Category Archives: Lifestyle

A Calmer You: there’s no party tonight!!

Hey, all those who are sick and tired of being asked by people how they are partying on New Year’s eve, let’s do a party. Party of the so-called ‘bores’ who, for whatever reasons, don’t want to go out and paint the town red on 31st December. I’m one of them. I have nothing, in principle, against being four drinks down and not quite remembering which year is starting when the clock strikes twelve, but I have issues with doing this under peer pressure.

There were those good ol’ days not many years back when we would excitedly discuss what would come on television on the night of 31st December. The whole family would huddle together to clap and cheer some not-so-successful film stars who would oblige TV viewers for once, by making an appearance on Doordarshan’s new year eve special programme. Usha Uthup, wearing her big large bindi and chanting Happy New Year, in her heavy voice, would ring into our years well past midnight. Then came the barrage of private TV channels, and they started running telecast of various film award shows on New Year’s eve for vellas like me who wouldn’t be out partying. Ab toh shayad woh bhi nahi aata…usually TV channels have some blockbuster film being aired for the 23rd time…just as to say…here, take this, losers. If you are that aalsi or anti-social that you prefer sitting in the rajai as the world welcomes the new year, you deserve no more than the dialogues of Chennai Express when the calendar changes dates. Well, theek hai, I’m okay being called anti-social because I’m running out of excuses when I’m faced with the dreaded question. Sample this conversation I had with a colleague the other day:

He: So, what’s your plan for the New Year’s?A Calmer You there’s no party tonight
Me: I’ll avoid going out. Too much fog on the roads.
He: This time no fog predicted on that evening. Some western disturbances from Rajasthan have blown it away
Me: Oh, good. But anyway, roads are full of drunk drivers
He: Our own paper has done stories about how the police is too strict this time to check drunken driving.
Me: Actually, restaurants have too much of waiting…it’s as if the whole city is out to eat.
He: Do you want me to book you a table? I have contacts. You must go to a place with live entertainment … that’s the whole point of New Year’s eve.
Me: No, thanks. Actually I’ve been waiting the whole year to watch if Usha Uthup comes on some channel at midnight.
He: You are quite weird.

Ab stress hoga yah nahi? It’s as if you have failed an interview if you don’t have a good enough
reason for not doing something that the whole world loves. You see, I have nothing against those who love partying and look forward to this break but the problem is with having the same expectations from those who either don’t want to, or cannot for some reason, have any party plans. To add to this, here are two sub-stresses:

1  The SMS your wish stress: Come the last few days of December and we get bitten by the SMS bug. Copy, paste, create — do whatever — but the wishes have to be texted to the 1400 contacts in your phone book. It’s party time for the telecom service providers because some polite people also diligently respond with a ‘Thank you’ message after each wish. A friend recently told me about some new Chinese app that lets you send these bulk messages on a discount without them seeming like the kanjoos ones that come through the bulk-sms-websites. But Chinese… and discounted… what if this app leaves out something from my wish, to cut costs? Health, happiness, prosperity mein se koi ek-aadha be chhoot gaya toh? I’d rather pay extra for the ‘right quality’ SMSs or make an excuse that I’ve lost my phone or something. I also once tried the excuse that I don’t message anyone because I don’t believe in the ‘English calendar’s New Year’. Someone asked me when the Hindu new year was. I didn’t know. Stress.

2 The post your party pics on Facebook stress: Ab New Year’s eve pe bhi Facebook mein kuchh update nahi kiya toh why are you alive, you moron? Everyone will update their party plans, then their party pics, then their hangover pics. If the pics and status show you dancing away in Goa…suddenly you’ve justified your existence on this planet. If by chance it’s Bali or Ibiza in place of Goa…oh boy, you have arrived, and how. The stress of competing with vacation-flaunters is no mean task I tell you. Himika from my team just told me about this ex-friend of hers (assuming that he’ll no longer be a friend after this) who would be under so much stress to post vacation pics on Facebook that he would download some ‘touristy’ pics of an exotic place like Jamaica from Google, post them up with updates on how he’s enjoying his vacation, and go underground for a few days. It’s only when the photos never showed him — or any other human being for that matter — that someone investigated to find him holed up at home. The poor guy didn’t know enough to photoshop himself on those pics. I also once tried faking an exotic vacation pic. Facebook took revenge by showing ‘posted from Shakurpur’ underneath my ‘Frolicking in Venice and loving it’ status update. I don’t like these social networking sites ever since. Technical blunders, you see.

