Category Archives: Happiness

Together or happily together

There I am sitting in my office with a colleague and friend of mine listening to her over and over again about her latest relationship issue with her boyfriend. As she is telling me about the umpteenth time about how her boyfriend kept a secret from her that he had a fling with a girl around eight years ago before even meeting my friend. As she pines on about how she is feeling betrayed and offended by his behaviour I take a few moments to look at our new trending relationships. I feel that there has been a massive change in the sense of the word ‘Relationship’. Be it couples, friends or families….Now with a modern lifestyle, a pressurizing multinational job, a home and a family to take care of our ways of dealing with relationship hues and blues have changed. Or have they? It has become more and more difficult to stay happy and contented. But most of the times we are the only ones to create the illusion of unhappiness in a smooth life. Let’s take a look at a few things on which our relationships are based.

happily together

Honesty…*!#$@#!? Yes Dear

What meaning does the term honesty hold to you? Apart from being truthful about the basic things in our lives there is a fine line in being honest and preventing a heart-break or an argument. Are you honest to your husband or boyfriend that you were dream looking at that greek god kind of guy in the mall who oh.. by the way was also helping in shopping for his girlfriend. Uhgghh! So jealous! While your better half was trying to figure out which pant size he has grown into. Or do you tell them that you would rather be watching ‘Himmatwala’ than going bowling with him, his friends and their show-off wives. Oh and to be honest ‘Himmatwala’ also needs a whole new level of courage to sit through!

And now over to the men. Do you guys ever muck up the guts to say it to your girlfriend or wife that she still looks the same even after spending ten hours at the parlour and the amount of money by which you could have gladly bought a new lazy boy chair for you. Now that would have been beautiful. Isn’t it? And yes do you remember the time when you had gone to a wedding and your girl got mad with the fact that you were staring at that hot bod girl in a saree with the flat stomach (That b*@#ch! Don’t they ever eat anything?) And you got away with an excuse that she looked anorexic! Of course a little plump girl also looks cute…Who needs to be with a flat board anyway!….So whatever our reasons to be honest of this ‘kind’ they sure can come helpful when trying to save yourself the trouble of getting in an ugly place in your relationship or better..to stay happy in it.

Love…The wow word

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of love? Is it a typical romantic Hollywood movie which you saw and wanted it to come true with flowers, chocolates, kisses and mushiness or the kind of love which can actually stay alive for a very long time in reality. In the starting phase of our relationship we really do enjoy the pampering and the attention which slowly fizzles out and you realise that now you are not boggling your brains out about which dress you should wear to your evening date rather you are quizzed about which is the best and safe money investment plan which can be helpful for your future.

But are we not missing out on a few details here. Why do you think your wife cooks your favourite ‘gajar ka halwa’ and ‘kheer’ every second day when she doesn’t even has a sweet tooth? Or why doesn’t she ever fail to keep your lucky blue shirt all washed and ironed before your every big presentation. And girls why do you think that your husband always switches on the hot water in the morning before you have to get up and start working on your day. He didn’t remember Valentine’s day but still somehow never forgets to give you your vitamins every day. Aren’t these the kinds of things which make us feel loved and cared of? Sure we all have a very busy life but we need to take a moment and notice that love doesn’t always need to be a Mills & Boon novel but hey….it’s not that bad either.

Space…Yeah. We all need it.

Now, I think you know what I am talking about. But still I am going to take the liberty of explaining it for some of us who are alien to this concept. Come on ladies I’ll talk to you first. Do you like it when your husband or boyfriend calls you every thirty minutes to ask how you are? What are you doing? Where and with whom are you? Yes I know it makes you go crazy. So why don’t you too give your spouse a little break from this. Whenever he goes out with his guys or even at home sometimes you need to just let him be. You have to stop nagging about every single little thing that you told them to do but he didn’t or forgot to. Sometimes all you need to do is to enjoy each other’s company and let each other breathe…(You can do a little bit of nagging later…I know work just doesn’t happen without it either!)

