Category Archives: Fights

A calmer you: Help! My girlfriend is upset

Just two days after we all bowed down, or were made to, before the ‘fairer sex’ (totally meaningless term, by the way) in the name of International Women’s Day, I dedicate this week’s column to the hapless guys all over the world. Hapless — and I could’ve said helpless too — because of the sheer torture they sometimes suffer at the hands of the girls in their life. The trigger is this mail I got from Krishabh from Indore, the excerpts of which I’d like to share here. ‘My girlfriend gets upset @ 5 times a day. That’s the minimum. I love her and all that, but I feel all my energy just goes in manaoing her and saying sorry a million times. It’s another thing that mostly, I don’t even know what I’m saying sorry for. She sulks endlessly and doesn’t bother to tell me what has hurt her. She says if I love her, I should know. Please help, and don’t disclose my name.’ Well, Krishabh, I so wanted to respect your wish of staying anonymous, but not being able to ignore your attempts at jamming my inbox by sending this mail nine times in the last one week, I’m only adding another letter to your name. So technically, I’m not disclosing your identity but secretly hope this does its bit in shooting up your girlfriend’s ‘average’.


That said, you have my full sympathies for trying to deal with a sulk. It is never easy to be with partners or spouses who decide to use the relationship as a platform to unleash negative behavioural traits, the worst of which is sulking. Also I wonder why people forget the ‘friend’ part the moment they turn into a ‘girlfriend’ or a ‘boyfriend’ to someone. You wouldn’t treat your friends with a perpetually long face because you know they’d leave you in an instant. Just because a boyfriend won’t, it doesn’t mean you take him for granted. In my opinion, someone who often gets upset without caring to even tell the reason doesn’t really deserve to be cared for too much anyway. But then Krishabh my dear, you clearly are in ‘love and all that’ with the sulking beauty and well, to each his own. Here’s what you could do….

[stextbox id=”info”]Boyfriends Girlfriends Fight – Calmness Tips on How to Deal with it[/stextbox]

1. Stop apologising: You are not doing yourself a favour if you are saying sorry to your partner all the time, especially when you don’t know what you are apologising for. Because if you don’t know, you’ll keep repeating whatever has hurt her in the first place. Always remember that uttering ‘sorry’ without meaning it, is worse than not apologising at all.

2. Don’t indulge tantrums: Whenever a person sulks too often, they are essentially trying to manipulate the relationship to make you feel responsible for their emotional immaturity. Encourage this behaviour and you’ll be digging your own grave. I know a guy whose girlfriend’s pet phrase in life is ‘I’m not talking to you’. I and his other friends would see her do that to him in public, and the more he responded with ‘Why honey, what have I done’, the more difficult it was becoming for all of us to look for places to throw up after this excessive display of mollycoddling. Until one day, we sat him down and told him what she was turning him into. He had to realise that him constantly giving into her tantrums was making her feel she was winning at it, and would make her repeat the behaviour far too often. It was not helping either of them, or the relationship in the long run. Next time she said it, he responded with, ‘okay. I’m here whenever you feel like talking.’ It wasn’t negative, and it did the trick. Indulging the excesses of a loved one is a nice gesture at times. But only at times.

 [stextbox id=”black”]It’s completely impossible to find someone who won’t ever hurt you, so go for someone who will make the pain worthwhile. – Author Unknown.[/stextbox]

3. Understand the gender bender: No matter how much we talk about equality in relationships, it is important for both genders to understand the inherent behavioural differences between males and females. Since this week’s column is primarily addressing the guys, let me tell them how a girl’s psyche works. They want conflicting things, and are often unclear themselves about what exactly they are looking for. They’d want attention, but would freak out and call you possessive when you’ll give too much of it. They’d like to be pampered but would behave with defiance when you’ll be at it. In a nutshell, girls are pretty messed up in the head, most of the times… and then there is PMS! But these unpredictable emotional swings may just be the endearing thing about them. Try and understand that, and you’ll sail through. The idea is not to take their mood swings personally and let them know that you are around to care if, when and in the amount that they would desire that care.

