Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Attitude - Repeat Telecast


'And before I go, gentlemen,' said the excited Mr. Pickwick, turning
round on the landing, 'permit me to say, that of all the disgraceful and
rascally proceedings--'

'Stay, sir, stay,' interposed Dodson, with great politeness. 'Mr.
Jackson! Mr. Wicks!'

'Sir,' said the two clerks, appearing at the bottom of the stairs.

'I merely want you to hear what this gentleman says,' replied Dodson.
'Pray, go on, sir--disgraceful and rascally proceedings, I think you

'I did,' said Mr. Pickwick, thoroughly roused. 'I said, Sir, that of all
the disgraceful and rascally proceedings that ever were attempted, this
is the most so. I repeat it, sir.'

'You hear that, Mr. Wicks,' said Dodson.

'You won't forget these expressions, Mr. Jackson?' said Fogg.

'Perhaps you would like to call us swindlers, sir,' said Dodson. 'Pray
do, Sir, if you feel disposed; now pray do, Sir.'

'I do,' said Mr. Pickwick. 'You ARE swindlers.'

'Very good,' said Dodson. 'You can hear down there, I hope, Mr. Wicks?'

'Oh, yes, Sir,' said Wicks.

'You had better come up a step or two higher, if you can't,' added Mr.
Fogg. 'Go on, Sir; do go on. You had better call us thieves, Sir; or
perhaps You would like to assault one Of US. Pray do it, Sir, if you
would; we will not make the smallest resistance. Pray do it, Sir.'

As Fogg put himself very temptingly within the reach of Mr. Pickwick's
clenched fist, there is little doubt that that gentleman would have
complied with his earnest entreaty, but for the interposition of Sam,
who, hearing the dispute, emerged from the office, mounted the stairs,
and seized his master by the arm.

'You just come away,' said Mr. Weller. 'Battledore and shuttlecock's
a wery good game, vhen you ain't the shuttlecock and two lawyers the
battledores, in which case it gets too excitin' to be pleasant. Come
avay, Sir. If you want to ease your mind by blowing up somebody, come
out into the court and blow up me; but it's rayther too expensive work
to be carried on here.'

And without the slightest ceremony, Mr. Weller hauled his master down
the stairs, and down the court, and having safely deposited him in
Cornhill, fell behind, prepared to follow whithersoever he should lead. 

That was a classic case of trapping an irascible person into losing his temper and making him blow off his steam; and also losing his cool and trying to invite him to hit, in the presence of impeccable witnesses.

For, it is well established that in a civilized debate, the one who loses his temper first loses the argument; and the one who hits first is the aggressor whatever the provocation.

I recall how our Chanakya (GSS, ex-Diro, IIT KGP) used this strategy so effectively that what was turning out to be a crisis of first waters got blown off in a second and the two impulsive union leaders lost their jobs overnight and their sure victory turned into an ignominious defeat and at one stroke (literally) academic peace reigned in the campus till I retired.

That was one reason why I kept my cool almost always while in service at IIT KGP. It became my second nature not to enter into any argument at all. On any academic issue I used to state my position at a most appropriate moment and fall silent.

After retirement too I stuck to this policy except once when I really blew my top in public. 

It was like this:

The apartment complex near Banjara Hills where we lived for three years was constructed 22 years ago when Hyderabad was not yet a hi-tech city and most of its populace were too poor to own a car. So, the builders never bothered to provide a pukka car-park. There were just four built-in garages that could accommodate four cars. But by and by Hyderabadis became affluent and the number of cars increased to six, then eight, and by the time we rented there, the number was ten. Since there was no car-park allotment, folks used to park their cars hither and thither on a first come first served basis. There was just enough open space within the complex. Of course, there was a scramble to get into the covered garages, but I never fell for it and used to park my ancient Maruti peacefully in the open...

One afternoon, I had to drop my son at the Secunderbad Railway Station on his way to Chennai to attend a Business-Visa-Interview at the US Consulate there. Pretty important, for, if he misses his date, the next one would be a couple of months later...closing the stable door after the horses have bolted, as the saying goes.

My son is a KGPian and imbibed all its chalega attitude and so took his sweet time getting ready and emerged just in time for our trip to Secunderabad. By then I was already in a 'state' with butterflies in my good old stomach. And as we came out of our door we found a visitor's car parked plumb in front of our matchbox Maruti in such a way there was no way it could be steered out of its cubby-hole. And the watchman was missing...it happened to be his 'happy hour'. And for once I was enraged, because there was no sign or trace of where the driver of the offending car went. Obviously he must be visiting one of the 24 apartments, but there was no time going about knocking one door after the other.

The only way was to get into my car and toot the horn. First two civilized attempts brought no response. Then I had to resort to wild life-threatening honking. Doors of every balcony opened and folks came out to watch what was happening. My son was getting jittery because he never saw me in such a rage. Finally, after a good 3 minutes (a very long time), one young chap in shabby attire emerged and walked down towards the offending car so coolly as if nothing happened.

I then stopped him and said angrily: 

"Don't you know the simple etiquette of parking? You ought to be ashamed of yourself"

The chap looked up and down and saw a dozen tenants watching the show and kept quiet.

I then asked him: "Are you the driver of this car?"

He stiffened and said:

"No, I am the OWNER"

And I said: "That makes it worse.."

And he slowly removed his car outside the complex.

I asked my son to get in and drove away like I never did earlier.

And my son said: "Dad, cool, cool, you will hit that chap's car!"

After two good minutes and into the fourth gear, my son asked:

"Have you noticed what car that was?"

"Yes, a brand new BMW M5"

...Posted by Ishani


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