In your dropped catch moment, learn to smile!!

Whatever you lose or is taken away from you, simply, let it go!

In yesterday’s IPL X Final between MI and RPS, when MI’s Krunal Pandya dropped Ajinkya Rahane’s catch off the bowling of Lasith Malinga, it looked like the dropped catch would cost MI the match. While frustration was writ large on the faces of players and supporters alike, with MI’s captain Rohit Sharma apparently howling in disbelief, Malinga smiled. And that’s the way he is. Whenever he is hit for a boundary or when someone drops a catch off his bowling, Malinga smiles. There’s an evolved, detached quality to his response to a competitive, aggressive, often frustrating, sporting moment.

And I simply love that quality.

AVIS-Viswanathan-Just-smile

It always reminds me of the simplest way to understand, appreciate and celebrate the transient nature of Life. The point Malinga’s smile is making is, don’t take anything seriously. Definitely not what you fail at or what you lose. And don’t cling on to your success, your glory, your rewards, your recognition either. After all, you can’t take anything with you when you depart from here. So, why exult, why mourn?

People often tell me that bringing this attitude to Life is difficult. And I don’t think so. Whenever you are in the grip of a frustrating situation, your own dropped catch moment, just ask yourself if that loss, that frustration will matter some years from now. Ask if it will matter when you die. It most certainly will not. So, let that feeling of frustration go. Don’t attend to it, don’t cling on to it. Just smile. Bring the same logic to moments of personal achievement too. Life happens through you, for you, but not because of you. If you remember this truth about Life you can always be unmoved, non-frustrated, and like Malinga, smiling!

 

‘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!