Category Archives: A Calmer You Column

Yes, I admit it I am a misfit [Feedback]

This column was published on 25/9/11 in HT City. Here is an excerpt;

“Raise your left hand if you’ve ever felt like a misfit — in school, college, workplace, social gatherings. Now raise the other hand if you’ve killed yourself (not literally, Einstein!) trying to change yourself because it made you feel inferior. If both your hands are up, GOOD. At least for the next few minutes, this should be your punishment for being so stupidly harsh on yourself.  If you must know, my one hand is raised too, and believe me, it’s not easy to type out this column single-handedly. See, I have nothing against people trying to better themselves….

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Best thing about reading Sonal’s column is that there is always a smile on your face without losing the seriousness of the subject. Same thing happened with this column too. I was smiling all through first few paras but then could not continue any further obviously because I had started feeling pain in both of my arms for having raised them for so long. Also, because I was doing this after a long long time – obviously, I did this in school last time.

Most of us do find ourselves quite a misfit not once but many times in a life time. But, obviously, this ‘misfeeling’ tends to fade away with time and age….no we don’t get rid of this problem but ultimately, we accept the fact that we are a indeed a misfit and can not change for good and hence, no longer feel bad about the same.

[stextbox id=”info”]”One of the processes of your life is to constantly break down that inferiority, to constantly reaffirm that I Am Somebody. ”
Alvin Ailey[/stextbox]

We continue to feel misfit as long as we feel that we can still change ourselves to cope with others. This generally happens in a timeframe ranging from early teens to somewhere when we reach midlife. After having felt bothered about being misfit and subsequently, having tried to change (though, in vain) a lot many times, most of us do tend to give up and try to make calm – not with accepting  ourselves – but with the fact that now nothing can be done. This is the time when, most of us have refuses-to-grow-in-age wife and always-growing kids at home . At this time, specially kids, become the single most factor to distract us and in turn, they become our soft targets.

yes-i-admit-it-i-am-misfit-a-calmer-you-column-sonal-kalra-25-sep-2011

It is then, we change our whole attention towards changing or moulding our kids so as they don’t get the same feeling of ‘misfit’ when they grow up. Little, do we realize that such an effort is only going to make the matter worse than ever. The poor kids who until now have been enjoying their lives slowly starts becoming aware about what a misfit could mean and starts relating the same with their own life only to conclude that they are indeed a misfit as their father was.

None of the problems of our life (including this one) develops overnight. When you tend to feel a certain way for quite a longer duration, it is then that ‘thinking’ turns into a disease. It is true with most of the pschological problems. So, obviously, the best way to prevent such problems is only by changing the thought process.

[stextbox id=”info”]”Misfits aren’t misfits among other misfits.”
Barry Manilow[/stextbox]

The three point solution cum medicine which Sonal has prescribed in her column is definitely a fit and hit and can really help people suffering from this problem. However, as we all know “prevention is better than a cure”. So, why not to try to prevent this problem from infecting us ever.  Childhood is the only best time when we can change the thought process  with quite an ease. So, why not try to make our kids life better so that when they grow up, they don’t find themselves a misfit as we did and instead find peace with what they are. So, next time when dealing with your kids, stop quoting examples of other kids to prove them wrong. Even if your kid is not doing good, you should handle this situation without ever doing any comparison with any one. These early age comparison are the seeds for the more bigger and serious problem /issue in the later life.

Well, as Sonal had quoted this in one of her earlier column on the similar topic which was probably published sometime in May 2011 (read that column here) –

 “When Roosevelt said ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,”

This is more than true and useful if you really want to make peace with your own feelings.

