Sunday, March 13, 2011

Revenge: sweet & garnished

The two best ways to get the better of one's opponent: Pursue the illogical path or refuse to fight. All the serious guys and diplomats can go back to work right away, this blog may not be for you.

(Which serious guy was looking at my blog anyway, whom am I kidding, eh?)

Woman gets into Delhi bus. Conductor leers "Where are you going to, Madam?" Woman ignores the tone, gives the money and tells him the destination. Conductor gives her a ticket and continues to leer, "Here you go, Madam." She takes the ticket. Then she says in a very dignified tone (guess what): "Thank you". Later her friends ask her what sort of mad woman she is, who ever says "thank you" to a Delhi bus conductor. The answer is, well, no one. Which made it all the more priceless: his expression when he nearly fell off his perch, glared at her suspiciously and muttered "Is that so?"

In our office we had an office boy who only deferred to the boss. The rest of us were treated with impatience bordering on contempt while the young fellow struggled to find his feet and fortune in the big city. The idea was to tell him what to do & then to turn completely deaf. But once the senior most architect snapped and gave him a mild rebuke. To his horror the lad stood in the middle of the office & yelled his head off. All work was suspended, all eyes were riveted on the fight scene. Would the general shoot the soldier or would he run for cover? The eyeball match did not last too long and the senior said gently, before turning back to his work, "Who would have thought some one who read the Bhagwad Gita all day long would be so full of anger?" A miracle occurred that day and our office boy now treated one more person like a human being (while the Bhagwad Gita got more dog-eared and rest of us still waited for our Krishna moment).

Ok, so those were the Gandhians. We can't all be like them. Some of us like our revenge, we gloat while our enemies splutter indignantly or beg for mercy and no logic stands in our way.

I stepped out of my Gole Market office one day and found the buses had been diverted because of a religious procession. I was at the mercy of an autorikshaw driver who refused to start his meter & was asking for a flat rate thrice what I would need to pay him in less desperate circumstances. But then I had no choice and we set off towards Gole Dak Khana & thence towards India Gate. Less than a kilometer down the road we discovered another diversion ahead and I quickly calculated there was no short route towards my destination & I would have to leave this auto & walk a bit to catch another mode of transport. But wait, what about my revenge?

Soon we were almost at the diversion. By then the driver had mentally sifted through all the options, discovered that getting me to my destination in the decided fare would not be worth it, and tried to re-open negotiation. "The road this side is blocked," he ventured. But he was destined to froth & fume, to watch (by then with relief) as his prey slipped away from his fingers. (In those days that was the appropriate description for the ones who sat in the rear seat of a Delhi autorikshaw: prey).

I leaned back in my seat and studied my finger nails. "And what" I asked him sweetly "am I supposed to do about that?"

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