[This is a satire – as usual]
I am generally a quiet person. My Professor friend on the other hand is a rather volatile personality. Often, he gets angry, raises his voice and that elevates his blood pressure. There have been occasions when I have to request him to calm down. But Professor is not convinced. But does anger help?
Last week, we were together in Delhi. While landing at the New Delhi airport, we realized that our aircraft was descending into a grey chamber – full of dust. We felt chocked. On landing, we looked into the screens of our mobile phones. The app showed dangerous levels of the air quality index.
When we were navigating through the messy Delhi traffic; Professor turned to me and said “Dr Modak, look at the poor state of India’s capital. With all the mighty politicians and administrators living there the situation on air quality is not improving and perhaps getting worse. The air quality outdoors and indoors continues to be alarming and people are facing a slow death. No one seems to be serious. Don’t you feel angry?” His voice was quivering.
I looked outside and saw people with masks like doctors in the operation theater or like astronauts on the moon. I realized that by the time we reach Chanakya Puri, Professor was going to lose his temper.
I spoke quietly “Professor, there is no need to get angry. You can wear a mask and protect yourself; or install air purifiers at home. Delhi government is already implementing outdoor air purifiers in several places. Soon there will be a network of sensors reporting status on air quality on the cloud and information on air quality will be available on the fly”
“But that’s not the solution to the problem Dr Modak!” Professor raised his voice. Sure, he was getting angry. I tried to calm him down. There was no use to get angry when you know that nothing was going to change.
Back in Mumbai, we went for a dinner with an American friend at the Sea Lounge of Taj. Chief at the Lounge greeted us and politely asked “Regular or bottled water sir?”. I said “bottled” as I didn’t want to risk the health of my American friend. When we were returning from the Taj, Professor asked me “Dr Modak, I saw that you asked for bottled water and not the “regular” one. What a shame. We can’t guarantee safe drinking water to our people. May be we treat water well at the Bhandup Water Treatment Works, but then when the water is transported to our taps, it gets contaminated because of leakages and sewers crossing the water pipes – something not unacceptable”
I realized that Professor was getting angry.
I spoke quietly “Professor, there is no reason to get angry. You can always install a water purifier at home. There are so many options available, just filtration, filtration with UV light, filtration, UV light and activated carbon etc. Once you fix the purifier, the regular water becomes as good as a bottled water. We all must do our bit and can’t put all the responsibilities to the local government. We must do cost sharing to pay for the inaction”
Professor lost his temper after listening to my justification. “Dr Modak, if you continue like this, then the situation is not going to improve. People like you have to question and put pressure to get a “solution: and not work on the “symptoms” . Pity that you don’t get angry”
“But Professor, think about the business we are supporting in this process – the water purification industry is growing rapidly, generating employment and supporting livelihoods of so many people . And I am not considering the increased business of doctors and hospitals. These benefits are enormous. There is no need to be angry” I responded – rather in a lighter tone and in some humor. But the Professor was in no mood to calm down. He left in a huff.
Last Sunday, I invited Professor for lunch at home. Knowing his weakness for freshly prepared vegetables, my wife was preparing a nice concoction of Jaal frazie (simmered mixed vegetables) While she was in the kitchen, Professor asked me whether I had read a recent report published by Centre for Science and Environment on the contaminated vegetables and fruits in India.
“Its simply horrendous Dr Modak, today the vegetables we eat are mostly contaminated. They carry heavy metals, carcinogenic compounds and bacteria like E Coli. You think that eating leafy vegetables is healthy, but it is actually contrary. And remember, mere washing does not help”
He read out some worrisome statistics from the report. His voice was raising. I could sense that he was getting angry.
I said “Don’t you worry Professor. I have installed a vegetable purifier in the kitchen that generates ozone to treat the vegetables and gets rid of the contamination. Why don’t you take a look? There is always a solution to the problem”
Professor did not give up. He screamed “That’s not the solution Dr Modak. You have to address the source of contamination. People like you are responsible as you don’t protest – you keep shut and never get angry”
But the Professor did relish the Jaal frazie along with pudina paratha during lunch that my wife served. He couldn’t resist. While going home, he took the flyer I had on the ozone based vegetable purifier. He was going to show to his wife. I was happy that Professor was learning how not to get angry and accept the solutions of Type II.
Many of us know now how we should live life if you don’t want to waste your energies in getting frustrated, becoming angry and losing in the process your peace of mind. By simply becoming angry you are not going to solve the mess around that we live in.
After all, as many of our sages say, what we see, breath, eat and drink is not real – its all “mithya” – something untrue, imaginary or spurious. We should not attach ourselves and get emotional to the problems of pollution, poverty and injustice that we see.
Indeed, there is no point to get angry.
The world around is not going to change.
Or will it?
Cover image sourced from https://in.pinterest.com/pin/324329610640584269/?lp=true
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