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Do you know who my dad is? [Feedback]

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This column was published on 18/9/11 in HT City. Here is an excerpt;

“You think I’m being sarcastic? Tsk tsk… I have such bad reputation in your eyes. I’m serious. I will start a campaign in aid of all those who suffer from mysterious bouts of amnesia and have to ask who they are or who their dad is, especially if their car bumps into someone else’s. I saw such a person outside a shopping mall this weekend. He was reversing, someone else was progressing (I know it’s wrong English, just sounded funny, thanks). His car brushed the other’s bumper, very slightly, in a peck-on-cheek-of-a socialite-at-a-page3-party way. I wouldn’t have even noticed had I been in that car because, you know, God blesses some with stereos which have a physical disability and you can’t reduce …”

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Well, this column reminded me about not one but many such occurrence which I myself must have witnessed in the past specially while driving on Delhi roads (thank god, I witnessed all that as a mere spectator and was not a participant myself). Often, we find such creatures claiming to be forgotten who they are or who their mom/dad/uncle is, are generally ones who are at fault themselves. Only to defend themselves and more so to prove the opponent wrong, they do all that nonsense. One more thing I have generally observed is  that – we get to hear about these phrases more when there is a good crowd around. If there is not a reasonable number of people around, quite possible, the matter gets solved without any shouts and all. After all, who to shout it for. There is no one to listen. People shout not only because they want to make a point but they want the whole world to listen to them. Since, in India, roads are always packed with people, vehicles, people in vehicles, vehicles on people, we will find such incidents a common sight on the roads. And ofcourse, as Sonal mentioned in her column, generally people who shouts in such fights are the ones more insecure from inside irrespective of what they look from outside. It’s not a small dent that makes a difference to them but that gives them a reason to prove their authority to others (even if they don’t have any).

do-you-know-who-my-dad-is-column-sonal-kalra-calmness-tips-ht-city

Yes, a simple word of Sorry can make a lot of difference. After all this also only prove the shouting person right and only boost his/her ego which is what he has been shouting for – to get the attention, to prove he is something or his mom/dad/family is someone every one should know. You say sorry and it may satisfy its ego to a larger extent. Even if it is not, then at least this will deter him from continuing shouting and fighting, fearing people around may not approve his continued fight even after recieving the apology from the other party. 

Well, calling the cops in India is something not many people prefer to do. Even the people who themselves are right would not like to take the chance with Indian cops. Ofcourse, not every one is bad then you never know whom you get to deal with in your own case. What if you get to deal with the worst person from the police department. Every one knows, once the case is registered as legal formally, then there is no looking back.  Both the parties will have to suffer equally irrespective of the fact who is at fault – at least until the case reaches to a conclusion which anyways takes ages in India as we know.

As far as bribe matter is concerned, somehow, here in India we still prefer the other way round. I mean we will feel more comfortable if we find the matter can be solved with some bribe exchanges. At least, we remain hopeful about the case coming to an end which as I mentioned above, in courts takes ages. And when it does, we probably would have forgotten more or less what the case was all about. So, pre or post Anna, I am really not able to see any positive affect as such except the whole India and media is talking about every now and then.

Do share your feedback.

 [stextbox id=”info”]By the way, have you checked out the Gallery section showcasing the pictures of Sonal’s book launch at Mumbai and many more.[/stextbox]

Do I Look Fat? Yes, You Do [Feedback]

This column was published on 11/9/11 in HT City. Here is an excerpt;

“Here are so many weird people in this world. As you will realise soon, this sentence has no connection whatsoever with the topic of this week’s column, but I still felt like starting out by saying this. Maybe I’m one of them. Anyway, here’s what inspired me to write this one. Went to a shopping mall. Mission: to buy a dress for a cousin’s wedding (yes, I did try to dissuade him, he doesn’t listen). There was this young girl there, who had come with an aim to try every damn T-shirt manufactured in the history of that store. So, she kept zooming in and out of the fitting room with two extremely distressed and hapless guys standing outside. Her boyfriend… and the salesman.”

