Let us first hear a story.


“Son of a bitch!  How dare you overtake me!!” shouted Henry.  He gassed the car.  We shot from a comfortable 60 to 100.  Unfortunately, before Henry could teach the stupid teenager one or two lessons in fast driving, the boy turned right on the Main Street oblivious of the brewing rage and competition in his wake.


“Coward! Come, why are you running away like a mouse?” Henry challenged as if throwing his lance at a fleeing enemy.  His face had become red.  He was clutching at the steering wheel, sitting at the edge of his seat.  It turned amber at the Fraser.  Henry speeded but the car in front of him hesitated.  It stopped right in the middle of the pedestrian crosswalk.  Henry spat an obscenity, slammed on the brakes, rolled down the glass and gave the driver his middle finger.  The driver showed his closed fist!  Henry got down from the car and approached the driver.  Just then the light turned green and the driver sped away, leaving Henry stranded amidst the cacophony of horns and dirty stares. 


By now Henry was raging mad. He lit another cigarette.  “Damn these lights.  I always get red light when I am in a hurry.”  Sure enough we got another red light at the next crossing.  To go faster and possibly avoid another red light he changed to the left lane.  Suddenly, a red car, driven by an oriental talking on the cell phone, overtook him dangerously from the right and came to the left lane in front of us.  The light had turned red.  Henry stopped.  It changed to the green and the red car gave left turn signal and kept standing.  It was too late for Henry to change lane. 


“These Orientals!  Is he getting his directions on the cell phone?” fumed Henry.


Henry and I had joined the Universal Imports and Exports together.  Exactly twenty-five years ago.  Henry was a lean and thin youth then.  Those were the good old days!  We worked hard, played tennis, and frequented bars and nightclubs.  But within a few years we got overwhelmed by the work.  We got married and had children.  We stopped playing tennis.


Henry was the senior Accountant. Every Department committed accounting mistakes.  At the end of the day, therefore, the accounts invariably did not tally.  Henry swore, called names, and sat late to reconcile the accounts. 


It was nearly one in the afternoon.   Henry gobbled a pizza and drank two beers.  I went to the salad bar. It was hot and humid and we were perspiring.  There was a mini crowd near the lift.  Henry went ahead and pushed the lift button that must have been pushed scores of times already.  Within a minute before the lift came, he had again pushed it twice!  Before the lift moved, the doors opened again and a courier boy tried to enter.  Henry snapped at him, “Don’t you see the lift is already full!”  The boy still squeezed in.  Henry gave him a dirty look.


We were summoned to discuss the budget.  By now Henry was in a foul mood.  He and the boss got into an argument.  Henry got excited.  To me it seemed a mere trifle.  But Henry wanted to make his point.  The boss his own.  Henry’s face grew red.  He started breathing fast and heavily.  He lit yet another cigarette.


Suddenly in the midst of a sentence he stopped.  He slumped on his chair.  He had a heart attack.


Well, none of us ever supposes that he or she could be the hero of this story.  Yet all of us behave just like him.  Then how could we be sure that we will not have that end!  Let us first see what was wrong with Henry so that he died so young.  Many things would be obvious to you.  Yet, let us list some of them:


  1. Henry is always in a combative, aggressive, and adversarial mood.  This saps one’s energy, causes stress and tension, and leads to negative emotions and body reactions.
  2. He finds faults with others and wants to correct everybody.  May be sometimes others are wrong.  But one should not take the responsibility of correcting or teaching a lesson to all.  One should not try to be the General Manager of the Universe.
  3. Fast driving and pushing the lift button repeatedly when it has already been pushed many times by others, is not only a sign of stress it causes stress also.
  4. Traffic lights are for regulating traffic and this way providing you security.  One should regard a red light as a period of relaxation and rest not a period of intense stress.
  5. His eating and drinking habits also leave much to be desired.  Fatty fast food, chain smoking, and beer etc. are not good for health and heart.
  6. He takes his work too seriously.  Of course, one should work hard and honestly.  But finding fault with others work, or taking it to heart when others commit mistakes is not good.  Above all, one should follow Gita and work to the best of one’s ability but not be too much concerned with the results of it.  When the result is not as expected one should take it in its stride.


What to do then?  For starters, take life easy.  It does not mean that you don’t work hard.  Nothing of that sort.  But take life easy; don’t be in combative mood with each and sundry; don’t take upon yourself to reform the entire world; and make some time to stand and stare.


Try to practice meditation.  It is not only for those who want to realise God.  It is good for mental peace and calm also.






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