When I wrote 'Eat, Play and Love', I never imagined I will be forced to delve deeper into it so soon. Something happened a fortnight later and that has changed me beyond words.
If I eat and love food, it obviously is because I am hungry. My friend Satish Bhat used to joke about it. Whenever I said, "Hey I am hungry", he used to retort, "Tell us something we don't know. You are perpetually hungry".
'Hunger' has been a problem. Very often it lead to 'Anger'. Or so I believed. I used to get angry and snap at people when I was hungry. Very often I was downright rude to some of my co-workers. Later I attributed all that to my hunger and associated anger and apologize. Must say I am quite shameless in this regard. 'Sorry' comes easy to me than to most of the people.
It was a pretty busy day in our small ICCU. Sasikala, A Senior Staff Nurse was celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary. She had ordered Biriyani for all the ICCU staff and me. I live on tea and two bananas on normal work days. But I have to eat my banana before 12:00 noon to keep myself calm.
That day the Biriyani arrived a little late and I was famished. I straightaway decided to attack without waiting for the others. This is something I have done all life and nobody ever complained; at least never in front of me.
I sat down on a chair in front of the television with my Biriyani. I ordered to Jijin, a male-nurse to pull the curtains to keep me behind the curtains and away from the patients and other probable visitors. A known sleep-walker, he was wandering around obviously oblivious to my order. I asked him to pull the curtains another four times.
After the fifth time, I lost my top and shouted at him, "Pull the curtains you deaf idiot". That boy was stunned and the whole ICCU fell silent. He pulled the curtains and left the ICCU without a word. I finished my lunch and continued with my work. As I cooled down I realized it was plain dumb on my part. So I sent text messages with "Sorry, forgive me" words.
Next day, Vijayalakshmi, our ECG Technician told me the boy was seriously hurt by my rudeness. He had told her this: "Just because I am a Nurse, I have to hear and suffer all these kind of things. I should not have come into this profession". I felt further pain inside me. I went to him and personally said it was not about a Doctor and Nurse, but was just a momentary lapse in reason. I again apologized to him. He silently nodded and said, "It's Okey".
Two days later, I was in a jovial mood. I always am jovial when not hungry. I jokingly asked our staff, "So whose wedding anniversary are we going to celebrate today?". Betty, one of our most efficient staff nurse said, "Why ? Is it to humiliate another person ?". This hit me real hard. I tried to defend, "But he was acting like a sloth and I did apologize. How many people have you seen apologize ?".
Betty said, "Does apologizing after hitting or scolding someone really undo the harm ? In that case anyone can do that. What if he had retaliated ? If he were to scold you or even hit you, what would have happened ? I don't believe saying sorry after being so rude is a solution".
I was feeling hot under the collar. I left the scene lest I talk any more. Inside my own cabin, I shut the door and sat trying to regroup myself. What I have analyzed after this incident is what has guided my behavior since then.
Why do I get angry and shout at others ?
Is it Hunger ? Is my being superior justify this ? Is it right, even if they were wrong ?
The answer I found to my horror was it was none of these. It was plain 'Arrogance'. Yes, ARROGANCE ! How on earth can anyone be so rude to colleagues ? I myself have suffered rudeness from other people. But none of them were even remotely connected to me. I have always complained about rudeness on our roads, traffic and the society in general. So how different was I ?
The answer to this question was even more depressing. If people are rude in the traffic or elsewhere, they are being rude to 'Nobody'. Yes, most of the times the snarls happen between absolute strangers. And here I was, being rude to my own colleagues who have been with me for years. I realized I was worse !
The next realization came along with this truth. What makes me arrogant ? Well, I ask our staff to order my tea. I ask them to get me the papers and charts and everything. They often go out to the Coffee House to bring my food or tea. They wash my tea cups and clean my room. Why do they do all these things ? Because they respect my position. But who am I ? Is my position as a Doctor, my identity ? I felt miserable.
The ward staff are scared of me because I am short-tempered. 'Doorvasan' is the name given to me by those girls petrified by my anger.Some of them hide behind the Senior ICCU staff even to convey some routine results. It never hurt me before. I used to joke about it. But today, it hurts me.
I never divulge that I am a Doctor to anyone unknown. The reason is simple. I want to be left alone outside my work place. During travel and holidays, the prefix Dr. can become a problem. So I never affix it anywhere other than on official forms and prescriptions.
I now knew it was my 'Arrogance' not my 'Hunger' that fostered the 'Anger'. I had taken these people for granted. I had ordered around and got my way all these years, never bothering to check how they could have felt about it. So if they obeyed my orders in spite of myself, it was simply because I was a Doctor. And this was not a nice thought.
I wouldn't like people to do things out of fear for my designation. Making tall claims about 'Live, Love and Laugh' all along, I was hardly Loving people around me. I decided and changed many things from that moment.
Here are some of the things I changed about myself.
I stopped asking others to order my tea or coffee. I order them myself.
I don't ask them to switch on the fans and AC. I do it myself.
No ordering others to open or shut the doors. I do that.
Bringing papers or any thing from one place to another is done by me for myself.
Generally I don't allow anyone to do things for me other than what is concerned with their job.
Some of my colleagues think I was hurt and angry and was being spiteful. Far from true. They don't know how happy and grateful I am today. They haven't asked me yet about this changed behavior. I haven't told them too. I shall tell them if and when they ask me. Or perhaps they will know if and when some of them read this post.
But I must thank Betty for the favor she has bestowed upon me. If not for that straight talk, my arrogance would have continued to grow making more and more people resent me behind me. I wouldn't like to die as someone who was respected out of fear. All Dictators were respected during their time. I would love to be respected out of love. Forget respect, I just love to be loved !
I apologize to all those whom I have hurt before. I also apologize to another person I have always taken for granted, that is my wife. Very sincerely so ! I shall try my best not to lose my temper.
And I thank my Friend Murali who had seen it 21 years ago that my problem with 'Temper' will humble me some day. I thank you my Buddy !
|Murali had gifted me this in 1989|
Life is of no worth if we have to live in a mansion all alone.
Life is all about Love and Celebrating Life with Love and Laughter !