Thursday, July 4, 2013

Are you Grumpy and Crooked and Unpleasant?

Every once in a while we come across middle-aged folk who seem grumpy and crooked (and who soon become grumpy and crooked old-aged folk). They used to irritate me, and I would wonder why they couldn't be a little more civil, a little more cordial. Why couldn't they squeeze out a smile? Was that too much to ask?

I would have thought that they were like that their whole life - grumpy and crooked and unpleasant and cheerless, and totally irritating.
No, scratch that.
I don't think I had ever bothered to think of them at all, once the irritation was past. I would not have considered it worth my time.
But if I had, I would probably have decided that in their childhood they did not play and laugh and howl and scream like the rest of us, they did not love or dream like the rest of us, they did not say idiotic nonsense to make others laugh, like the rest of us. I would have thought that they were always grumpy and unpleasant.

The truth is that, as I see now, they must have been pleasant and kind too, once, in their youth. They must have greeted their acquaintances gaily every morning and enquired after everyone's health. They must have cracked jokes and laughed at themselves. They must have been confident and successful in a lot of things they did. They must have motivated and inspired others with their positive approach towards Life. They must have cracked the skies with their boundless energy and optimism.

But Life, on the other hand, had other plans for them. I sometimes think Life is a mischievous kid, about five or six years old. It loves to push us into a puddle and laugh when we are soaked in mud.

Or perhaps, Life is an adult with its dark and evil humour, very like a human. On the spur of the moment, it must have shoved them into water and left them to drown, until their optimism and attitude were drained out. Until they became a mere shell of their former existence, no longer cheerful, positive or optimistic. Until they were grumpy and crooked and unpleasant. Then Life, for some inexplicable reason, must have pulled them out from the water and left them to live.

Funny how Life teaches us things. Funny how Life changes people.


  1. Life is a teacher. And I believe whether you think it as a kid or a grown up depends on you OR more importantly what situation you are in...

  2. Another thought-provoking post here Jeena. This is a thought that I have contemplated on throughout these years. Good to see you elaborate your thoughts too.

    My take is this - Death is a greater teacher for many of us, perhaps more than life. It teaches us to see relationships and priorities very differently. It also exposes weak links in those relationships you once believed in as true. So much that death teaches us but we prefer not to acknowledge it, really. I want to see this from a spiritual perspective and share my thoughts though I am sure most people would slam me for it but the entire purpose of a blog post is defeated if one cannot discuss and share perspectives, isn't it?

    There's a story that I have heard doing the rounds among spiritual seekers how Swami Chinmayananda used to be a don't care kind of a guy, a total atheist and materialist till his best friend who used to give him company for all wrong doings died. His friend's dying wish was that his ashes should be taken and put in the Ganga. Carrying this urn of ashes, this young friend set out on a train journey, contemplated on life, death and the purposelessness of the rush factor in all that we do - h came back a changed man. The birth of Swami Chinmayananda began like this.

    Another example - Swami Vivekananda - young, party going Naren - was jolted from his life as a happy go lucky lad when his father died. He went through a dark phase of depression and began to contemplate on life and death seriously. His quest for Eternity led him to Sri Ramakrishna, the rest is history.

    Now there's a lot we can learn from life and death. Sometimes when you are on the verge of death, you decide to transform yourself and live the dream you couldn't while you considered yourself to be fully 'live.'

    Keep writing, Jeena, I enjoy reading your posts.

    1. Thank you very much, Swapna, for sharing these stories here.
      Our Life and the Death of others - they make us or break us, so they say.