Everyday Equanimity

My cell phone rings.

“Hello!” I answer.

“Helllllooo! Shruti hai kya (Is Shruti there)?”

“Jee nahi. Ye Shruti ka number nahi hai. Aapka galat number lag gaya hai. (No. This is not Shruti’s number. You’ve got the wrong number.)”

I disconnect the call.

A modern definition of equanimity: cool. This refers to one whose mind remains stable & calm in all situations.

~Allan Lokos

The phone rings again. It’s the same caller.

“Hello!” I say, a tad exasperated.

“Hellllloooo! Toone mera phone kata?!! Shruti ko bula! (You cut my call?!! Call Shruti!)”

{Aside: The man was  LIVID that a woman- A WOMAN- dared to disconnect his call when His Lordship desired speech with her. How DARE she! She deserved to be taught a lesson. If she were physically present, there is no doubt what would be done to her to show her who was boss. The stupid B*tch!}

“Baat kaise kar rahe hain aap? Aapse kaha na, ye Shruti ka number nahi hai. Hindi samajh mein nahi aati kya? (How are you talking to me? I told you this is not Shruti’s number. Don’t you understand Hindi?)”

“Haan Hindi samajh nahi aati. Ab tu English mein samjhayegi mujhe? (Yes I don’t understand Hindi. Will you now explain in English?)”

{Aside: While I was addressing him as AAP (meaning you) he was using TU (also meaning you). He was deliberately being derogatory and insulting. For a strange man to address a woman in this manner is unacceptably boorish and foul. It is the verbal equivalent of a physical assault.}

“Main to English mein samjha dooN par aapke palle nahi padegi. Angrezi aap jaise gaNwaron ke bas ki baat nahi. (I can explain in English but I doubt if you will get it. A boor like you couldn’t possibly understand it.)”

{Aside: Yup, that’s me.}

He launches into a vulgar and abusive tirade. I disconnect the call.

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.

~Albert Einstein

Phone rings. It is the same caller. Again.

I receive the call but lay the phone down when I hear ugly abuses.

He disconnects and calls again.

I keep the phone on the kitchen counter as I get dinner started. I let the phone lie on the kitchen counter and press the call accept button each time he calls but don’t put the phone to my ear. I can faintly hear someone shouting.

He disconnects and calls back. I press call accept again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.

~ Marcus Aurelius

I kept this up for almost an hour. He didn’t want to give up either. He kept calling; I kept receiving. Meanwhile my daughter and I go on talking, laughing and joking the way we do normally when cooking. By the time the food is ready, I received almost 25-30 calls. My unknown caller finally got tired. He stopped calling.

I think he must have realized that the pleasure of abusing an unknown woman- who wasn’t reacting/ responding at all- was an expensive pleasure. Some of us take forever to understand some simple, basic things. Some of us realize only when it is too late.

As I was serving the food, my daughter asked me, “How come you didn’t get upset when the guy was abusing you? How come you didn’t give it back to him? Why did you keep quiet?”

“I don’t know him. He doesn’t know me. What do his words matter to me? He probably wanted a fight, why should I let him force me into one? I refuse to enter into a fight with a pig. He will drag me into muck with him. For him that’s a wonderful place to be, but I would hate it. So I kept aloof.”

“But you made him waste so much money calling you again and again!”

“Well, yes. He has to pay for the mistake of trying to pull me into muck with him.”

“Mom, you are wicked!”

“No beta. I am a saint.”

Everyday equanimity. Delivered.

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Note: True Story. I sort of pity Shruti. Poor thing! 🙁

29 thoughts on “Everyday Equanimity”

  1. I hope his phone fell into the septic tank where he got his mouth from right after the 31st call. And I hope he had taken a loan to buy it. That would have been pay-back, but still not enough. Yes, you are saint. But today, I saw a tiny forked tail.
    May Shruti know better and find better.

    1. Tiny? TINY? My dear girl, you insult me grossly. Nothing about me is little, I’ll have you know. 😀 😀

      Thank you for the solidarity of your outrage. It feels very good.

  2. You truly are a saint! First I wouldn’t have picked it up after the second time, Second, I would have definitely given it back to him in the same manner. But as you said, it’ll be like getting into a fight with a pig where the pig enjoys, but I’ll hate it for sure. Lots to learn. The first one being patience.

    1. Rekha, the only thing to learn here- if I may be so bold (and pompous)- is a feeling of detachment. If you don’t ‘connect’ with negativity, you will not be affected by it. Incidents like these will seem silly and pointless to you. And you’ll be free forever.

      It is a wonderful feeling. Thank you 🙂

  3. Oh you are wicked 😛 I remember doing this to a persistent caller when in college… he gave up after a day 😛 sometimes all that matters is to keep cool. I loved the way you added the quotes in between.

    1. You wont get hassled anymore Alka. You’ll remember this post and you’ll decide it is too much trouble to engage a pig in battle. 😛

    1. I don’t know- nor care- about him Janu. All I know is that I wont lose any sleep because some idiot managed to upset me. 😀

  4. As the saying goes it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong in a fight with a pig, the only thing that remains constant in such fights is the fact that both you and the pig get really dirty and mucky.

    Power to you Dagny for having done what you did.

  5. Dagny, I really enjoyed the description and your composure. I personally experienced this episode a few days back, but the caller wanted to know “venkat ka number nahi toh tu kaun hai, tera naam kya hai”. That vulgar drawl makes one cringe.

    1. Anita, You said it so accurately. The vulgar drawl makes one cringe. Not just the disrespect but the insolence of the assurance that he didn’t need to toe the line…. it made my skin crawl. I wonder what’s got into men… 🙁

  6. I have realized that the moment anyone pulls a person to the end of their short leash, they topple into the realm of flowery language very quickly. Like on those FM channels where someone from the station calls to poke fun at one of their listeners. Not 2 seconds before Mothers and Sisters are remembered not quite so fondly.
    I liked the quiet dignified way you put the uncouth fool in his place. Good for you.

    1. I never was a fan of flowery language Rickie. In fact, as I have often explained to my kids, you don’t have to use filthy language in order to insult people. That’s simply not creative enough.:)

      Thank you for you appreciation. I feel so good. 😀

  7. Wicked and so truly admirable. I dig you completely, Dagny :D. You know we get these sick calls here as well, the difference being I am often not fluent enough to answer them back in the language they talk. But yes, I have done that accept call and leave it on a few times myself. Though I do get upset. Like you said, this is a better way of putting a person in their place :D. I hate confrontation, but I must tell you that I devise innovative ways to get back at people myself. What fun! Loved this post.

    1. I love it that you ‘dig’ me Rachna. 😀 😀 It makes me feel as if I have the right to flaunt my halo. 😀

  8. You have made the whole scene come alive with your words! And you, the star of the show, are looking so cool and undisturbed in the little drama of wrong numbers. Love the way you handled the situation. There’s so much to learn from you, o super-smart, cool one 🙂

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