipses the liking or the love or affection that we have for the other person.
The other person sees the anger and feels the words hurting.
thAthA (aware that she has been at both ends and more often in the receiving end of the anger) asked in a soft voice, taking care that he does not jolt her from her sharing: Listening, MAnvi..
MAnvi: thAthA, I have been at both ends – that of getting angry when I try to get someone to do what I want them to do; and also at the receiving end of someone’s anger, because I did not do what they tried to get me to do.
It took me a long time to understand that others doing what I try to make them do, is not in my control. They have their own reasons for not changing or for being the way they are. Why then am I so heaven bent on them changing? Because it suits me? Because it makes me happy? But if they do something that they are not comfortable in doing or changing to, they are not happy isn’t it, thAthA? My happiness is at the cost of theirs?
These days I am trying hard not to convert someone to do something that I want them to do. Their being the way they are is not comfortable to me, but they have their own background to being how they are. They have their own limitations. At best I can understand that they have a background, accept and respect that background and limitations.
MAnvi’s felt the piercing eyes of her thAthA on her and finally looked up to meet his eyes. What he saw in her eyes, was a look of hurt and clarity. He nodded his head, for her to continue.
MAnvi: thAthA, I swung like a pendulum in the way I reacted to someone else’s anger, when they are not able to get me to do what they want me to do. Initially, I used to keep quiet, swallowing all the hurt; however there would be a lot of revolting inside me. Sometime later, I swung to the other side, giving back as good as I got. I would revolt and rebel on the spot.
thAthA: Did either of them help, MAnvi?
MAnvi: At that moment I thought it did help, thAthA. Staying quiet when the other person got angry and telling myself that maybe I am to be blamed, would help me to think that their anger towards me was fair enough. The silent revolt within me erupted at one point. When I started giving back as good as I got, I was happy for a while but that happiness was always short-lived. I would regret it a while later and I would hate myself. This hatred towards myself kept increasing and this again resulted in a silent revolt; but this time directed at myself. It was then that I realised, that I cannot blame myself nor can I blame others. Both the other person and me, are in our own situations with our own background.
This realisation made me think – If I think that someone is trying to convert me to do something and that change is likely to help me and also the other person (in its own way), I change. But in the process of changing, there is a possibility of that change being inconsistent. Habits die hard. During one of those inconsistent times of change, when the other person is angry with me because they think I have slipped back into my habit or because they are still seeing the ‘same old me’ they use strong words’ If those words cause me hurt, I say that their words hurt.
MAnvi’s thAthA now saw a smile on MAnvi’s face and he knew where the clarity in her eyes were coming from.
MAnvi: And thAthA, that’s when I actually step into myself and draw a shield around myself. I become extremely polite. This is my way of making sure that I don’t retaliate in anger. I then articulate in a way that makes so much sense, that I surprise myself.
thAthA, I also have my own background to being how I am, isn’t it. I have my own limitations. I need to accept and respect that background and limitations. If I can’t understand, accept and respect myself, who else will, thAthA?
MAnvi’s thAthA who wondered what change she was going to bring in herself when he spoke to her the last time, on the same topic, now knew that the change had already set in. His light touch on her head was all that she needed before she left his room, with a spring in her steps..