'adjustment' is The Way of Life

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‘Adjustment’ is the way of life

Has it ever occurred to you that the modern generation of children are an innovative lot? They can coin new words, work out short cuts to anything and are most daring types too. Accordingly, I love to eavesdrop on a group of children playing in the park to know more about their genius and originalities.

They rig up new words. One such term is ‘adjust/adjustment’. If a couple of chaps have an argument on some trivial and they want to break up, someone would shout, “Oh, adjust, yaar” and carry on. [‘Yaar’ is an Hindi word which means, friend/brother]

I never knew that ‘adjustment’ is a multi pronged versatile word that could be used for many varied situations to produce good results as if it were a magic wand of sorts.

To quote some examples: Complaining about something or the other is a birthright of all wives. Much more for a new bride. So, when an one week old raw wife grumbles to her hubby about his mother’s unkind attitude towards her in every routine in the house, what would he say? The son naturally cannot take sides. Both are important to him. So he would butter her better half a bit and say, “How about doing some ‘adjustment’ with her, my pet. Everything will be all right then…”

A home maker would face several problems with her maid. When she can no longer tolerate the servant’s tantrums, she would ask the husband to do something to tame that woman. But, being a realist, the man would advise her saying, ”You know, to get a suitable domestic help is so difficult these days. Why not make some adjustment with her, dear?”

Some time the word will be misused too. Say it just for the heck of it possibly for want of an alternative word equally meaningful. A man wanting a bribe of sorts [the Westerners call it ‘tip’]would murmur somewhat inaudibly, “Sir, some adjustment?” It took me some time to decode this famous word. “Oh, adjustment, you mean?” I responded and took out my purse. Oh what a delightful smile he displayed at my opening the wallet.

College boys use the word frequently, especially when two or three guys try to win over the Beauty Queen of the first year batch. “How about a little adjustment, friend? Let me say, ‘Hi’ to her first today. OK? A little adjustment, that’s all….”

The girls too do a lot of ‘adjustments’ among themselves while cutting classes. “Don’t tell my Mummy, OK?” one warns the other at the cinema ticket counter. “If you don’t adjust, I’ll tell your mother that you cut classes one day and went to an afternoon movie. Understand?”

The great word attacks the school-going children also if they happen to live in a close knit colony. One day while playing cricket, the boys broke a couple of window panes which came crashing down disturbing the quietness around the flats. Any normal 9 year olds would have tossed away the bat, ball and wickets and vanished out of sight. But not the ‘adjustment-ingrained’ whiz kids of the Kendriya vihar colony. They walked into the concerned flat and pleaded with the lady of the house, “Aunty, aunty, sorry aunty. Some adjustment aunty. Please aunty? We will also do some adjustment with our pocket money next month, aunty. But please, please don’t tell the Secretary uncle, aunty.?” Moved by their sincere pleas the lady agreed to adjust. Which mother wouldn’t? The pocket money adjustment naturally remained ‘unadjusted’ in the following month.

The auto rickshaw drivers of Chennai city, where I live, practice the adjustment syndrome almost with every passenger in different operational modes. Sometime he would make an unscheduled halt en route and take an extra passenger in the already crowded back seat. “A little bit of adjustment, sir. Just squeeze a little bit, that’s all. That poor lady with a child and all……?” Yet, at the end of the journey he is never satisfied with the tariff collected. You have paid him the correct amount as agreed earlier. But he wants more. “Just some ten rupees adjustment amount sir. You know the cost of living is going up..?”

Come to think of it, all of us do ‘adjustment’ in some way or get adjusted in some manner to the situation be it at the work place or while travelling in trains or sitting idly at home. We do it more often than not. The alternative words/phrases are, “give–in” , “live and let live” which we adopt without our own knowledge. We cannot help it. Life in the world may become intolerable if you are stiff necked or unyielding. You have to ‘adjust’ if you want peace of mind. You can’t live happily otherwise.

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