‘Kali’, Dulquer Salmaan, me and the futility of unchannelized anger

Feeling frustrated is a part of everyday living; but it is such a waste of personal energy!

I am just coming out a short spell of being frustrated with my internet connectivity and resultant poor bandwidth-led transactional issues! It was an extremely short spell of frustration lasting barely a few minutes. Just some years ago, I would have been grumpy and pissed off for a whole day. Had it been more human-induced frustration – like the behavior of people around me – I may have even been angry and vengeful, back then, for days on end. Thankfully, mercifully, I have evolved.

Kali-Dulquer-Salmaan-New-Poster-Latest-Malayalam-Movie-2016Interestingly, just yesterday I watched the latest Dulquer Salmaan-starrer Kali. It is a beautiful Malayalam film. Kali, as I understand, means rage. And Salmaan plays Siddhu, an angry young man who blows his fuse over anyone – and anything – that frustrates him. His uncontrolled rage often lands him in messy situations. Watching Salman on screen, it was both uncomfortable and, strangely, gratifying. It was uncomfortable because as I went back 15 years in time, I thought to myself: “Gosh, is this how I used to look and behave?” It was also gratifying because I felt I have made phenomenal progress, I have evolved over these years, learning to channelize my anger constructively.

I have done bizarre things when angry. I have broken a TV, flung my spectacles out of the window, hurt myself banging my head against the wall, yelled at people and even smashed a new phone to smithereens. Apart from the initial burst of temper, I would carry my anger in me – against people and circumstances – for days on end. Of course I tried reasoning with myself why I was angry and, over time, I concluded that I lost my temper when people behaved unethically with me or when they questioned my intelligence. I also succumbed – yes that’s the word! – to frustration whenever events and circumstances held me hostage. By nature I was a man in a hurry and so anyone or anything that came in my way made me angry!

And then started a phase in 2002~2003, when nothing really went according to a plan that I wove or crafted myself. That phase, almost 14 years later, still continues. In this time, I have understood that you cannot control Life and you can’t control other people. So, I have come to believe that anger is an energy that runs amock when it is allowed to run free. When channelized – and I used the practice of mouna, daily silence periods, to achieve this – anger can bring about great progress. India, for instance, would not have got Independence had one man not got angry over being pushed out of a train in South Africa! When I realized the futility of unharnessed anger, I learnt the value of living intelligent. From being angry, I went on to simply being – in the moment, calm and peaceful!

This doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated. I do. Like the way I was hopping mad a while ago over my internet connectivity! But my awareness helps me immensely here. I soon move from subject-mode to witness-mode. As a subject you are involved. As a witness you are detached. And therein lies the key to avoid the temptation to be provoked by every small aberration or taunter in your Life.

This is what I have learnt from my anger and from Life: don’t waste precious personal energy being angry or frustrated at everything that comes at you! Start by stopping to giving your anger (or frustration) attention. If you can avoid it, let it go. If you can’t avoid it, you go away from the source that makes you angry or frustrates you! Over time, when you learn to give your anger (or frustration) no attention, it will simply dissolve! Then, you can pick and choose which fights to fight in Life!

Lessons from water

We have a lot to learn from water.

When water is stirred, it causes a few ripples. When it is stirred a lot it causes a tsunami! Either way, water returns to its original, placid state. Similarly, our lives are bound to be stirred. By events, circumstances, people, emotions. The problem with us is that we remain stirred, agitated. We don’t make an effort to return to our native state__the infant stage of our Life__to being calm, carefree, trusting and in joy!

Some of us, when we are faced with challenges, turn angry, cold; others turn resentful; some even turn depressive and introverted. None of these states will make our lives memorable and deliver what we seek__happiness__unto us. Masaru Emoto (1943~2014), a Japanese author and entrepreneur has conducted experiments on water and argued the deep connection between human thought, the water content in our bodies and the afflictions that humankind is faced with. He says that since over 60 % of the planet and over 60 % human body is made up of water, the more negative thoughts we think, the more stress we subject ourselves to__self-induced or reactive__, we end up letting them affect not just our bodies, our planet too.


There is a beautiful song, I actually call it my personal anthem, in the Tamizh movie, Azhagiya Thamizh Magan, which has the following opening lines: “Ella Puzgahyum Oruvan Oruvannuke, Nee Nadhi Bole Odikkondirru…” Translated, it means, “All glory is only to One Source, you must keep flowing like a river…” What the lyricist is inviting us to do is to acquire the temperament of water, which does not worry about its origins, it path, its fall, its destination. It merely keeps flowing, perhaps, following its destiny. Perhaps, following its bliss. Without remorse, guilt, anger or expectations. It accepts to be a drop, a puddle, a lake, a river, a mighty ocean without pride or prejudice. It succumbs occasionally to Life’s vicissitudes when it is stirred, but it soon returns to its native state. Big learning there for us.