Anyway, on a serious note —party hard, by all means. But please don’t stress others out by badgering them with questions about their plans. If they have plans and want to flaunt them, they would anyway not stop from telling you. What are you
wearing, where are you going, how are you spending — kind of questions are conversation starters for most people, without realising that they can put the other one in some kind of complex about not having a ‘happening’ enough live. Let me suggest an alternate, polite conversation starter to you. How about — ‘Is Usha Uthup performing in any TV studios this New Year’s eve?’

Sonal Kalra has decided to holiday in Jamaica, this New Year’s eve. Watch out for the pics. She has learned how to switch off ‘location info’.

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All for the two blue ticks from hell

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Chalo ji, ek naya syapa start ho gaya hai. C’mon, you don’t know ‘syapa’? Okay. My dear body-in-Bhogal-but-mind-in-Berkeley friend, a nightmare has begun, bro! I had gone blue in the face telling everyone that the colour blue would someday ring a death bell for all of us, but no one believed me. Now, it has taken a firang tech company to make you all go, ‘Holy Sh**, what is this?’

Yeah, yeah, I’m referring to nothing but the two blue marks from hell, the ones that indicate that you’ve actually read someone’s whatsapp message on your phone. Till now you were in a state of bliss, you had quit Blackberry because of the wretched ‘R’ (for read) that would replace the less feared ‘D’ (for delivered) in a second, moved to Whatsapp because over here, the two grey ticks could only ­indicate that a message had been delivered to your phone, but not necessarily read by you…so life was all cool. Your boyfriend/­girlfriend was back to being in love with you, your boss was all understanding, your wife didn’t turn into a Durga avatar every now and then, your parents didn’t freak out all so often. Then suddenly, the grey turned to blue. And chaos descended.

whatsapp-blue-ticks

Don’t Let the Whatsapps Blue Ticks Make You Stressed.

All the ‘I love you baby’ is soon going to turn into ‘Are you ­ignoring me? You read my ­message two hours back. Am I not important for you anymore?’ You’d no longer be able to tell the monster boss that the urgent mail he asked for got sent four hours later because you had missed reading his instructions on Whatsapp. Chat group ke har stupid forwarded joke pe nakli ka LOL karna padega…uff.  There’s panic in the air. Dil se bad dua nikal rahi hai. Morons. Don’t they have any worthwhile ­innovations to spend their ­creative genius on? Maybe not. But, now that the stress is here, can the calmness tips be far behind?

1. Take a deep breath

Inhale from one nostril and exhale from the other. Sorry, I know this has nothing to do with Whatsapp. Style maarne ke liye tha. You see, any advice on ­calmness that starts with deep breathing has a greater ­acceptability, internationally. Coming back to the point, before the two blue ticks give you a ­nervous breakdown, allow me to take your memory back to ­another epidemic that had struck our Whatsapp universe not so long ago.sonal-kalra-a-calmer-you-column

Remember the ­life-threatening disease called ‘last seen at…’? Millions died of it, countless relationships were buried in mass graves amid shouting matches. The doctors worked relentlessly on finding a cure. All of us, for once, left cast, creed, religion, nationality, behind and  prayed. Together, we found the solution, and the option to switch off the ‘last seen’ stamp magically appeared in the privacy settings. We just need to have faith in life.

For those in tearing hurry, there’s always the cheat-route of ­switching off your internet ­connectivity, reading the ­­message, and then switching it on without clicking on the ­specific Whatsapp message. For others, the net gurus and ­spiritual tech babas will soon start posting solutions on the forums. Vishwaas rakhein, kripa aayegi.