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Sonal has very rightly pointed out that this actually doesn’t matter to anyone as long as you yourself don’t bad about it. Or else start worrying to such an extent that the related stress directly affects your waistline and bring it close to size zero. These days “Do I Look Fat”  is a common syndrome among girls of any age. Most of the people (or women I should say) have this misconception that to look good one has to be slim to maximum possible extent. This is not even close to true. I have seen many girls who inspite of being very thin just don’t look good at all mostly because of inappropriate dressing sense. On the other hand, even most fatty women sometimes look amzing if dressed appropriately.

do-i-look-fat-yes-you-do-feedback-post-a-calmer-you-column-ht-city

Your confidence, your feel good factor about yourself will make you look good automatically irrespective of your waist size. Being thin doesn’t automatically make you look like a model and similarly, being fatty won’t make you look bad always. Question ” Do I Look Fat” is nothing more than a condition of a self doubt. Asking this question repeatitively won’t make you think by itself. So better stop having any self doubt about your looks and stop asking this question and you will automatically start feeling good.

C’mon,out with it now, A calmer you [Feedback]

This column was published on 4/9/11 in HT City. Here is an excerpt;

“Arrey,why are you getting worked up? I know he has bigger, better causes to fight for, but trust me, this problem is lethal.Log munh bana lete hainaur batate nahi kya problem hai. Now tell me, is it any less stressful to cope with such stress-gifters?I normally don’t repeat a topic that’s already been discussed in this column but making an exception this time and taking up something I wrote about last year as well… because I continue to get mails from so many of you who are troubled on account of sulking, or the tendency of a person to withdraw and stay aloof. “

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sonal-kalra-calmer-you-tips-for-sulkers-feedback

Excellent column by Sonal giving calmness tips once again to so called sulkers or people who don’t share and keep quite mostly within themselves. These are really great tips which can help people come out and start sharing and caring. When we talk about such people or observe people who prefer to keep everything just within themselves, we will most often find different behavioural traits leading the people to such a stage. We can not rule out that there are people who must have got some really serious issues in their life which makes them turn into sulkers. But then, we will also find many who would sulk only to prove that their problem is bigger than everyone else.

Each one of us do face our share of problem and issues in life. But there comes a time when the problem become a bit out of control or unbearable, then we must look out to our friends and dear ones to seek solution. However, 25% of the solution of the most of the routine problems of life lies in just sharing which means if a person can really share the problem with someone he/she trust, then the rest of the solution seems quite easier. However, not everyone is able to realize that and instead of sharing, prefer to keep everything withing him/herself. This is when we see them depressed or hopeless most of the time.

It is also true that sometime the problem is so intense that person is just not able to share it inspite of wanting to share. I think, in such cases the close friends may have to go out of the way to help that person even if the person him/herself is not opening up or giving any clue. In these days on internet, it may even be easier because you can communicate with person via email, chat or whatever. Chances of the sulker’s opening up and sharing his problem via such channels is quite high as he/she is not bothered about going through the embarassment which would have been while sharing face to face.

Do you know who my dad is?

You think I’m being sarcastic? Tsk tsk… I have such bad reputation in your eyes. I’m serious. I will start a campaign in aid of all those who suffer from mysterious bouts of amnesia and have to ask who they are or who their dad is, especially if their car bumps into someone else’s. I saw such a person outside a shopping mall this weekend. He was reversing, someone else was progressing (I know it’s wrong English, just sounded funny, thanks). His car brushed the other’s bumper, very slightly, in a peck-on-cheek-of-a socialite-at-a-page3-party way. I wouldn’t have even noticed had I been in that car because, you know, God blesses some with stereos which have a physical disability and you can’t reduce the volume.