And guys you also need to know that your girl also needs a little time off. Do you know how many things are going on in their head? You don’t even think as much in two days that she covers in an hour! Let her also get off the wheel and relax. I’m going to spare you from recounting the list of her side of work and activities (You’re welcome.)

Talking…Hmmm.

The last thing which I would like to conclude in our discussion is talking. Well we girls sure have a master’s degree in it but I am not talking about the gossips in which we include our men. Like the latest piece of jewellery your neighbour was wearing or how you think you have gained weight (sniff!..touchy topic). But you know I can go on and on. And boys we girls aren’t exactly interested in your hours long discussion about sports or business talk either. Some of these topics just fly over our head!

What I mean to say is that sometimes we just forget to say things that hold much importance than these. Like telling your wife who is exhausted from her hectic day that how much you appreciate her and love her. (Yes..We love to hear it). And girls I know your guy can be a great listener (sometimes with a blank expression) but you got to give him a chance to be able to open up to you. Just let him know that if something is bothering him you are also there for him too.

So people…problems are there in everyone’s lives but we should feel lucky and thankful that we have got someone with us to get over them. It’s not exactly a perfect life but together we can make it. Hmmpfh! Now that I have spoken a lot…excuse me..i have to get back to listening to my friend.

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A Calmer You: who’s the joke really on?

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Tired of being the butt of their jokes? Take pity on those who would have no laughter in life if YOU won’t oblige. Why Columbus would have never discovered America if he was married?’ asked a colleague the other day, reading an SMS joke he’d got. Before I could ask him how the sender was so sure of Columbus’s unmarried bliss, I saw him roll over with laughter while reading out the answers. “Because his wife would have said things like — Kab tak wapas aaoge?; main aur bachche bhi saath chalte hain; Ghar baithe baithe hi discover kar lo; agle hafte mere bhai ka birthday hai uske baad chale jaana; hamesha tum hi kyun karte ho — koi aur nahi kar sakta discover?”

A Calmer You who’s the joke really on
I soon saw him add a couple of points of his own to the joke and forward to yet another married friend. I too found it rather funny. And then the age old thought occurred to me that much like blondes in the West, how the funniest of jokes in our culture often target women. And Sardars. And lawyers. And mothers-in-law. And so on. And how I, like most of you, have grown up laughing away at such jokes in good humour and not thinking any further. But, the other day I got a mail from a regular reader, Vishakha Jain, who wrote “I have been driving a car — perfectly and way better than guys — for years now. So, when I get jokes and forwarded emails showing all women drivers as careless fools, it upsets me. Is it not stressful when you see horrible generalization in the name of humour?”
Well, Vishakha, to be honest I’ve never looked at it this way. Because I feel the whole point of a joke is that we don’t take it seriously. But now that you have raised this point, let me ask the readers of this column.
Does it secretly stress you out if you belong to a category that’s often the target of jokes? Does it stress you even more that you are ‘expected’ to take it all in good humour and laugh along each time? Here’s what I think about this, but I would surely wait to know what you all have to say.
1. Generalisation, according to me, is important to ensure that a joke remains just that. If it is specific, it could seem personally offensive to someone and that’s wh thene humour flies right out of the window. As it is, we are such a stiff and uptight society. We are ready to be offended at the drop of a hat. Half of us don’t even remember the last time we laughed our guts out. Even on the funniest of jokes, we take pride in curbing our laughter. I actually know a guy who wouldn’t let a smile escape his mouth, no matter what. Tell him a rib-tickling joke and you could notice, perhaps with a magnifying glass, just a slight twitch on the corner of his lips.
Because he thinks its un-manly to display emotions. And then there are those who specialise in killing someone else’s joke by interrupting and announcing ‘pehle suna hua hai’. So basically, a society where youngsters write LOL without even smiling most of the time, is anyway averse to actual laughter. Aise mein generalisation or not, at least keep the jokes coming as a saving grace.
2. Secondly, I personally feel those category of people on whom jokes are mostly cracked are way more evolved than others. Take wives, for instance. It’s only they who good-naturedly suffer jokes on them and their mothers. Can’t imagine husbands handling even half the pot-shots without there being raging ego battles. As for Sardars, even if the whole nation stands in salute forever in front of this hard working community, which not only gracefully allows us to crack jokes on them, but also laughs along, it won’t be enough. Those who can only laugh at the expense of others need to learn bigtime from their more mature counterparts.
3. And finally Vishakha, if you do indeed feel strongly offended by someone’s jokes, then perhaps you should express your displeasure. It’s a wrong feeling to live your life feeling you’re being steamrolled by others. But trust me, jokes are more often an expression of camaraderie than aggression. So, don’t be in a stress to turn the tables or prove a point needlessly. Men call women drivers careless only to hide the fact that they themselves are busy noticing them on the road. Chill. But hey, could you please still tell me why most women leave the handbrake on?.
Sonal Kalra is tired of hearing the same jokes. She’s willing to sponsor a community dedicatedly devoted to coming up with mean jokes on men. Any takers?