When you flow with Life, you will be soaked in abundance

Only those who have experienced abundance in their lives will know how to attract it and the value it creates.
Abundance is not about having money and material riches. It is the ability to laugh, smile and be happy even when you have nothing material with you. It is the inner peace that helps you sleep well – no matter what circumstances confront and confound you. This abundance is attracted when you let go and simply flow with Life. Letting go here means not worrying – about a still unborn future – and ridding yourself of grief and guilt – about a dead past. When you live your Life, flowing with Life, you will be soaked in abundance!
A few days ago, we were invited to a Page 3 event at a five-star hotel. The event was being organized by a good friend. And although we are not the Page 3 sort – we had never attended a Page 3 event before this – we decided to go check out what it was all about. The event got over in good time and as we were exiting the hotel, we bumped into a friend who was staying there. He invited us to his room, where a few of his other friends joined us. Soon the get together turned into an impromptu party. Someone sang a song. And then others followed. It was so much fun. Finally, well past midnight, we wound up.
As we were taking the elevator down, one of the guests who was aware of our problems and my forthcoming book , asked me: “AVIS, how is it that you are able to be so happy despite all that you are going through?”
I replied: “I am not sure I know the answer to your question. But I do know that being unhappy and brooding over my problems can certainly not help me solve them.”
To be sure, letting go – dropping the worry and the grief – did not come easily. It was difficult. In almost all situations the human mind strives to make you believe that you control your Life. But what do you do when you make all efforts to put things back in order, turn things around and yet the threads of your Life are snatched away from you, knotted up like a ball of wool would be, and are discarded far and beyond – again and again and again? Letting go does not mean not picking up those threads again. It means not feeling defeated when they are taken and cast away from you one more time. Letting go therefore does not mean being complacent or irresponsible or reckless. It simply means being in a calm, stoic acceptance of your current reality, while working patiently to change it. When you are this way, calm and accepting, you are peaceful and happy.
Now, inner peace and happiness are deeply personal. So, it is possible that someone looking at your Life from outside will conclude that you cannot be happy when you are placed in grievous or challenging circumstances. Or, if such a person had a narrow view of Life, they would be quick to judge and conclude that being happy is a sin. I have learnt to let people say or think whatever they want to. In my choosing to let go and be happy, I have been able to attract abundance in my Life. This abundance, I have realized, is critical to be able to face Life’s challenges and to live each day meaningfully. In the end, it’s not how long you live that matters. What counts is how well you lived – enjoying the Life that you have been given!

Remain unmoved to stay unscathed

Just as it is important not to get bogged down by failure, it is equally, perhaps more, critical not to get carried away by success.
M S Dhoni: Unmoved
At the presentation ceremony of the ICC Champions Trophy at Edgbaston, Birmingham, two nights ago, former England captain and Star Cricket’s anchor Nasser Hussain asked India captain M.S.Dhoni: “The T20 World Cup, the ICC World Cup and now the Champions Trophy….you have seen and got them all. What would you want next?”
Embarrassed and smiling, Dhoni, in his characteristic down-to-earth, grounded, style, replied: “I am not here to prove to anyone how good I am. My focus is on the game. We are off to the West Indies from here and we will be keen to put in our best there and work as a team.”
Many observers and commentators have been amazed with Dhoni’s unflappable leadership and his ability to remain calm in a crisis. I feel the biggest reason why he continues to be successful is the because he doesn’t get all that he’s achieved go to his head. He doesn’t let defeat affect him either. And that’s a remarkable quality. An ability. Something each of us can consider, reflect upon and try internalizing.
Think about it. In this lifetime, which has been given to us without our asking for it, there are many things that will happen to us. There are many experiences that we will go through. Some of them will work to a plan. And we will start imagining we caused or created them. Some will happen to us without any effort from us. And sometimes things will simply happen – causing us pain, joy, grief, suffering and often leaving us numbed, shocked, defeated, delighted or humbled. Osho, the Master, invites us to consider the example of the wheel. He says a wheel moves. While its center remains unmoved. So, if your Life were a wheel, with its own fair share of ups and downs, you, the real you, your center, your soul, must remain unmoved. Only this state of staying unmoved, despite whatever is happening to you, can keep you perpetually blissful! The best way to respond to Life is to remain unmoved – by joy or by sorrow, by victory or by defeat. Then, and only then, can you hope to get through this lifetime, unscathed!