Anger Management and F.R.I.E.N.D.S

Prejudices, they say are a thing of a narrow mind. Well, I don’t mind being accused of having one when it comes to being prejudiced about rickshaw drivers in Mumbai. These are species that belong to the category that only generate despise in me and get my blood boiling. They are supposed to be there for the convenience of the locals but cause exactly the opposite most number of times. I rasp fowl words to at least one or two of them every single day.

Sometimes I like to imagine I have not just snapped but also slapped them. The other day I was so mad at one of them, I ended up feeling so restless… I downloaded a self-help book on anger management. Well, that was also partly because I noticed my anger bursts had begun to bother my family life. I was yelling at my daughter to correct her behavior. I was cribbing about too many things to my spouse. I was snapping at my parents over little tidbits.

At times I found myself wondering whether I just expect too much from people around me or perhaps from the services I was paying for. Are you also as dissatisfied with your maid’s work as I always am? I am normally a lazy person and hate sweeping, mopping or other similar household chores. Yet, I was so irritated with my last maid that I ended up firing her even though it meant going without a maid for a few weeks or months together. I did a Monica on every utensil my maid had already supposedly washed, rinsing them multiple times before their next use. Eventually I ended up hiring another maid but the chronic dissatisfaction continues to haunt me. “At least she’s not a gossip monger like the last one” is what I pacify myself with.

Perhaps this is what it is… as Mufasa said the circle of life! There’s a delicate balance… If you express your anger about your maid’s work, she’s gonna leave you to go and get her bread and butter out of another household. You’d go back to the exhausting task of maid-hunting. The next maid will disappoint you as well.. so will the one after her. In the interim you’ll be dealing with all the cleaning yourself, losing all the ‘equilibrium’ in your head.

So you have to deal with the vessels which still have remnants of last night’s curry and those innocent little ignored corners of the house which appear to be begging to be mopped. After all, you need the help. Oh! I’m not angry. It’s called dry sarcasm. I’m just Chandler! Yes, I’m watching the series these days and I am addicted to it. I don’t get sleep until I have watched an episode or two of FRIENDS on Netflix.

I just regret not having watched the sitcom earlier, when it was being aired on TV when I was in my teens. Perhaps I would have been a different person today. Perhaps I would have made different memories. Perhaps I would have been more accepting of others and of myself. Indians keep talking about how the Western culture has influenced the younger generation negatively. Most Indian families dread watching English movies or serials together, because they don’t know when an intimate scene would pop up on the screen and embarrass them. We are brought up this way… feeling guilty about satisfying our physical needs – although they are common to and inbuilt in every living human being! Obviously I didn’t watch FRIENDS then, to avoid this self-inflicted embarrassment.

Had I watched FRIENDS earlier in life, I would have perhaps made better decisions about my personal relationships during my late teens. I would have been able to easily let go when in an unhealthy relationship. I wouldn’t have blamed myself for every failed relationship. I wouldn’t have felt like a slut because I was able to move on from a relationship that didn’t satisfy my emotional needs to another that did. I may have been able to make accurate judgement and calculated decisions from the saga of the three divorces of Ross.

I would have been able to forgive easily after watching how Phoebe keeps her mental sanctity so beautifully despite of the whole identity crisis hurled upon her after so many years. I would have bounced back quicker after every setback or rejection, and been ready for the next audition with as much enthusiasm and confidence as in Joey. I may have been able to understand why it wasn’t such a big deal if some people do not have the sense to digest dry humor. (Who cares! I am Chandler and he was charming nevertheless!)

When I look at my daughter now, I hope not to be that parent who switches channels when a love scene comes up on the screen. I hope she could watch FRIENDS one day and it brings to her a depth that can help her grow. I hope to be that mother who doesn’t mind short skirts or tank tops as long as I can be sure my daughter is surrounded by mentally sane and safe humans. I wish my daughter learns to place her self-respect above anything else yet stay graceful in her head as Rachel.

As much as this post may sound like a super-late review on FRIENDS, I still couldn’t stop myself from rambling on about it. I have found a new way to handle my anger after all. Every time someone infuriates me now, I think about being possessed by the ever-forgiving Phoebe and a sarcastic Chandler sings aloud in my head:

“Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you?”

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