calmness tips to avoid fights road rage feelings of insecurity

Anyway, that ‘gentle’man noticed and how. He got down. Inspected the rear of his car by bending at various undescribable angles. And then. SHOUTED. Shouted so loud that even the birds mating on the nearby electricity wires decided to get a room. “Oh teri…(inappropriate).” “What the…(inappropriate)”, is how it began and went up to a stage where every word would have to be beeped out, hence not reproducing here. The guy in the other car also got down. He was trying to explain, very unsuccessfully, while this one had started hyperventilating, pointing to the almost non-existent dent on his car.
Waiting for my own car to arrive, I, along with all other typical delhiites present, were watching the scene with keen interest. Am sure some had even thought of ordering popcorn and pepsi. I was thinking what a crude man… all those abuses for a small dent on the bumper? And then he said it. Loud and clear. “Do you know who I am?” He then turned around menacingly towards the mall parking attendant. “Oh, do you know who my dad is?”
Suddenly I felt this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. We were cursing this poor man, judging him merely because of his colourful language. When he had suffered a loss of memory because of the accident. You tell me, who deserves sympathy … the guy who can’t even explain why he decided to let his car greet the other’s so physically, or this poor man who has, because of an obvious shock due to the dent on the bumper, lost all memory of his identity and was left asking strangers. I asked a fellow by-stander to help him and take him to a doctor but he gave me a weird look. Lots of people do that these days.

[stextbox id=”info”]Calmness Tips to Avoid Road Rage, Fights and Feelings of Insecurity[/stextbox]

Anyway, here are my three tips of dealing with such forgetful creatures as the man in the parking lot that day.

1 Remember that the louder a person shouts in an argument, the more insecure he is from inside:

Aur kya. If you have to depend on volume to make a point, there must be something wrong with the point nah? Don’t get intimidated by raised voices. If someone, specially in a road rage episode, suddenly becomes loud and abusive, look him in the eye and say ‘let’s sort this out when you bring your voice down.’ And go stand in a corner. Haan, it’s another thing that in places like Delhi, he may just pounce on you for saying that, but take your chances.

2 Remember that saying sorry can prevent a lot of regrettable drama:

It is hard to keep screaming at a person who is apologising profusely. Isn’t it? In traffic situations where vehicles are being driven bumper to bumper, it is highly probable that cars or two-wheelers touch each other. Sometimes just a wave of hand from inside your car, acknowledging and regretting it, can save a lot of needless shouting and screaming later. Don’t let ego come in the way, even if it wasn’t your mistake. Think of all the time you’ll waste if a monster decides to descend from the other car and vent all his life’s frustration there and then.

3 Remember that in most cases where the person is shouting ‘contacts’, it works to call the bluff:

“I will make one call and then you’ll feel sorry,” is a sentence we often hear. Ask him/her to go on and make the call. Meanwhile, you also furiously start keying in random numbers on your cell phone. Dial your dry cleaner if you wish, but it is the expression that matters. Even if that guy happens to be a relative of the Prime Minister, it’ll be tough for him to get undue support. Bhai, Anna Hazare ka zamaana hai… even those in power are scared of using their influence unethically. And most importantly, remember that if you are right, you will have the conviction to face anyone, anyway. Don’t think too much before calling the cops if it starts to get bad. We have a false notion that involving cops would mean dragging the matter. Their presence may just help to keep things under control, and believe me, they too prefer to settle a matter amicably than filing reports as it adds to their own lawlessness statistics. And no, they wont ask you for bribe. It’s wrong to generalise, and paint all cops with the same brush. Keep an Anna cap in the car anyway.
It helps.
The Tension-Not calmness award this week to
– Tanveer Nishat, for being the first person to read and give wonderful feedback on this column every week, even sitting far away in the middle-east.
– Supavitra Sachdeva who, incase there is an award for the most mischievous reader in Chandigarh, will win hands down, along with his partner-in-crime Aseem Aggarwal; and
– Aman Budhiraja, who, at a very young age, displays excellent wit and sense of humour on this column’s facebook page, day after day. Long live calmness!!

Sonal Kalra wonders what happened to the guy in the mall who forgot who he was. Hope he reached home safely. Would you pray for him?

