Our normally peaceful Sunday morning walk with Cookie turned into an angry morning. I am not sure what happened to make it so. Maybe writing about it will help me fathom the depths of the anger that emerged. It started as soon as we stepped out of our lift at home. Little cookie managed to get half out of her new leash and fighting with the straps to untangle her and get it back on, in retrospect was a first sign of the storm ahead. The drive to Sanjay Van, which is one of the best green spots in the NCR was uneventful but there was way more traffic than usual so the ease of a nice Sunday drive was not felt and the stage was being set for the storm to come.
The minute we parked our car and were about to get out, another dog with a collar and an owner far behind, came sniffing around. We waited till the owner and untethered pet had left before venturing out. Barely had we got to the park entrance and little cookie somehow managed to get half out of her harness again. Another round of tightening straps and loosening nerves on the edge, ensued.
Lots of people out and about and two stray doggies who kept us on tenterhooks kept sniffing around with the occasion low growl. A hurried tea stop done, we headed toward the lovely water body in the centre of the park. The minute we walked in, the same unleashed dog with a collar came bounding toward cookie. He was a young boy who had amorous interests in our little one that turned very boisterous. It took a lot of shouting and pulling to get them apart and we requested the owner who once again caught up with Romeo, to put him on a leash. He did not, but at least the two were parted and he departed.
Not for long though. A few turns in the road ahead we again had to fend off the advances of this handsome fellow with his irresponsible owner nowhere in sight. My last plea for help went unanswered (he said you have a stick you should have hit my dog !) so, this time I brandished the stick at him and in my broken hinglish told him what I thought of his pet parenting skills. My anger surged as he continued to ignore us, but I bit my tongue and tried to keep calm.
Maybe the fire had been kindled and was just waiting for some oxygen or fresh fuel. Back in the car and driving home, is when my anger put us in danger. An irresponsible driver cut in front of me very badly. In that split second, I lost control of my temper (luckily not if my car) and went in pursuit of the offender( to do what exactly? – in retrospect I don’t know). What I do know is I put my family in danger. This moment of insanity left behind a very shaken Deepa, a stirred up Cookie and a remorseful me.
Anger and danger are very closely linked. One angry moment where I lose control can put everything I love and care for at risk. This is the lesson I was reminded of this Sunday. Respond don’t react. I teach in my crisis communication workshops. I forgot to practice what I preach and it could have cost me dearly. I need to find a way to do the inner work that allows me to express my feeling and not keep them bottled up waiting to reach a flashpoint. On any other day, maybe I would have behaved differently, but this particular Sunday, I was primed and ready to explode. The environment I work and live in has so much of an impact on who I am and how I behave. Whatever the cause, to avoid danger, I must avoid anger. And to do this I must get better at expressing my emotions in safe and appropriate ways. I must also do my best to create a psychologically safe environment for people to work and live in. Every time somebody gets angry they put themselves and those around them in danger. Keep calm and keep walking.
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