2. Ignore if you must

You know what, the biggest problem is that most of us ­mistake being ‘online’ as ‘being available to chat’. These are two different things. The invention of all these messenger services and free chat applications does not mean that a sword is now hung on your head that you have to respond to each and every message anyone decides to push your way. And NO, it’s not rude to not reply immediately even after you’ve evidently read a ­message, because the other ­person sent it out knowing their own convenience and situation, not yours. It’s the same mistake that people make ever since mobile phones came into our lives.

If the phone rings, most people immediately pause ­whatever they are doing — ­having a meal, listening to music, watching a film, talking face-to-face with someone – and receive the call. It’s like an ­obligation for us to give priority to a phone call, because someone invented an instrument that we carry everywhere in our hands. Well, that someone did it for good reasons, not to add to the stress in your life and make you a slave of perceptions about what the caller will think if you won’t respond to a call or message right away.

Unless it’s an ­emergency, you always have the right to decide when to respond to someone reaching out to you. Don’t turn every chat-ping into an emergency. You paid for your cellphone, remember? And don’t let your friends give you grief about not responding ­immediately to their every ­message even after reading it. If they are friends, they would respect your value for your time and know that your bond with them is beyond the two blue ticks.

3. For the sender

This one’s for those of you whose messages will be read but still the other person would not reply. You know what, it’s OKAY. Please don’t be a hyper-sensitive drama queen and rush into drawing meaning out of every ­unresponded chat message. The other person might just be ­genuinely caught up with ­something and might want to reply at peace and not for the heck of it, in a hurry.

Do ­remember that in life, if someone really wanted to ignore you, they would not wait for a chat feature to indicate it. Your gut would tell you. So, don’t let your sensitivity pressure your friends into ­finding out ways to evade your messages. It’s stressful for them, it’s stressful for you, too, to keep waiting. The moment it starts to bug you that your pings are not getting replied to, don’t drive  yourself crazy to check the phone. Just chuck the phone. Go for a nice walk. And yeah, take a deep breath. Inhale from one ­nostril and exhale from the other. Whatever.

Sonal Kalra can never aspire to become a brand ambassador for technology. Maybe cellphone companies would pay her someday to quit writing.

Why don’t you marry your phone?

Yesterday, my corporate honcho friend, Jayant, went from being super-happy to being super-depressed, in a matter of two hours. And when he came crying to me, I told him it’s his own doing. He’s calling me insensitive but I want you all to tell me if I was right or not.

 Why dont you marry your phone

Yesterday he was all excited about going for lunch with an old friend, a girl he used to have a crush on, in school. They had lost touch over the years and Facebook got them back in contact. Their date began on a great note but soon the girl told him he’s being rude and left the lunch in-between. You know why? Because Jayant-the-stupid was texting on his cellphone the entire time.

‘What’s rude in that? I wasn’t talking on the phone, just exchanging some important messages,’ he asked me. ‘It is definitely not done if a human being around you has to compete for attention with a gadget in your hand,’ I said, knowing well that I, too, suffered from always-checking-the-cellphone-syndrome. But one day of being on the receiving end of this treatment made me realise how it feels when the person you’re talking to, is constantly typing away on his or her mobile.

It could be anyone doing it… your friend, your spouse, your colleague or even your teenaged son/daughter, and they may think that they are attending to something earth-shatteringly important … but you know what, it’s wrong and you should not put up with it.

Things have become worse with Whatsapp or BBM or imsg or some such nonsense that doesn’t even cost anything… or so you think. What it could cost you is your friendship, your relationship… or simply your basic manners.

Here are three ways of dealing with people who have a cellphone surgically attached to their hands:

Set a rule that your meeting with them will be cellphone free. Unless your friend is the Prime Minister of the country or an emergency surgeon, there’s no reason why he/she can’t put the phone in the bag for a little while. Actually, even the Prime Minister can. Cellphones have made it possible for us to stay connected all the time, they haven’t made it necessary that we do.

Constantly exchanging messages with someone remote only shows that that person or email is more important than the real conversation happening in front of you. And if that was true, you would not have been sitting here in front of someone else. And two-timing’s never right, is it?

2 Don’t carry on talking to someone whose eyes (and thumbs) are constantly on the phone. It’s wrong to be wasting your words on a person who may be uploading his dog’s picture on Facebook as you speak. If you stop saying anything, the person is bound to look up and in all probability, will say, ‘Go on, I’m listening.’ Just reply, ‘No it’s okay.