5 simple steps: Happiness guaranteed

This world has two kinds of people, those who keep waiting for the right time to be happy, and those who…Chalo ji, tension over. I thought with life being so unpredictable, who knows till when will I get an opportunity to give you gyaan about calm-sutra. Let us, in one stroke, figure out the magic formula for happiness. I can see that some of you have already put the cynics’ cap on, and are rolling your eyes on this 243567th attempt by a self-help writer to tell you how to be happy. I wish I could humour your cynicism further by saying things like, ‘no one, but I, can teach you how to be happy’, but all that is bullshit and you know it.

a calmer you column calmness tips on how to be happy

Calmness Tips on How to be Happy

Nothing I ever say in this column is something you don’t already know. But you still read it, right? Please allow me to share the steps I recently followed to drag myself out of a phase where I was feeling a bit low and out of sync. Believe me, these five steps work, no matter what the nature or cause of your unhappiness is. Because, this formula, my dearies, focuses on the solution, not the problem. Instant satisfaction guaranteed. Please send Rs. 1000 by cash/cheque/Bank DD (It had anyway started to sound like an ad to cure impotency, so added that for effect :)).

1 Check your surroundings

Close your eyes (not now, Einstein, after you finish reading the column) and think about the people you normally spend your day in the company of…colleagues, boss, classmates, facebook friends. Ask yourself if you are spending your days being around people who are mostly happy. If the answer to that is no, please stand up. Bend your right leg backwards and raise it till your foot reaches the right level. Kick yourself in the a**. Heart patients and pregnant women, please abstain. Those who are planning to write to me saying it’s impossible to kick yourself over ‘there’, please remember that you will have to first admit that you actually tried it.
Anyway, the point is this. Happiness is an infectious trait. You have to be around positive people to catch the right infection. If you are wasting away your time in the company of
constant whiners and people who have nothing good to say about anyone or anything, you will, sooner or later, start to sound like them. Avoid. If you have to be physically around them out of compulsion, learn to switch off mentally at the very moment someone starts to say something negative. Start thinking about Rakhi Sawant saying she wants to marry Baba Ramdev, but remember to nod at frequent intervals, with an utterly serious expression, to not give it away.

2 Take the Joy-Test

Every Friday evening, take a piece of paper and on one side, make a list of problems you are going through. (Note: if your list mentions the word boyfriend/girlfriend more than twice, stand again and repeat the exercise you did in step 1, you loser!). On the other side, make a list of things that gave you joy in the past week. Simple pleasures like sharing a cup of coffee with an old friend from school and remembering the crush you both had on the biology teacher. Or indulging in that extra helping of French fries you had when no one else was looking. Or waking up to see that beautiful bird perched on your balcony at sunrise. For every two joys on your list, give yourself one mark. If the total number of joy-marks are more than the number of problems on your list, you have passed the joy test for the week. Treat yourself to something you really enjoy, on Saturday. Make it a rule to do this for six months and you’ll start adding more joys to make every Saturday of your life memorable.