C’mon,out with it now, A calmer you

Arrey,why are you getting worked up? I know he has bigger, better causes to fight for, but trust me, this problem is lethal. Log munh bana lete hainaur batate nahi kya problem hai. Now tell me, is it any less stressful to cope with such stress-gifters? I normally don’t repeat a topic that’s already been discussed in this column but making an exception this time and taking up something I wrote about last year as well… because I continue to get mails from so many of you who are troubled on account of sulking, or the tendency of a person to withdraw and stay aloof.

a calmer you column calmness tips for sulkers

It could be one of your friends or family members whose face and behaviour tells you that they are bothered about something but they won’t share. It could also be you who sulks often, and you don’t feel like opening up with anyone because you feel they won’t understand. Either way it causes tremendous stress.

[stextbox id=”info”]Calmness Tips for Sulkers (Avoid Sad and Depression Feelings)[/stextbox]

So, Anna Hazare or not, let us start our own campaign that of eradicating sulking from our country by 2050. Let us, please?

1. Remember, if you won’t tell, we’ll keep repeating:

If you suffer from this disorder (please lemme call it that, how can making a long face and not sharing your problem be normal?), the biggest disadvantage is that those who have done or said something to upset you won’t even know, and will continue to repeat the offence, knowingly or mostly, unintentionally. When in college, there was this guy, Sarfaraz Ahmed, who friends used to tease by calling Naraaz Ahmed. Because he would always be quiet and sulking. In order not to distress him with extra work when he was feeling low, classmates didn’t involve him much in presentations and activities. One day much later into the session, he confessed to a friend that he hated talking to anyone because he felt left-out. He thought that the city kids didn’t want to be friend a small town boy. It came as such a rude shock to us. If only he had said so earlier, we wouldn’t have got into this vicious circle and kept repeating what was, in fact, bothering him.

 [stextbox id=”alert”]When things didn’t go as your plan or back-up plan, don’t sulk. Make new plans! The sun doesn’t stop shining just because of dark clouds. – Author Unknown[/stextbox]


The same holds true, later in life, for sulking partners or spouses. If you won’t tell your girlfriend that something as silly as her wearing a certain dress upsets you because its too short (whether right or wrong is another highly debatable subject), she’ll happily continue to do it, while still fretting about why you don’t seem your usual self.
Then one day during some fight, you’ll end up saying nasty things that’ll hurt her forever. Just.Not.Fair. If you don’t like something, say it upfront. Then figure out how to deal with it.

2. We will ask only twice:

Dekho yaar, we want sulkers of the world to get one thing straight. If you seem upset, we will ask – once, twice. But if you’ll keep replying, ‘I’m fine. Nothing’s wrong’, we will take your word for it. And won’t keep asking again and again. Don’t you then turn around and cry, ‘no one cares for me’. Because we do, and we asked, but you chose to play the ‘all’s well’ false-card. So, deal with it.

3. It never hurts to speak up:

This one’s for those who prefer to go into a shell when something bothers them. See, the thing is, life’s already pretty short and we all know it.

I don’t think you should risk shortening it further by torturing your poor heart with all the mundane matters of life. Let it do its own work, pumping blood is no mean task. Every doctor in the world will tell you that not giving an outlet to your worries and tensions will make you mentally… and physically unwell. Problems are there in everyone’s life. If you think Mukesh Ambani or Shah Rukh Khan have a peaceful sleep every night, you, my dear, are a sweet innocent idiot.
(It’s another thing that if everyone has problems, I’d anyday prefer to cry sitting in Shah Rukh’s Rolls Royce than on an autorickshaw, but let’s not deviate from the subject).
I’m not saying become a crib machine and keep venting in front of everyone you meet, but surely you have someone in your life who won’t mind lending an ear. If you have money to spare, there are some who will charge for it and do it happily (you can mail me for my number, thanks).
If not even that, there are bartenders, barbers, maids who have no choice but to listen to your woes. Get it out of your system. Now. Don’t wait to share your troubles with the nurse at the hospital. She’ll give you a sleeping injection mid-way. Mind it.

Sonal Kalra is writing to the PM for an anti-sulking bill. All those good souls who will sign the petition,

 [stextbox id=”alert”]Being sad and sulking will get you no where, go out and do something about that shit forget that her because she doesn’t care, so why should you. Author Unknown[/stextbox]