HOW TO DEAL WITH INSOLENCE

Rude people are not necessarily bad people. They just need a lesson or two about manners and respect. But we can’t go about philosophizing 30-year olds on how to behave. It’s their damn responsibility to treat others the way they want to be treated. Or else, someone like me would watch with eagle eyes for an opportunity to exact revenge.

I don’t let go of the insult of being yelled at unnecessarily, the humiliation of being the subject of embarrassing jokes in public, the belittlement in front of even an ant. I convert the incidents into a camera reel and replay them frame-by-frame till there’s retribution.

Movies like “Mean Girls” and “The Clique” give youngsters a strange sense of belief that being cheeky is cool and it’s even regarded as a funky trait. In reality, society views rude people as bullies. Reality doesn’t work the same way as it does in movies. At least youngsters can be taught and will learn from experience. But what about adults like my twenty-three-year-old germophobic cousin, who shouts at me for offering him a glass of water? You read that right.

He arrives at the living room, tired after a long nap in the afternoon. As a responsible guest, I offer him some water, in the presence of his parents and other relatives. He refuses.

‘Have some. You look weary,’ I insist.

‘I said no. Just leave me alone!’ he says in a mildly loud voice.

‘Are you sure?’ I say just to be polite.

‘God, just go. I don’t want your stupid water. Did you even wash your hands? Get out of here!’ he yells.

I felt the whole building shake from the sheer loudness of his annoying voice. Stunned by his hostility, I retreat from the spot without a second look at his skunk-like face. The hall falls into a cloud of silence, although they’re used to these meaningless outbursts from the thoughtless man.

Nah, he’s not mentally unstable like all of you might be thinking by now. He’s just someone who loves to shout at others with no consideration towards their dignity. If he was worried about germs, then he could have let me know in a civilized way. But, no. He chose to humiliate me.

I shrank into a corner and forced the prickling tears back into my eyes as I vowed revenge.

This sweet cousin of mine was asked to drop me at my place the next day. He whined like a sick monkey before agreeing to his mother’s order. I saw an opportunity and schemed while on my way, seated beside him in the car. He wasn’t speaking anything. I thought of several ways I could start a conversation so that I would get a chance to insult him but none of them was non-pretentious.

Finally, we arrived at the destination. My aunt, his mother instructed him to carry my luggage up into my apartment. He was especially not happy at being my porter but he obliged any way. He got out of the car to pull out my bags from the backseat. The watchman nearby was thinking whether or not to help. There was a lot of buzz around on the street with people going about their chores. As he lay his hands on the handle of my bag, I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Take your dirty hand off my bag! I’ll carry them.”

He was gobsmacked, not being used to taking an insult in public. I removed my luggage from his car and disappeared into the building. Yes, everyone around gave him weird looks and I left with a satisfied smile on my face.

From that day onwards, we greeted each other with icy glares. I lost a cousin that way. But God, it felt so good. That’s how I treat brash people. I give them the taste of their own medicine. Most of them don’t even realize that they’re being impudent because they get accustomed to treating fellow humans like doormats.

My cousin is so kind and caring; tall and attractive; stylish and sophisticated; uncouth and apelike. The last two qualities negate the former ones obviously and he had few friends and many haters.

They say, ‘Don’t waste your time on revenge. Those who hurt you will eventually face their own karma’. That’s some unrealistic rubbish. If someone slaps you, you need to show them how painful a slap can be. I’m not promoting revenge but I sure believe in an eye for an eye.

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When it comes to rude people, they need to know that they can’t get away with ill-treating others and taking them for granted. An antidote to insolence is insolence. Rude people, if not stopped, turn into bullies. Hence, they should be taught a lesson that they won’t forget.

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