4. Talk it out: Oh well, girls love to talk. Didn’t you know that already? Every girl’s favourite and every guys most dreaded sentence in a relationship is ‘We need to talk’. So go ahead, do it for once if her behaviour is taking a toll on your mental health. Tell her it’s not pleasant to see a long face several times in a day and remind her that constant fighting leaves little time for expressing love, and she may just enjoy the latter more.

5. Love or leave: I’m not asking you to dump her. Well actually I am, but only if you are sure that it’s not possible for you to go on being with an ill-behaved adult-child. Rather than living with the guilt of ending a relationship, give her the choice of ‘love or leave’. Tell her you would like to give your relationship a genuine try, but not at the cost of their mood being in the driver’s seat all the time. It’s not too much to ask for, is it? And if you explain yourself clearly, and she still doesn’t get it, it’ll be time to ask yourself some serious questions. Remember, once the charm of a new relationship wears off, the negative traits in a person seem all the more starker. It’s important to sometimes step back and foresee that situation.

Sort your life out, Krishabh. Five times a day is a pretty horrifying average. Bring it down, or bring it all down. And hey, sorry about your identity. But I may just have helped you. Do write back. Not nine times.

Sonal Kalra can never become a relationship counsellor. She’ll keep advising people to break-up and keep losing clients. Hey, is there a job called break-up counsellor?

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A calmer you: Shout out to walking loudspeakers

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If the volume in an argument determined the winner, those with the microphone would rule the world. Many years ago, some idiot had come up with the idea that ‘offence is the best defence’. Till date many idiots are religiously following it. I saw one such respectable gentleman yesterday. His car that seemed being driven at a respectable speed of 80km/hr on an inside lane of my humble residential area, went over a puddle and splashed muddy water on two young girls who were walking alongside.

A calmer you Shout out to walking loudspeakers

Don’t ask me where the puddle came from, considering it’s not rainy season. Because then I’ll have to tell you how Chaddha ji gets too busy with Mrs Chaddha in the morning and forgets to switch their water motor, leading to beautiful water-fall every morning till much after the overhead tank is full. Of course the neighbours don’t object. Don’t you know how important water-falls are to natural beauty? All the kids in the area owe their first prize in school painting competitions to the fact that they can all draw water falls perfectly in landscapes.

Anyway, please don’t divert my attention from the main subject. ‘Hey’, one of the girls shouted, her dress ruined badly by the muddy water. The car stopped. Correction: The car had to stop, not out of a stroke of good conscience by the driver, but because someone else had parked in such a way that he couldn’t turn. Before the girls could say anything, the water-splasher shouted loudly. “Why can’t you walk properly on the road-side. When you can see water on the road, then have the common sense to walk at a distance.” I was watching from my balcony, and had every impulse to go down and enlighten him with the right definition of common sense.

But then I stopped. For all the ‘we won’t take it lying down’ spirit of the youngsters today, I wanted to see how the girls would react. And then it happened. The one who seemed barely 14 raised herself to all her height, and said ‘YOU should have the sense to slow down when your car goes through a puddle.’ And then to my immense satisfaction, the other young girl added, ‘Shouting does not make you right’. I wanted to dance, but then I happened to see Chaddha ji doing aerobics and had to rush inside to throw up. I’m happy that the girls had the courage to stand up against a bully. But I’m happier at them having understood one very basic, very important rule in life — raising your voice does not make you right.
This week my heart goes out to those who have to encounter ‘loudspeaker’ people or LPs in their lives. Bosses, spouses, parents, teachers — LPs can come in any form or size. Their funda during an argument is simple and SO wrong — forget about the content, focus on the volume. Here’s how to deal with them.

1 Don’t deal with them: No, I’ve not lost it, saying two contradictory sentences one after the other. The best way to deal with an LP is to walk out on him or her. The moment a person turns a healthy argument or debate into a shouting match, just refuse to be a party to it. It’s no sign of weakness. It’s a sign of maturity. Always remember that when they want to make a point: toddlers yell, adults talk. If an adult insists on behaving like a tantrum throwing kid, treat him like one and ignore his demands of attention. Tell such a yeller very firmly that you will be happy to resume the conversation when all the shouting and screaming stops.

2 Surprise them: In situations when you can’t physically walk away from someone who is shouting
non-stop, surprise them into silence by doing something sudden and strange. Like whistle. Or switch the topic altogether and say ‘Do you think it will rain today?’ It breaks the chain of their non-stop rant and they’ll be forced to stop and think. Haan, there is a possibility that it may anger them further, so do this from a safe distance.

