I chose my response

I was at a local grocery store buying things. In a queue of two people ahead of me,I was standing quietly. There were boxes lying around me- fresh merchandise, I guess. As the evening hours were approaching, the employees were removing the boxes and placing its stuff hurriedly.

I hear a voice behind me, “excuse me,” and an employee in front of me makes an eye contact with the voice. I ignored as I thought the voice wanted employee’s help with something. I heard “EXCUSE me” for a second time and after some time I realized that it was for me. It was hard to ignore because of the harshness in tone. To me – “excuse me” sounded more like, “you fool, I’m talking to you.”

Normally a person would not get irritated on requesting you after two or three times but this one got angry the second time itself. Normally people would ask in a requesting tone rather than a commanding tone. I thought that she would have had her reasons to be so rude…she could have had a bad day or had too many things to carry or getting late as I was blocking her path or she was just the way she was.

Anyways, on turning my head I saw a girl in her twenties wearing black rimmed thick glasses and a pony tail tightly tied backwards. The face mattered more to me than her body or her clothes. I could have responded by repeating the anger or moving silently from her path. Normally, I would have chosen silence and then been angry for the rest of the day cursing, fretting and frowning at others or self. But that day I decided to respond differently. I decided to smile. With a big smile stuck on my face I said, “Sure, why not? Please, go ahead.” Even with a pretentious smile you can’t pull anger (at least on your face and even if angry you don’t sound so).

Although I must say it was a difficult smile but then I was happy or should I say satisfied with my reaction. That smile made her slightly embarrassed.

When I smiled at her I didn’t think of embarrassing her or saving myself from being embarrassed in front of the employees…I just smiled because I wanted to. I chose my response.

So why did I decide to smile inspite of being inflicted with that bitter tone. I have read so much about – taking control of your life and actions…not to give the control to others…chose your response…. In that moment I felt that whatever I’ve read and if that’s true I should do what they always ask to do…smile. And it turned out to be true – you can’t hold on to anger with a smile stuck on your face.

I was so happy with myself that day – for smiling, for taking control of the situation, for choosing my response rather than reacting, for not behaving like the other person and most of all for following and not failing. With a smile I put an end to the event then and there rather than letting it simmer in my head.

I saw me


 Who is this person sitting by the window, staring at life and does not notice me (good that’ how I want it to be). As I walk closer, I notice that she is wearing a fuming face. Even before I could ask her, “Why or what made you wear that look?” I could see her expressions changing.


I could see her face had now expressions of guilt and sorry. I was looking at her for the past half an hour; I had not noticed any change in her body movement. The only thing that changed was her expression.

Her long sitting posture was interrupted, when a fly sat on her arms and she just raised her arms to let away the fly. Now, I saw her body, which was sleeping in a sitting position for half an hour, was moving towards the dressing table.

For the first time I saw her reflection on the mirror. It was me. Was, I having an outer body experience or am I dead (was my thought). How is it possible? I guess I don’t have the answer.

But, all this while I used to think that I’m a happy person. I saw her dragging herself to the cupboard and taking a dress out of it. She was staring at the dress, as if her thought was to abandon this dress right now (although I knew this was her favourite dress).

I heard someone knocking at the door. The voice said, “Are you ready, we are getting late?”

This was my mother’s voice. Now I understood what had upset me.


I just remembered that half an hour ago I had a very steaming argument with my mother. Now that is a usual scene in my house. What was I thinking then, it is always about them (parents) and sometimes it’s about me. I don’t understand them nor do I get the same understanding in return. No matter how hard I try it is always a one way road, and so it is equally difficult for both of us (mom and me).


I thought that the only way to make my mom unhappy was to make her angry. Till date I’ve found two ways to make her angry: first by arguing and second by simply doing the opposite of what she asks me to do. I thought by doing these things I would have made myself happy because I was making my mom unhappy.


But, what I saw didn’t match with my kind thoughts. I saw that it had made me angry (a normal reaction I think), guilty (that in some way it was not a right behavior), sad (cause I had hurt the feelings of the one person who means a lot to me) and then sorry (but that was a feeling, never had I seen it transforming to word).

Today, as I had watched me, I understood that feeling sorry was important but saying was equally important.

I saw me opening the door. I saw the expression of guilt on my face. I was ready to say sorry, for my actions, but she stood stiffly. She thought that without saying sorry mom was suppose to understand and forgive her actions. But I knew if I didn’t say sorry I would not know if she had forgiven me or not.


Then I saw an expression that I had never seen on her face. She was about to do something that she had never done. “I’m sorry,” she said. That’s it; I was so relieved to hear that. Finally, her face was lit up with guilt free smile as she hugged her mother.