First finish what you are doing as it may be important.’ That usually gets the point across and they put the phone away. You need not be rude to a rude person, and there shouldn’t be any guilt in saying something that’s only logical. Just remember to be clear, not sarcastic.

Pick up your own phone and text the person sitting in front of you, saying something like, ‘Hi, sitting here and waiting for your full attention’. It may seem like a joke but would make them realise that others feel it’s the only way to get their attention and how that’s just not right, or acceptable. A final word to those addicted to texting or checking their cellphones all the time. I know you are itching to say that it’s necessary and you do it only because there are important work-related mails or messages to answer, which can’t wait.

Remember that this is how all addictions begin. We start out by replying to crucial messages and soon it becomes a habit for us to attend to everything on our phone instantly… even if it means forwarding a joke while you’re having a meal or a conversation with a friend who may feel ignored. And remember, the phone companies have a vested interest in giving the facility of typing out multiple messages in one go, but that should not make you forget that the very definition of SMS is Short Message Service, while we end up typing essays on our phone.

This time when you go out with friend, try ditching the phone instead of ditching human beings around you. Believe me it feels good.

Sonal Kalra will no longer be called ‘Phonal Kalra’, after this piece. She will make sure she texts this link to all her friends throughout the day.

A Calmer You: Kisi ke paas charger hai?

I know what some Einsteins among you must be thinking right now. Cell phone toh likha nahi, charger likh diya. Hai nah? Bolo, bolo. Look at my photo above. Bewakoof lagti hoon? Some things in life are understood yaar. Phone toh hai hi by default, but tell me, hand on heart, how many of you get stressed about how much charge your cellphone battery has or doesn’t, several times during the day. So many nah? That’s why a charger has rightfully made it to the list of our basic needs. And when there is need, there is also stress if it doesn’t get met.

A Calmer You Kisi ke paas charger hai

 Aur charger na hone ka stress toh khatarnaak hai. The same desperation and frequency with which you hear shout-outs in the college or office saying, ‘So who’s coming to the loo?’ can be now sensed when you hear ‘kisi ke paas iPhone ka charger hai?’. Earlier the good’ol traffic signal vendors would sell the humble cotton candy, now they sell phone chargers of all sizes. Vaise this size bit reminds me, what an unfair thing by the telecom ­companies that they can spend ­millions on launching newer, sleeker phone models but can’t come up with the option of using the same charger on every make, every model of a cell phone.

This half-eaten Apple wala company is the worst tease. They changed the charger slot itself when they moved from iPhone4 to iPhone5. Such an ­encouragement for the ­show-offs… where you’d earlier say, ‘does anyone have an iPhone charger’, now you have to declare in a shamelessly capitalistic way that you need a ‘chhota pin wala iPhone 5 charger’. Imagine the extent to which universal ­brotherhood would have got a boost if, along with caste, creed and colour, we all could shed our Nokia, Samsung, Blackberry, iPhone, Micromax biases and use the same charger for phones whether they cost 2K or 50K.

I think I’m the only one who is thinking of patriotism at this high level on Republic Day, no? Aap log toh baithe hoge rajai mein, with five different phones in the family, plugged with five different kind of chargers on the switch board. Sigh. Anyway, this whole charger obsession also made me observe a few varied…and weird kinds of behaviour some people display when it comes to feeding their phone ­batteries. Let’s analyse these breeds…

The charge hunters: For these people, the biggest quest doesn’t relate to finding the true meaning of life, it begins and ends at finding a point to plug in their phone charger. They’ll check into a hotel for a vacation, and before keeping the luggage down, would hunt down the charging point and plug in their phone. All the souls ­wandering around an airport lounge, looking highly confused and lost, are also the ones not looking for their boarding gate, but for a phone charging point. Whether in the office of the ­college canteen, or in their fancy cars, their phone would be plugged to the wall, much like a leashed and tied dog, and I’m sure, cursing its owner in ­telecom language. These people are so obsessed that their phone battery should be fully charged all the time, that the besharam of the lot would not even think twice before removing someone else’s phone getting charged and plugging in their own. The ­identifying traits of this breed – 100% phone battery… and high blood pressure.