3 If you are ‘them’: In other words, if you are a habitual yeller and reading this, please take a deep breath, introspect, and slap. Yourself, of course. Do realise that no matter how much you wish for it to be, the volume of human voice has precious little to do with the rightness of a person, or an argument. On the contrary, sometimes people get so put off by the one who always shouts that his right arguments are also not understood or accepted. Because it gives people a chance to brand you as the aggressive one. You don’t want that…do you? I admit that all of us, including myself, have a secret wish to be able to punch some people in the nose without there being any consequences. But then in real life, there are always consequences. Also no matter how important you may feel screaming your lungs out, over aggressive loudspeaker people are not popular, you see. News anchors are exceptions. And they too, mind you, don’t shout around in their personal lives. The most aggressive ones on-screen are mostly soft-spoken ones off it. Energy hi nahi bachti hogi.

4 Know your rights: It’s important that irrespective of the gender, age, occupation, hierarchy etc, you are always aware of your right to not be intimidated. Throughout your life, you’ll encounter yellers who will justify their shouting by saying they did it because they want you to improve. In a lot of instances, they’ll in fact be right in having that intention. It’s upto you, however, to give them the confidence that you are capable of realising your fault and correcting it, without the need of being screamed at. Tell them it’ll save them the energy, you the humiliation and world the noise pollution if the volume is controlled.

5 Speak up when you should: At the risk of contradicting whatever I’ve said so far, let me re-iterate that the virtue of being soft-spoken should never translate itself into staying quiet when there is a need to be heard. Very often we encounter fools who mistake silence for surrender. Speak up, clear and loud if the need be, if you come across flag bearers of the kingdom of insane and unreasonable. Just know how and when to filter noise from substance, both in what the other one says, and what you do.

Sonal Kalra ne itna gyan baanta, how about shouting out a loud cheer?

Religion? Do you even care?

Michelle, I have a confession to make. When you mailed me last week asking me to write on why people fight in the name of religion, I called you an idiot, in my head. For two reasons. One, I felt that I was the most ill-suited columnist for picking on such a serious and so-called sensitive issue, considering my own reputation of being an idiot who finds it funny that a neighbour deflates her car tyres with alarming regularity. And two, because ‘why do people fight in the name of religion’ is a question that used to be the favourite topic for my school debates 20 years back. I thought it would have been answered by now. Why, doesn’t the smart generation of today have an answer for everything these days? It then struck me why a 16-year-old such as you, Michelle, still didn’t have clarity from your peers on this issue. Because they simply That’s it. And I love them for this attitude. You know why, because I feel that even God doesn’t want us to care so much about religion. At least not the way we human beings have come to interpret it.


Before I go on and tell you why I feel it’s okay to not stress too much about religion, I want to set two things straight. I’m not an atheist, or an agnostic or any other fancy term whose definition you’d need to check with Swami Google Baba. But not that I see anything wrong with anyone who is any of those. And second, this article is not about any particular religion, nor is it telling anyone to denounce any faith. If any fanatic is already toying with the idea of sending me a hate mail claiming ‘hurt sentiments’, let me humbly type out a big SORRY to them, using the middle finger.

Coming back to the point, my contention remains that even though a lot of us, especially the younger lot, identify themselves with one religion or the other, it’s done more as a passive habit, and not because we care about it. Even the older ones who may practice more religious habits than the gen-x does, do so mostly because they have more time, and they’ve reached a point where life’s tensions make them seek solace in spirituality of some kind. And the fact that we tend to equate spirituality with praying to the Lord via a religious route is absolutely fine, and fair. But even then, the focus is us, our problems and asking God to solve them, rather than our religion and its issues. And I feel that if there is God somewhere, that’s how He or She would have wanted it. And that it must upset Him a lot to see people scare or threaten or kill each other in the name of faith. Here’s how, I feel, we messed things up terribly for ourselves.