3 Kill the ‘when’ word

The biggest rule in the happiness formula is simple – abhi nahi toh kabhi nahi. If you ever talk about being happy in a sentence, which has the word ‘when’ at the end, you’re not getting it right. ‘I’ll be happy ‘when’ – I will – get good marks, get admission, get a job, be rich, lose weight, get married, have babies, buy my dream car, get retired, blah, blah and blah.’ The moment you use the word ‘when’, you put a condition on your happiness. Since your mind is not your slave, it retaliates by ensuring that when you achieve any of these, the condition shifts to the next benchmark. Kill the when. Right now.

4 Try out something crazy, and new

If the first thought that came to your mind was ‘drugs’, I’m alarmed at what kind of weirdos read my column. It is a scientifically proven fact that doing something you’ve never done before releases happy hormones in your body. I checked it in my own state-of-the-art laboratory. And no, you don’t have to now suddenly think of bungee jumping or deep sea diving. Ek toh movies ne hamein bigaad diya hai. We don’t look at simpler things. How about spending an entire day-out, just with yourself. Go, watch a movie alone, then head off to the market and gift yourself something really nice, get into a restaurant and enjoy a lavish meal with a nice drink. For a lot of us, even that has never been tried before. We are too busy putting riders on our own enjoyment. Give yourself a break.

5 Infect others

If as per step 1, your happiness rests on having happy people in your life, surely you also have to be one such person for those who have you in their lives. Last week I happened to be invited to a party where I did not really know anyone from before, except the host. I was obviously wary of spending much time in the company of people I hadn’t met before, and kept looking at my watch every five minutes, till I got introduced to this group of women who were laughing the loudest. They turned out to be so full-of-life and happy that the next time I looked at my watch, it was 4am. Happiness, as I said, is infectious. It would have been fairly easy for those women to have spent time cribbing about jobs, kids, mother-in-laws, weight … but they chose to spend time laughing and cracking jokes. If you spread laughter, God figures out a way to reward you by giving more reasons to laugh often. If you become the reason for someone else failing their joy-test, you are unlikely to pass yours for too long. Simple.
Sonal Kalra has given kuchh zyada hi deep philosophy this time. What should be her punishment.

A Calmer You: how to permanently kill your sense of humour

Even a flicker of laughter is henceforth banned on this column. You have to pass a test before I let you read this week’s write-up. Get up and go in front of the mirror. Carefully look at the photo of the girl on this page and then at yourself in the mirror. Ensure that your facial expression is as pathetic, forlorn and sad, if not more. Khabardaar agar smile kiya toh! Through advanced augmented reality, I’ll get to know who is smiling, and my curse will ensure that your face bears a constipated look every single time you get photographed for the rest of your life. Those of you who haven’t got married yet, apni wedding albums ke bare mein soch lo. You can’t afford to take this risk, can you? Now with the serious face, try to understand my point this week. After leading an utterly useless life that involved baring my teeth and giggling away to glory at the slightest provocation, I have finally found a mission in life.

sense-of-humor

To attain, and help everyone around me attain a state of zero sense of humour. Because in the past few days, some people have helped me realise that laughter is the silliest of human emotions. That it is frivolous and wasteful to tickle the funny bone when you can utilise that time to indulge in critical and meaningful activities like getting offended and preaching morals. And haven’t you noticed, serious people are way cooler than us idiots who can’t contain their laughter and let out strange, gurgling sounds from the throat. Toh maine toh decide kar liya. No cracking jokes anymore. In any case, most people don’t get my twisted sense of humour. And it gets me into trouble more often than I care.