The charge-less: This is the other end of the rainbow. These people do not wake up to the hunger pangs and cries of their phone battery till the charge reaches 1%, or passes away. Their friends and family are by now are used to listening to the ‘The number you are ­trying to reach has been switched off’ message in the beautiful voice of Airtel or Vodafone ­aunties. Their wives and girlfriends and bosses shout at them everyday, but somehow they can’t remember to carry the phone charger. Identifying traits – 0% phone battery… and high blood pressure.

The charge savers: Yeh intelligent log hainPadhe likhe…with too much time at hand to read up on the various ways you can save your phone battery. They’ll be too happy to give you tips on how to increase ­battery life. If they are close to you, they might just snatch your phone and switch off some background applications so that your battery gets more life. They are the same people who are always ready with ­naturopathy cures for all your diseases and tell you to eat healthy and exercise everyday. They are also savvy enough to save their hard earned money in buying phone covers that come in-built with extra batteries, and portable battery backups. Identifying traits – two batteries for every phone… 0% blood ­pressure problems.

The charge ­borrowers: Shameless morons who are either too ­kanjoos to buy their own ­chargers or too forgetful to bring them from home. So they are always seen begging for a ­charger. Banks should come up for easy ­instalment schemes for this breed. I also proudly sit in this category and my work day begins with bowing my head down before a Ganpati idol in my office, followed by a ‘kisi ke paas charger hai?’ query. During appraisal times, my query is ­­­met with a prompt and willing response by my team, but in other months, I can hear them mutter ‘Apna kyun nahi laati?’ under their breath. Samarth, the music editor in my team curses the day he and I ended up buying the same phone models… now he hands over the charger as soon as I reach, without me even ­asking for it. AND cries helplessly when I sometimes even take it home with me. Identifying traits: Blood pressure problems – Borrower 0%, lender 100%!

So which breed are you? Dekho whatever it is, some stress about charger stays… right? Join me in this cause to promote national integration and harmony by demanding a universal phone charger. Modi or Rahul or Kejriwal or anyone else – whoever makes it their first manifesto promise is getting my vote. Yours?

Sonal Kalra just cleaned up her drawers and found 7 phone ­chargers. None of it works with her current cell phone. Is Red Cross interested in a donation?

All good things in life are for free?

Life- undoubtedly the most beautiful and the most precious gift one could ever get. The unfathomable bliss in listening to the chirping birds, in feeling the warmth of the balmy spring; to give and to get love, to smile and to laugh. Yes, this was only what life was supposed to be about. It was supposed to be about working hard, utilizing all the bountiful blessings of the Almighty and Nature, and rejoicing. However, since Adam and Eve did their sin and descended to the Earth as a penalty, we being their descendants have to bear the brunt. As such, life today is not only about smiles and laughter, but also about sobs and sniffles which we ourselves and allowed to dominate over us.

life-and-living

In the present scenario, life is not about ‘living’ happily, but about managing, anyhow, to earn a handsome ‘living’. We are at a phase where people have started treating this very ‘living’ as a permission to enjoy living their own lives. Consequently, we see people engrossed in a rat race, foregoing, or rather losing all that they have. No wonder we see estranged families, envious colleagues and selfishness all around. We see people drowning in the quagmire of melancholy because they couldn’t make it to the top and we see people flying in the airs of arrogance because they managed to make it to the top. These very causes are perhaps the major reasons as to why we started being pessimistic about life and its ways, as to why we started being cynical enough to compare life with an insurmountable problem. What we don’t realize is that life is not about getting but about giving. Nobody can in any way stop us from sustaining in the society but we ourselves.

All good things in life are for free

It doesn’t matter how much living we make, for as rightly said, “All good things in life are for free”. What would be the living of a person who is at a higher post than yours? Perhaps a few thousands more? Does this fact ever make his family love him more and your family love you less? Or does nature become more bountiful to him and less to you after getting to know your wages? No. The status of his rank only and only defines how much living he makes, not the way he lives his life.