1 We lost the plot: Have you ever seen a situation where the question asked of a classmate was something else and his answer went in a totally different direction because he didn’t understand it? Or when you see someone make a long, fancy corporate presentation but getting the brief all wrong? Dil karta hai thappad lagao, for not even paying attention to the question. Well, that’s how frustrated God must be feeling, seeing us confuse between beliefs — and behaviour. He may have, with all good intention, tried to break the monotony in our lives by giving us diversity in the form of different religions, names of Gods, places of worship, praying practices etc. But all that the poor thing wanted out of us was good behaviour. Hum se itna bhi nahi hua, because hum mandir masjid etc banana mein busy ho gaye. Tell me, if I were to ask you that when you go to a restaurant, what is it that you expect…would you say good service, polite staff, tasty and hygienic food, or would you say Hindu/Muslim/Sikh/Christian waiters, even if they spit in your coffee? Because what matters to ordinary people like you and me, my dear, is how well-behaved another human being is towards us and not whether he prays standing up or sitting down at his home. How the hell do I care? I don’t know the religion of the jerk who punctures my car tyres over parking, but I would still call him a jerk even if he belonged to my most favourite religion. We are no less critical of a Hindu or a Muslim politician when they turn out to be corrupt… and neither do we stop ourselves from ripping apart a brain-dead film whether the actor is Muslim or Hindu. Because what we should — and do care about, is how they touch our lives, not how they spell their name. And knowing this simple fact, we still let some loonies flare up our emotions and dictate our actions through hate speeches, in the name of religion. What kind of losers are we, yaar?

2 We commit to faith, not to behaviour: I wish people were as committed about treating others nicely, as they sometimes are to visiting gurudwaras or temples, mosques or churches. We have the will power to fast for days and the generosity to donate money for renovating places of worship, but not the kindness to give up our seat in the crowded Metro or bus to an elderly man or woman. While you are busy praying loudly every morning, God may be shouting His guts out and saying, ‘I don’t want fancy sacrifices. Just be nice,’ but then who’s listening. We are happily cruising along, generation after generation, with distorted knowledge of faiths and senseless thoughts about how we will die before letting our daughter marry into the ‘other’ religion. Theek hai. Maro.

3 God’s fed up: Here’s a theory, as silly as it may sound. I feel that even if there was God, He’s given up on us now, after seeing the way we are conveniently killing each other by placing the gun on His shoulder. He could very well be busy creating life from the scratch, on another planet. And this time putting a little more brain into them so that they get His brief right. We could be on our own, and that’s scary. If we want Him back, maybe we could try promising him to care a little less about religion and a little more about each other. That’s all He wanted.

Sonal Kalra just realised all the preaching she ended up giving above. She’s gone straight to the Himalayas. Galti ho gayi, jaan loge kya?

How to always win a fight

We in India passionately love three things — Bollywood, cricket and fighting. And if by some stroke of luck, all three combine, just like what happened this week with actor Shah Rukh Khan getting into a brawl at Mumbai’s cricket stadium, the whole nation gets a reason to go into a collective orgasmic state. I was mulling over that episode… and the countless other instances of road rage fights or other brawls that we keep reading about, and thought how someday soon, when our kids will be asked what their favourite hobby is, they might answer drawing, dancing and yelling.

calmness tips handle fights

I actually love yelling… it fills you up with energy, and adds oodles to the self worth. And of course, what fun is yelling without a dash of abuses. After all, in this self-centred day and age, abuses give us a rare chance to fondly remember not just our own mother and sisters, but even those of our opponent.
Nope, I see nothing wrong with fighting. The louder the better.

Just the other day, a neighbour of mine who falls in love with the tyres of all cars that are parked around his palace (not a typo!) so much that he insists on hugging them till they deflate, punctured all four of mine. I was ecstatic at having finally got a chance to go out and try my yelling skills but sadly the peace-loving family and neighbours stopped me.

[stextbox id=”black”]It seems that fighting is a game where everybody is the loser.

-Zora Neale Hurston[/stextbox]

Ab batao…aisa mauka milta kya? Vaise toh everyone is so busy with their damned lives. It’s fights over parking, accidents, kids, garbage etc that give people a chance to get together as a community, as a nation. In fact, in the interest of brotherhood, the government should make it compulsory for everyone to stop whatever they are doing the moment two people get into a brawl and gather around them.
What? They already do so where you live? Lucky, yaar. Anyway… let me not digress into explaining the well established benefits of fighting and getting into brawls. The intention today is to tell you some clever tips which will ensure that whenever you indulge into them, you emerge victorious. Satyamev Jayate. Whatever.

