Have you come across the story of Buddha and the muddy water? If not here’s the gist of it.
Once while travelling, Buddha asked one of his disciples to get some water to drink from a lake. The disciple saw that the water was muddy and not fit to drink. He returned empty handed. After a while Buddha asked the same disciple to fetch some water from the same lake. Now the disciple observed that the mud had settled down and the water was clear and fit to drink. Here Buddha preached that the muddy water is like a disturbed mind and in order to attain peace of mind, you just have to let it be, just like you did with the muddy water.
Me? I related this story to what I experienced yesterday. I went to the bank to withdraw money at around noon. We all know how demonetisation has effected the public. Needless to say there was a long queue of frustrated people. Probably they had been there since morning. Me and my friend joined the queue and I prepared myself for a long day ahead. After about 15 minutes the guard said that they were out of cash. Half of the people in the line just dispersed grumbling. The other half stayed where they were and grumbled. One of the bank employees came out and tried to converse with the crowd. People complained about how they had been waiting in the line for three hours, how irresponsible the bank employees were, how they had no concern for their customers and how they were made to waste their time.
The bank employee explained that people were withdrawing large amounts and hence they were running out of cash sooner than expected. They will be unable to provide cash to everyone present there and waiting anymore would be of no use. But the public does not give up that easily eh!? They were ready to wait and everyone agreed to withdraw just 1000 rupees each. People just waited in the line, but hardly 5-6 people more were able to get cash and there was no more left. Now the real frustration was seen! Most of the things were yelled in Marathi, but from what I could gather they were complaining about the inefficiency of the bank employees, some suggested that a token system should be followed so that when they came on Monday they would be given priority and one person even threatened to close his account as he had had enough of it! I was just standing there, not wanting to go back empty handed, watching to see how long it would be before everyone gave up and walked away.
Finally three of us were left talking to the employee and he asked us to give our contact numbers, and if at all cash is made available in the ATM he would give us a call. Well, that was better than nothing. The other two left, and I just sat outside on the chair with my friend. It was too sunny, and neither of us felt like leaving the cool shade and walking back in the heat. We sat there for like 45 minutes talking about… well really nothing in particular. We checked out the cool bikes on the street, some cute guys (duh) and I mentally prepared myself to wake up early on Monday and wait in the line.
And then it happened. Some guy came in and removed the ‘ATM is temporarily out of service’ board and said, “Madam, cash le sakte ho” (Madam, you can withdraw cash). Trust me, those words felt like the best thing I had heard in the past ten days! Never had that sound of ATM giving money made me so happy. The bank employee stuck to his word and did call the other two who had given their contact numbers. Within half an hour the ATM was out of cash too. Me and my friend spent the rest of the afternoon at a cafe nearby and had big smiles on our faces when we returned.
I kept thinking back and remembered all the frustrated people and their non stop complaints. What did they gain from it really? Not much. Sure, I understand that they vented out their anger but that did not give them what they wanted, did it? On the other hand what had I done? Absolutely nothing. I had just let it be and accepted the situation, as bad as it was. And I had definitely gained more than the other people who had spent their morning waiting patiently (well, for the most part anyway). Weird as it may sound, sometimes life has it’s own way of sorting itself out. That is when it is better to just go with the flow. And the outcome may actually surprise you. Cheers!