The living you make never describes the character you have or the person you are. You might be a lower class fellow, or even a middle class one for that matter, and still earn loads of love, respect and plenty of compassionate helping hands if you are good to others. On the contrary, you might be the Boss of a big company, earning a very handsome salary. But will the salary ever earn true love, respect and compassion for you? People might even hate you if you aren’t’t good to them. This way, you will rather end up earning more hatred and curses, more plotters and haters. Consequently, you will have a very uneasy and treacherous life, full of loneliness, fear and insecurity. Better to say, you will have no life at all.

We have been blessed by God in order that we may bless the lives of others. The wealth accumulated over the years will have no meaning or use once you depart from this world. On the other hand, the love, support you gave to people will always be in their hearts. Beautiful acts of spontaneous generosity will give you that unfathomable and inexpressive inner happiness which is hard to find in the modern day.

As rightly said, what we give to others is what we get. If we do our bit to make other’s lives better, they will do their bit in making our lives better. If we give love and respect to others and help them in their need, we will get love and help from others in our need. Herein we see that by giving life to others, we give life to ourselves, the life as it was supposed to be-full of compassion and smiles. The living we get has nothing to do with the lives we make and this is aptly summed up when we say, “We make a living by what we get, we make life by what we give.”

A Calmer You: Hey Zuckerberg, get some sanskaar!!

The other day Mark Zuckerberg wrote to me. Arrey, had hai. Why are you rolling your eyes? Did I object when so many of you gloated about the call you got on your phone from Arvind Kejriwal? Did I? I toh don’t ­interact with anyone less than ­international celebrities. Anyway, bechara Zuckerberg pareshaan tha. Apparently for the first time since it started in 2004, Facebook’s popularity has reduced in the last few months. I wrote a long email to him, telling him that with a surname that resembles an iceberg, he should just chill about these ups and downs. Due to some technical fault, my response mail has bounced back saying ‘you can’t respond to an auto-generated message’ but what the heck. Apni garaj hai toh phone kar lega woh mujheMera toh, you see, daily contact hai aise logon se, just that I don’t have the habit of flaunting my contacts. Anyway, till I speak with him, I thought of writing some suggestions over here so that his CEO etc who are regular readers of this column can convey the tips to him.

A Calmer You - Hey Zuckerberg, get some sanskaar

Vaise, in my view, Facebook’s popularity has not come down one bit. Mujhe toh ab bhi agar mere office mein koi apni seat pe kaam karta hua nahi milta, toh Facebook pe mil jaata hai. But, yeah, it has become a tad boring, simply because it pushes a user to only be good. Ab for how long can you keep making friends and ‘liking’ peoples’ statuses? In the name of equally valid values like irritation and meanness, Facebook has few things – one of which, of course, is the ­obnoxious ability to be able to ‘poke’ people. It is my resolve that when Zuckerberg comes ­visiting me someday, I will take him to Shimla and ‘poke’ him when he’s standing at the edge of a cliff. Anyway, so all else is goody two shoes and I’m sure people are getting tired of being so sanskaari. So, here are a few new buttons, apart from ‘like’ and ‘comment’, that I propose Facebook introduces. Tell me if you think they make sense, then I will call Zuki and tell him…

1. One tight slap (OTS) BUTTON: Why should I only ‘like’ your status, or keep quiet if I think you are being the moron that you are, by posting ‘Ohh…it’s so cold’ 27th time in the month of ­December. I would like to tell you explicitly about the ­emotions your status is generating inside me, when you post a senti status, and order me to share it with minimum ten friends. Or when you insist on posting a photo of every activity your two-year-old does – sleeping, eating, dancing, doing potty…everything. I demand a OTS button, right next to the ‘like’ one. Maybe it could be avoided on exceptional pages, like Zuki’s own, Obama’s, Poonam Pandey’s or Fans of Sonal Kalra. Wahan toh koi sense nahi banegi, but in all other cases, it is a must. Enough of ­liking everything.