[stextbox id=”info”]Calmness Tips on How to Handle Fights and Arguments[/stextbox]

1. The ‘ascending volume’ mode: Nahi samajh aaya? Science tells us that those who start the argument itself by yelling, go short of breath in around 3 minutes 37 seconds. Don’t make that mistake. Have you seen the ‘ascending volume’ mode of ringtones in mobile phones? Where the first ring is soft and then the volume grows louder with each ring.
Do that. A person who’s already yelling at the top of his voice when a fight begins is considered ‘hyper’ by the crowd. The one who is speaking softly and suddenly raises the volume somehow seems justified in doing so. It’s like people think — bechaare ko majboor kar diya awaaz uthaane ke liye. Gain public sympathy. It’s a trump card.

2. Win over the accomplice of your opponent: In any brawl, the friends of the two warring factions gather around them. Suddenly in the middle of a loud argument, turn to the person who is ferociously supporting your opponent and say… ‘bhai sahib, you look the most sensible of all, why don’t you tell your friend to behave?’
Take the dushman by surprise. Suddenly that friend will see this as his/her duty towards sensible human behaviour to try and intermediate in a civil way. Got it? See, interfering into other peoples’ arguments is our birth right and people would do that. So, don’t tell them things like… tum beech mein mat bolo, or mind your own business. In fact say… please intervene… only you can put some sense into your friend’s head. And, then see what happens. Divide and rule hai bhaiya… hamesha kaam aata hai.

3. Don’t get personal: I somehow feel you risk losing all sympathy from the onlookers if you pass a personal comment about your opponent, even though you may be absolutely right. Personal insults about a person’s character, appearance etc may not be relevant to the issue at hand and may make you seem like a mean person.
Rather, provoke the opponent to pass a personal comment on you if your own argument starts to go weak. The moment he/she falls for it, make that your main grudge and launch into an attack. Something like ‘Aur sab chhodo mujhe paagal kaise bola? Kaise, kaise?’ If however you are fighting for the right cause, don’t digress from the issue. Stay focussed. Oh no, I’ve changed my mind.

[stextbox id=”black”]Fights in real life between real people only last so long before someone gets seriously hurt.

-Robert Kirkman.[/stextbox]

4. Don’t stay focussed: If you see an endless argument going nowhere, enjoy the fight by going off on a tangent and totally confusing everyone. Say something totally meaningless. I once saw a gentleman who, in a loud argument with a colleague, kept saying, ‘Oh tu jaanta nahi hai’. After around 20 times, I asked him ‘kya nahi jaanta?’ He didn’t have an answer.
Utterly irrelevant, clichéd and exaggerated punch lines are such a blessing I tell you. Like say, “If you’ll keep deflating tyres, socho what will happen to our nation one day.” Let your opponent be baffled about what’s the connection. Confuse kar kar ke maaro.

Finally, something on a serious note.
Arguments help no one except the public that gets entertainment without a ticket. Silence or violence, you have to decide. I choose the former. It makes me feel stronger.

Sonal Kalra forbids everyone from informing her neighbours about this column, till she thinks of tips to counter these tricks.

Love thy neighbour? Yeah right!

All those who have, at least once, wanted to shoot their neighbour say aye I feel like it every day. Not wanted to kill all of them, lest you think national dailies these days hire bloody psychopaths to write columns. In fact overall, I’m blessed with a fairly decent neighbourhood with some really nice people around. But you know how it is, when one household, exceptionally talented in bugging the life out of you, undoes the goodwill of the well-behaved.

Here’s this family that collectively, and firmly believes that none of its members will attain nirvana till they don’t fight over at least 286 issues with whoever has the misfortune of breathing the same air as them. No amount of smiling or greeting warmly works on such people, because, you know, where’s the competition between short-term peace and ultimate moksha.

calmness tips to deall with bad neighbours

[stextbox id=”info”]Calmness Tips to Deal with Bad Neighbours and Avoid Fights[/stextbox]

We’ve all had neighbours from hell, at some point or the other in our lives. Having had a hobby, since childhood, of watching people fight over the silliest of matters, here’s my take on the five kinds of devil neighbours, who can disrupt the peace in your life with amazing precision.

