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Comfortably Right-Sized

Jun 6, 2005

Anger makes you grow bigger on the outside and smaller on the inside. Something within must stoop to make room for a towering rage. Funny how that works...

An evening that starts trying to get to dinner. A road block because Angry fishermen whose homes have been destroyed by sea-water seeping in want to see the Collector. There are hundreds of them lying down on the tar road. Eventually the Collector shows. But even after this even the side roads are still blocked. A young fellow traveller cannot understand. "I feel their cause and all- but this is no longer making a statement. This is just plain getting in my way. "

And there is an Anger tinge in his voice.

We get to dinner. Eventually.
A thatch-roofed roadside restaurant with red chairs and lanterns for when the electricity fails (which it does) called Riaz.
Riaz is the smiling quiet-faced man who clears and then cleans the table.
He is also the man who takes the order chops the vegetables rolls out the chappatis brings out the slow-delicious-dishes and only very eventually the bill (with a poem on the back) refuses a tip and says I hope you'll come again like he means it (and he does).

Dinner is peaceful. Full of shared stories and laughter in the soft light and a kitten who sits on the arm of my chair patting my free hand with her paw to ensure her fair share of chappati. Riaz brings us food that looks, smells and tastes like Care was a crucial ingredient (it was). He brings us chocolate in crinklycolored paper after the meal- why?- just- simply :-) (It is cold melting and De-licious).

And on the back of the modest bill in blue-ballpoint-ink:

The nature
of mind is
such That
whatever we
experience is
actually nothing other
than what we are...

including the God realization...


In an after-dinner auto the driver holds a lit cigarette while we bargain a fare and I notice myself noticing and wanting to move on. So quick to jugement- so I force myself to stay. A second later the cigarette is stubbed out. Somewhere sometime later on the dark road we swerve crazily and hit a man on a motorbike. He skids and somehow keeps his balance- kind of...the next second is shaking-fisted, so full of instant out-of-control-rage you realize there had to be a ready supply somewhere scaryclose to the surface and it finds its answer in our driver who will not apologise, admit to any fault- or express concern. Neither of them have hit their brakes so we are in the middle of a madly moving shouting-match and no one who's driving is looking at where we're going. Suddenly such a suffocating feeling...Anger expands to fill all available space.
Fellow traveller shakes the shoulder of our driver commands him to stop. Anger in him is more than a tinge now. The five things he can say in Tamil are singularly unhelpful at this point so he goes with English which they listen to for a few seconds with blank polite faces before turning away from his outrage and focusing on their own... such a cool, dark, disturbed night. I step forward with as much calm and reason as I can but step back startled when I smell drink in the air. There will be no reasoning here tonight. Not yet. And it is hard to see the bravado of the auto driver crumble so swiftly in the face of potential charges being pressed. The man he swerved into slurrily claims to be a Traffic Policeman (hmmm).
Please, please sir I have a wife and children says our rickshaw driver pitifully- I beg you...
And what about my wife and my children? says the bikeman with an illogical roar...(and what about his wife and children? I wondered)

I still am not quite sure how we managed to get back into the auto and on our way again. Am not sure whether the auto driver slipped the bikeman some money or whether we finally managed to appeal to his better nature. What I do know is when we were back on our way I let fly all the things I hadn't been able to say by the side of the road. Delivering a hot-and-ready lecture to our driver on the wrongness of Anger and the unnecessary danger he'd put himself and all of us in by responding with rage instead of concern, and why should he have to grovel like that- and it was only a trembling five minutes into the whole deal that I realized how angry I was in the delivery. Which deflated me quickly into quietness...because taking control with Anger is so different from letting Anger take control of you.

Walking towards our rooms through the peace of wide sleeping gardens under such a starlit sky, Riaz's scrawled words come back to me:

"The nature of mind is such that whatever we experience is actually nothing other than what we are."

And that made the last traces of anger stop their swelling and slip away.
Leaving me feeling comfortably right-sized again.

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