2. Lapeto BUTTON: How about having a ‘lapeto’ button for all the status updates that show-off more than Rakhi Sawant and Veena Malik ­collectively did, in their entire career. Kuchh log itni lambi chhodte hain … Sheikh Chilli would also get embarrassed. I bet, they wouldn’t even hesitate before calling Mark Zuckerberg their friend. Idiots. Pics of international vacations, pics of rocking parties, pics with ­filmstars, there’s no end to flaunting. By the way, if any of my FB friends is reading this, do know that my account has been hacked several times in the recent past. I’m ­getting the IT department to investigate. Otherwise, kahan mein, kahan show-off.

Anyway, if your friend can pray to God and look like Salman Khan in his DP, while looking like Paresh Rawal in real life, then you can pray for lapeto ­button to vent your feelings. No?

3. Stolen from where BUTTON?: Aam aadmi party should take this up, at Ramlila Maidan. Chori ke Facebook status pe ­minimum three years imprisonment, without access to Facebook, in jail. Sabse pehle mein hi andar jaaoongi but then I don’t fear ­sacrificing for a noble cause. No one has made better use of the copy-paste feature invented by my mamaji, Lawrence Gordon Tesler, than Facebook users. No wonder you find your friend Javed Chikna who can’t speak proper grammar to save his life, suddenly put up an insightful status of 250 words in such perfect English that even Prince Charles will have to use a dictionary. If only there was a ‘kahan se chepa?’ button under such status updates, at least you wouldn’t see seven friends on your timeline come up with the exact same joke. Am I right or right? Tell me.

4. Aashirwaad BUTTON: After ­suggesting such mean ­buttons above, the Alok Nath in me has suddenly woken up with a thunder. Getting back to ­sanskaars, I propose an ­‘aashirwaad’ button under a ­status. You see, of late, parents ki poori generation ne dhaava bol diya hai Facebook pe. Ideally, someone in the FB technical team should have had the sense to invent a feature where the ­computer would automatically detect a parent, grand parent, chachaji, buaji, mamaji etc and disable their option to send a friend request to the helpless youngsters in their family.

But woh toh kiya nahi, and now ­people are stuck. Because, being sanskaari, and also ­realising that pocket money gets into danger if dad’s friend request is not accepted, bechaare bachchey end up adding them. The elders are also overwhelmed at seeing that the same Pappu who gets 39 out of 100 in English, puts up William Shakespeare’s quotes on Facebook. So for such emotionally touched generation, there should be something better than the silly ‘like’. For them, we should have the ‘aashirwaad’ ­button. Technical glitches may just see a ‘sloshed after 3 tequila shots’ status from Priya Kumari get an aashirwaad from mummy ji, but then errorskahan nahi hote. Go for it!

5. Finally, I demand a button that, by some magic, removes the ‘likes’ on someone else’s ­status. Of course we’ll use it ­judiciously, we are sanskaari. Because you see, itne jhoothe likes hote hain kuchh log ke ­status pe. PS: If a thought about the likes on my FB statuses even remotely crossed your mind just now, remember that there is God up above and my friend Zuki down on this earth, and both will curse you. Haan, toh these jhoothelikes happen because some people have the disease of liking just about anything. Go on, test it. Post ‘dying of constipation for the past 3 days’. If you are not a serial killer with no friends, I guarantee you a ­minimum of five likes before you visit the loo for your next attempt. Oh Facebook, give us the power to take away at least such ­embarrassing ‘likes’ down. We’ll not misuse power. We have sanskaars. And now we have Kejriwal.

Sonal Kalra has suddenly realised that this column will be suicidal for her FB page’s ­popularity. Will Zuki get that it’s a joke? Implement toh nahi kar dega nah?

A Calmer You – here’s a resolution: let us gossip

The secret formula for a stress-free, long life is now revealed.

In January 2011, I had written a column about making a resolution that I shall not indulge in gossip. In January 2014, I want to slap myself for it. Nasht ho gayi zindagi in teen saal mein, saara mazaa hi chala gaya lifese. Of course, aspiring to have good values was the intent, but I never bargained for turning into Alok Nath! And on top of this self-invited boredom, I also compromised on my longevity, you see. Because as a recent study by the University of Michigan says in its report — which by the way I have framed and light agarbattis before, every morning — people, especially women, who gossip, live longer. Gossiping apparently elevates levels of progesterone; a hormone that reduces stress and makes you feels good.