1.‘We-own-the-universe-and-everyone-else-is-a-tenant’ neighbours:

It’s not their fault. They genuinely feel they own the earth. All of it. So, they’ll decide where and how they will park their automobiles, they’ll decide how much and in what direction their house will be extended, they’ll decide who and what goes up and down the community stairs. Everyone else but them is low life and can jolly well go to hell.

2. ‘We-love-everything-loud’ neighbours:

Ab batao, why hold it against them if they understand music only when played at deafening decibel levels? You and your ear drums are your problems. And you are anyway low life, remember? So they’ll enjoy partying till late, talking long distance without bothering for a telephone instrument, and even practicing to be India’s first professional opera singers. You dare not step into their reign of musical terror.

3. ‘We-will-keep-a-pet-but-won’t-know-what-to-do-with-it’ neighbours:

They are noble souls. They have adopted (or stolen, whatever) a pet. Just that now they’ve left it chained to the balcony, for the poor thing to bark his lungs out. What? The balcony is next to your window? How is it their problem? Change the structure of your house and move the window elsewhere — after seeking permission from the ‘landlords’ of the first category. Don’t worry, they won’t allow. They never allow anything. You’ll just have to grow fond of the barking sound. Isn’t music in the ears of the beholder or something? And don’t you think about complaining that their beloved pet shits on the stairs. Take it as a gift from heaven. And they own the stairs, remember?

4.‘We-are-the-garbage-kings-and-you-are-the-dustbin’ neighbours:

At least they believe in the virtue of cleanliness. They could have retained all the garbage in their home and get the pleasure of watching the stench kill you, but are they doing that? No nah? If they are so nice, why are you creating a fuss if they throw all of it in front of your house.

5. ‘We-will-peep-till-we-sleep’ neighbours:

They like to watch. Ab is mein bhi objection hai? Maybe they are trying to learn new household techniques by constantly watching you cook in the kitchen. Learn to enjoy the stares coming from across the window, through the curtains, sometimes blatantly from the balcony. Have you not heard of the ‘neighbourhood watch scheme’ of the Government? Apparently it’s good for us.

So, you see, that’s the kind of people you could find yourself living next doors to. And ironically enough, I’ve noticed that mostly, the good neighbours move out after a few years but the ones from hell stay on permanently for dear life. Anyway, if the stress of annoying neighbours is keeping you from staying calm, try going through the following stages to deal with them.

Stage 1 – Ignore: At least till your patience runs out. Turning your neighbourhood into a battleground affects everyone, and doesn’t really help in the long run. If the neighbour inflicts minor irritants on you off and on, try living with it for the sake of your own peace of mind.

Stage 2 – Talk: Knock on the door and tell them politely that their behaviour is causing disturbance. Sometimes people don’t know or realise that their actions are bothering others till they are informed about it. Lack of intelligence or etiquette does not necessarily come with an unwillingness to improve. Actually it mostly does. Sorry!

Stage 3 – Complain: I’m not suggesting you become a police-phoner at the drop of a hat but if things are getting out of hand everyday, there’s no harm in taking help from those who get paid, out of the taxes you work you’re a** off to give, just to protect your rights. Call the cops.

Stage 4 – Get even: Now this one’s tricky, because many of you won’t agree with me. But kya karein, I’m not as saintly as all of us are taught in school to be. We are always told to not do anything wrong to anyone, and that’s very valid. Just that we forget that ‘anyone’ also includes us. My philosophy is simple: Don’t do anything wrong. And don’t let anything wrong happen to you. Now, how you interpret ‘getting even’ is up to you. A friend of mine who decided to move because she was sick of her neighbour’s ugly behaviour got inspired from a website and posted a ‘Flat on sale because the neighbour is an ass***’ note outside. That it didn’t really help her in getting buyers is another matter. But you do get the point, no? Step on to the darker side if being nice is not helping. Sometimes you’ve got to be a scumbag to deal with one. But hey, always stay within the law. Okay?

By the way, I’m running away for a few days after this brave attempt. So, no column next week. Maarna mat.

Sonal Kalra suitably bribed the newspaper vendor to not deliver today’s paper to the adorable neighbour. She later found out they don’t even subscribe to it. Clever vendor, you’re in trouble