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Thursday, February 20, 2014

“Everybody is slipping on banana peels!”

Often times, you don’t need a big crisis to disturb your equilibrium. Even a small, mundane event – what they call “small stuff” – can upset the balance! In such an event, use your awareness to restore your balance. Then, laugh over it and, simply move on!

Yesterday, I had an insipid argument with an auto-rickshaw driver. I am sure you have had several such showdowns too. But mine was not over the fare – as is normal. My driver claimed he did not know the way to a popular landmark in the city. So, while I was surprised at first, I guided him. Then, as we rode along, I got on to a phone call. I told the caller, in English, that I had had a rough day and that now I find myself in an auto-rickshaw whose driver did not know his way around the city! The auto-rickshaw driver slammed the brakes, pulled the vehicle aside, turned around and spoke in English to me even as I was talking over the phone. He accused me of taking my “anger” out on him and for “affecting his dignity”. He seemed very hurt. So, even though I was shocked at his behavior, I abruptly ended my call. I tried explaining things over to him. But it was of no use. I decided to engage another auto-rickshaw.  So, I settled this driver, apologized to him and moved on. It all seemed so bizarre. He genuinely did not know his way around town. And all I was reporting to the caller over phone was this fact. I seriously couldn’t understand where or how my statement had meant an “assault on his dignity”. My only conclusion was perhaps that the auto-rickshaw driver was hurt because I was speaking to someone about him in English, and he thought that I was doing so, so that he would not understand. So, his retorting in English (and he was very good) may have been an attempt by him to assert his education. While I did apologize to him, for even inadvertently hurting him, I do hope I meet him again – both to understand his perspective better and to also convey my heartfelt apology one more time.

Life’s like that. We don’t really know what people are carrying in them when they are interacting with us. Each one’s got a story. Each one’s got a pain area. Sometimes we tread on people’s toes unwittingly. Or we press their pain buttons. Sometimes, people try to interpret – than understand – us. So, that leads to a lot of misunderstanding. You can go on and on thinking about why someone did what they did to you or how you could have dealt with someone better. Or you could simply let go of each event – and it’s memory, which is disturbing your inner peace – and simply move on!

Last night, just before I went to sleep, I thought about the bizarre incident with this savvy auto-rickshaw driver! At the same time, I felt both stupid and good. I felt stupid because it was such a silly misunderstanding by him and good because I appreciated his command over English – it was excellent! Then I recollected what Osho, the Master, had once said: “Everybody is slipping on banana peels – you just need an insight to see that Life is one, big, cosmic laughter!”

I laughed to myself and don’t remember when I fell asleep!



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