• Mohana Prabhakar

It’s that kind of a week

I was off on Thursday last week and except for one meeting that I had fixed having forgotten it was my day off, I was looking forward to a relaxed day. It turned out that my meeting was probably the most enjoyable part of my day. In a matter of a few hours, I dealt with a colleague being threatened with deportation, got told off by a stranger from Dubai who preferred to yell before he spoke, realised that the main central AC in the house was blowing sub-Saharan air, and so on.

I have a friend who sends me rather interesting quotes and strangely enough, quite often they seem to fit my current frame of mind. It was fitting that the first message after my exciting Thursday was: ‘One of the best lessons you can learn in life is to master how to remain calm’.

I don’t remember who it was who said that climbing mountains is not the problem; it is dealing with the grain of sand in your shoe. Give me a serious problem and I can deal with it calmly. When it comes to the grain-of-sand-in-my-shoe types, I have to confess I go completely mad.

Let’s talk about standing in queues. It doesn’t irritate me if there is a long queue ahead of me in the supermarket. That’s just life. But when the man and his wife sidle alongside me and keep edging their cart forward, hoping no one notices them like they have some sort of an invisibility cloak on, it drives me crazy. “Excuse me, there is a queue here.” “Oh, sorry, I didn’t notice,” says the man. He could’ve only assumed several human beings with shopping carts were standing in straight lines on either side of him because they really enjoy symmetry.

Or you are waiting politely because the chap at the fish counter is serving someone else, and people come up from behind you and bark their orders before looking surprised and responding with a “oh, were you waiting?” when you object to it. No, I’m just standing here because I love the smell of fish.

What about people who purposely speed up when you have put on your indicator to join a road or change lanes? Would it kill you if I got in ahead?

E-mail IDs. I will not argue with you if you think it’s really cute to have your husband call you ‘sweetums’, but if you are applying for a job, seeing an e-mail from ‘sweetums89@ gmail.com’ is not exactly going to encourage me to open it. Or your wife calls you ‘hunk’ and you apply for a business development manager’s position as hunk009.

Take some other ones I have received. ‘babydoll’ who wrote all in lowercase and without any punctuation whatsoever, ‘friend19722002’ who wanted my job: Is it so hard to get yourself a decent mail ID for business purposes?

My worst ‘not calm’ moments belong to airports: People who bump into your ankles with their baggage trolley every so often – like you are the donkey for their cart and need a nudge to keep moving forward. They’re the cousins of the invisibility cloak shoppers. It’s like Diwali, Fourth of July, Guy Fawkes Day – all happening together inside my brain. What doesn’t help is the simultaneous expression of hilarity it invokes in my husband and son.

Putting this all down was not quite as calming as I thought it would be and I am not, unfortunately, the yoga sort. There was something though that the gentleman sitting opposite me at dinner on Friday suggested (for health benefits) but could work as a calming tool. He said you should chew every mouthful 32 times – apparently it’d

take about ten seconds and not 32 – to enable your brain to signal you the minute your stomach is full.

On second thoughts, no. It would drive me up the wall watching someone chew 32 times, let alone do it myself. I’d rather overeat and die happy.

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