Friday, December 23, 2016

Anjali - But You Must Say No

Yesterday we went to pick Anjali from Mansi's house. Shobha went inside their house to fetch her. There was a delay. Then Anjali came first, a smile on her face but tears in her eyes. I asked her what happened and she said 'nothing'. I know that feeling well - I do that myself.
Pic: Satish Nargundkar, Model: Unknown
As we drove back I gently asked her how the day at school had been. She answered in monosyllables. After a while I asked her quietly if I speak like that too sometimes. Suddenly she came alive. Just the fact that the focus was off her probably. Also the need to tell me how I behave in those situations I guess.

'You make a face like this,' she said and turned her face away to get it right. After a couple of seconds she turned back with 'my face'. Eyes dead, face impassive, body taut. Don't come near me was what the body language screamed.
I laughed. 'Really,' I said.

'You do this when someone asks you something,' she said. 'I ask you for Chocos and you don't want to give it, then your face becomes like this. You don't talk.'
I laughed again. Do I do that with Chocos too? She gave such vivid descriptions that I have no defence.
'I know,' I said.

'Maybe,' I said trying to get to the reason why I behave like that. 'I get angry at myself for not being able to say No when I don't want to do it. Maybe I feel like I have to take responsibility for everything that is asked of me. Maybe that's why I get angry - at myself for not being able to say No, and at the other person for putting me in that situation.'

Anjali nodded.
'But why? You should say No, Nanna,' she said simply.

I nodded. 'I agree.'
Better than moping around forever feeling angry and upset at the world.

It was an interesting conversation.

First for how it changed. Anjali's mood changed the moment  I shifted focus off her and brought it to myself. We could then discuss the same issue far more easily. I could listen much more openly, even see where I was getting stuck. Secondly, I liked how the reasons for my behavior (and Anjali's too perhaps) came up for discussion and we could find a way out.

Really made me think. Will drop this behavior. I propose to add disappointment to shame and guilt as the most useless emotions.

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