Friday, July 31, 2009


By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM

We all sulk. I guess it is a part of human nature. Nevertheless sulking cannot be called a symptom of good health. It may be called a malady that needs remedy lest it goes from bad to worse. What is a sulk? Well, when an individual is sullen and does not wish to communicate with other human beings, it may be termed as a sulk. Inability to do an assignment or incapability to grasp a situation or identify a problem, what to say of finding a solution, may make an individual sulk. If this kind of sulking goes on for a fairly long period, the individual concerned starts enjoying his or her sulk. In these circumstances, the friends and family may have to try harder to bring the individual back to normalcy. Thus a sulk becomes a malady that defies remedy.

AYODHYA , that is the capital of kingdom of Avadh. The metropolis is agog with the news of Rajyabhishek or annointing Shri Ram as the ruler in place of his father,Raja Dasrath. joy knows no bounds among captains and commoners. however, for Kaikeyi, the prettiest and most loved queen of king Dasrath, it was a different cup of tea. She was sulking. It was a royal sulk and was writ large all over the place. Under advice of her maid and confidant,Manthara, she had moved into the Kopa Bhawan or the place designated to show sulk or anger. This brings us to the point that sulk may be sported at the normal place of work or living or at a designated place. The sulk of Kaikeyi succeeded in banishing Shri Ram for fourteen years and designating her son,Bharat, as the heir apparent. The moral of the story is that a sulk should not be permitted to reap the harvest of the planned sowing of seeds of discord. Of course, in AYODHYA, the circumstances added weight to the sulk and it achieved the aim.

A moment ago we talked of the designated place of sulk. It was so in ancient times and it is so in modern times. Quite a few corporate houses in Japan have designated spots in the office or factory premises where executives and workers may go and eliminate their sulk or anger by throwing crockery or glassware against the wall and break it into pieces. Once the pent up emotions have been given vent to, sulkers return to designated place of duty and put in hard work to keep the company afloat and eventually earn profits.


Sulking becomes an acute problem when the sulker is occupying a position of importance. Finding a solution to sulking is a Herculean job therein. Here is a true story from the British Army stationed in India in the pre-independence days. One fine morning the Commanding Officer of an infantry battalion was having his breakfast in the officers mess and was also reading the morning newspaper. A subaltern freshly commissioned after training at Sandhurst, the Kashi of the British officers, entered the dining hall. As was the training and the practice, the subaltern wished the commanding officer"Good Morning Sir"". The senior officer had his eyes fixed on some home news of interest and the teeth had bitten deep into a piece of ham and thus chose to ignore the youngster. The young officer persisted with "Good Morning Sir"as per the rule book. The senior officer, grumpy and sullen, retorted "Good Morning, Good Morning, what is so bloody good with this morning"and resumed his intellectual exercise. Until then the youing officer had not come across a sulky senior officer and felt so bad that he was almost in tears. The moral of the true story is that the cadets under training should be taught behavioural science and apprised of the existence of sulk in the army too.

Sometimes some highbrows think that to sulk is their prerogative. On going on a sulk, the rest of the outfit would go out of their way to desulk the boss man and yield many a point that they would not have yielded in the normal run of things. Thus at times unsavoury situation develops when the boss man on a sulk demands and receives sexual favours from a female subordinate. He may call it consensual sex but frankly speaking the sexual act amounts to rape. Let us leave it at that after quoting John Gray "Men are from Mars and women are fromVenus." Nonetheless, both sulk - may be for different reasons,though. A sulk is like an entry into a well when the sulker is shut out from the rest of the world. A sulker suffers from unredressed grievances. A grievance may be a real one or just a figment of imagination. A sulker may feel that he or she is being ignored or the world is out to oppress. By going into a sulk, a sulker feels the existence of a protective wall around him. Further, the loved ones will come forward to implore him to give up that sulk and be a normal cheerful person. Thus he will be a centre of attraction,never mind the wrong reasons, and all eyes will be focussed on him. The entire exercise gives a kind of thrill not experienced in the normal run of things.


HUMOUR IS THE BEST KNOWN ANTI-DOTE TO THE POISON OF SULK. In a healthy society one invariably finds an individual or two who not only possess wit and humour but also practise them. Humour and sulk cannot coexist. It is equally true of children and adults. A sulking child should never be given what he demands otherwise to get an object of his choice child will go into a sulk. Humour also begets happiness. Oscar Wilde, the famous English writer and a professed homo-sexual who was imprisoned for this impropriety,wrote " The best way to make children good is to make them happy."Happiness roots out sulk and does not let it resurface. In any case, experts on sulk opine that a sulker restored to normalcy must not tread the beaten track again as no one would care a dime for him or her. There the history does not repeat itself.

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