A wide range of irritants, big and small, plague our lives occasionally, but some strike one as being truly odd or frustrating to say the least. For instance, despite a good night’s sleep, you doze off and snore during the Sunday sermon. You somehow forget your wife’s birthday and she reacts with the tart taunt that you seldom forget an old flame’s. You grudgingly skip the ‘happy hour’ at the club to spend an unhappy one helping out at home. Or you rush home from work to watch a TV programme — only to discover it coincides with the daily power cut.
Then a stray cat thoughtfully deposits a dead rat on your doormat just when you literally straighten up after some strenuous house-cleaning. The plumber turns up only after you’ve fixed a broken water-pipe, giving yourself several undesired ablutions in the process. Or your new shoes are studiously ignored in the office but everyone tramples them in the bus taking you home.
No less galling, you remember that your dog’s anti-rabies shot is long overdue only after he’s nipped your leg. An unforeseen bandh nixes your elaborate arrangements for a long-awaited family outing. You catch a flea-bitten mongrel ‘desecrating’ your prize-winning roses just before the flower show judges arrive. Or your neighbour’s booming stereo perversely persists in aggravating your throbbing migraine.
Then the dhobi religiously ‘de-buttons’ your clothes but fails to remove stubborn stains. Your grandchild wakes up from a nap bawling only when you try to take one. The doctor prescribes a strict liquor-free and sugar-free diet for you only when the festive season is on.
These vexations, which usually leave one fuming and stressed, could be experienced by anyone. Yet many mistakenly think that they alone are targeted while others apparently go scot-free. However, the truth is that no one is ever spared. Everyone is inevitably at the receiving end sooner or later, and most learn to take these irritations in their stride stoically since there’s little they can do about them. Indeed we need to accept them for what they are – life’s little exasperations that needle everybody.
Strangely enough, a cynical neighbour firmly believes that such annoyances are the direct result of an enemy’s invocation of bad luck (if not outright misfortune) on him, rather than a chance happening. His mood thus soured, he grouses endlessly and ends up making a mountain of a molehill. Not surprisingly, many such irritations seem to come his way.
Experience shows that if we allow vexations to bug us, they certainly will. On the other hand, if one takes a light-hearted view of the incident or tries to focus on its funnier side, one usually finds that it does help in mitigating the annoyance to some extent. In fact, the day we start doing so we’ll be a step closer to de-stressing our lives considerably. For, as is well known, a timely dose of humour or wit can defuse the most trying situation and spread cheer around — sneering pessimists notwithstanding!