Last week I went to the neighbourhood park for a walk, and then sat on the bench to watch small kids play on the swings. A woman sitting next to me tried to strike a conversation and asked which of the children was mine. Intently gazing ahead with a devilish expression, I replied “I’m still trying to decide”. Before I could pat my back on my brilliant joke, the woman had rushed to collect her child and warn others about the demented kidnapper on the bench. Reputation barbaad in the colony, permanently. Hasna hi nahi ji mujhe ab…not at all.

And this came exactly a day after a police constable scolded me, when, on seeing a road-side sign that said ‘Yeh bus-stop aage chala gaya hai’, I scribbled underneath – ‘Usey jaane kisne diya?’ I got a long lecture about how padhe-likhe people should not indulge in mazaak. Anyway, his scolding was justified, but this thing of how I can be cool, mysterious and intellectual only if I’m serious in life has entered my head strongly now. So, for myself, and for all of you who need growing up, here are tips to become permanently serious.

1. Be a joke killer: Go to a temple and take the oath that you’ll never let a joke break your resolve of not laughing like mad people who have no control over their emotions. If someone says a joke, stare at them as if they’ve lost it. In fact, read up all the jokes on the net, so that if someone tries telling a joke, you can kill their punchline, or make that genius remark – ‘Suna hua hai. Puraana hai’. I’ve seen people do this to others’ jokes and although all this while I hated such spoilsports, now suddenly I have newfound respect for them. In fact, I demand a special reward for those brave people who take pride in saying ‘hamein toh hansi nahi aayi’ when someone tells a joke. They are the real assets because of who India continues to hold a serious position in the global scenario, otherwise the velapanti gang of non-serious people would have laughingly destroyed our image. Flippant fools, I tell you.

2. Take everything literally: Wipe off the concept of metaphors or clever phrases from your head. Be an expert at missing the point and start taking everything anyone says literally. You may be branded as an annoying ass but so what? It’s all for a good cause. Argue endlessly with people as if they mean everything they’ve said. Slowly people will start avoiding saying anything non serious in front of you. The shallow frivolities will be out and life will become meaningful.

3. Make a mental bank of sad thoughts: Since I’m trying it out these days, let me tell you that reaching the zero sense of humour stage is not as easy as it sounds. Your body will want to revolt, a smile will try hard to escape your mouth in certain situations. But you have to be strong. What really helps is having a bank of sad thoughts in your head. The moment something funny starts to happen around you, retrieve an image from the bank – it could be the first time you got thrashed by the school teacher, or the moment when your girlfriend made you spend all your pocket money in a single date, or the state of poverty in Africa, or the rising corruption in our country. Anything that’ll keep you from feeling happy at that moment.  I’ll personally congratulate you once you’ll reach that level of turning sad anytime you want to. What an achievement sir ji!

4. Act depressed: This is tough, but together we can manage it if we try really hard. Stop wearing bright colors, switch over to earthy, dull shades. Keep your eyes a bit droopy all the time, and your expression confused and fed up. When you say something, don’t let even a hint of enthusiasm enter your voice. If someone else tries to speak to you, say ‘hain?’ with an utterly irritated expression at least thrice. Make them feel as if they are THE burden on mother earth and should not take the risk of saying anything non-serious in front of you. Every once in a while, go on facebook and leave sad, preachy comments on all the so-called funny status updates. Do it on my timeline too. Oh, you already do so? Okay.

5. Make fraandship only with serious people: Stick to people who are unfunny since birth. I once found one such woman in a hospital. She said she was there to ‘donate’ her eyes, rather than ‘pledging’ her eyes for donation. So I asked her, with all genuineness, if she had someone to take her back home since she won’t be able to see. She shouted so rudely at me that for a moment I was also tempted to be equally rude and add that if she decides to donate her entire body, a hungry family of four in certain countries could survive just on her right thigh for a year, but stopped myself just in time to avoid being slapped. I have now decided to pursue her till she makes me her best friend. Together we’ll spend our lives, spreading the message of seriousness all around us. Amen.

Sonal Kalra declares that nothing will make her laugh anymore. The only exception is Chaddha ji doing Kapaalbhaati aasan in the balcony…lol.