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! 🙁