Kya baat hai, University of Michigan, pehli baar koi interesting teer maara hai. Now, you see, whether I like it or not, I would have to gossip in the interest of science and research.  And humanity. And divinity.  And while on this trip, my mind has figured out some valid benefits of gossiping. But woh batane se pehle let me break my fast and tell you what I overheard coming from Chaddha ji’s house this morning. His daughter Bansuri was playing, I mean wailing. Not that it’s new, she’s been crying about pretty much everything ever since she turned a teenager. But she was crying out rather loud, so purely out of concern and sympathy (ha,ha), I went out to the balcony and heard this…

Bansuri: Daddy jiii, yeh dress poori nahi aa rahiA Calmer You - here’s a resolution let us gossip
Chadda ji: Dress toh wahi hai,  tum poori nahi aa rahi hogi
Bansuri: Mummy jiii, daddy ji mazaak udaa rahe hain
Mrs Chaddha: Inse kaho pehle apne shaadi waale suit mein poore aa ke dikhaayein
Chaddha ji: Us manhoos suit ko toh meine 10saal pehle lohri mein jalaa diya thaa
Mrs Chaddha: #$%^&**Y%#@

Phew! Thank God I could tell someone all this. If you have neighbours like the Chaddhas, AND you have the permission from University of Michigan to gossip, why would stress anyway come near you. Haan? So here’s why I think that research would have allowed us this oldest pleasure known to mankind…

1 Law of diminishing hatred:  You see, the moment you gossip about someone, pangs of guilt overtake your mind. I’m not referring to the typical readers of this column, but this happens at least with most normal, good people.

That guilt suddenly makes you want to be all nice to the victim of your gossip. So without that person even knowing the reason for it, you go out of your way to be good to him/her. Dekha? The devi of gossip actually enhances goodness and bonding between people. Jai ho.

2 It is social work, in disguise: Gossiping about someone else’s bad behaviour is simply your way of warning everyone else about it. Toh aap toh charity kar rahe ho. Isn’t that supposed to be a noble thing? The other day two girls at work were gossiping about the behaviour of the office  Casanova. Since I was Alok Nath at that time, I immediately went up to lecture them about the sanskaar of not gossiping, but before I could say something, a third girl who was overhearing them, also joined in and they realised that Mr Casanova had used the same pick up line on all three, pretending to be only interested in them. Bas! Girls safe and happy, Alok Nath ji chup.

3 Six degrees of separation: Whether you like it or not, gossiping is perhaps the best way to discover people who are exactly like you. Lifelong rishtey ban jaate hain ji, over gossip sessions. We all outwardly take a stand that we hate gossip mongers, but deep inside we know the thrill of being able to high-five a person whose mean-ness levels are exactly the same as ours. A person at work who is my gossip partner would know exactly what I mean. And you know what, people who gossip also have to be creative. Because you can’t excel at gossiping unless it’s told in an entertaining way. Mehnat lagti hai, talent bhi lagta hai, koi mazaak hai? Denouncing an activity that stimulates the mind at so many different levels is sacrilege.

Ab thoda serious ho jayein, just for a minute? See, I wrote all of this in good faith towards your sensibilities and intelligence. I hope you know the difference between malicious backbiting and relatively harmless, idle chatter. It’s easy to act Puritans and deny it, but I can bet my AAP jhaadu that there’s not even a single person who hasn’t done the latter, at some or the other time. I’m only asking for an admission of the truth here, as long as we are aware of our boundaries.

Spreading false rumours about someone with an intent to harm his or her reputation is not gossip, it is sin. The thumb rule that I apply to myself is simple.

I imagine a situation where the person I’m gossiping about, turns out to be standing behind me when I’m speaking. If I can still say the same thing about them playfully to their face, I’m doing okay. Don’t ever say anything behind a person’s back, that, if the need or situation be, you can’t repeat in front of them. And, finally, to the victims of harmful gossip. Dekho yaar, there’ll always be people in life who would love to see you fail, simply because they didn’t succeed. They’ll keep talking behind your back, but you’ve got to realise that they are ‘behind’ you for a reason.

Here’s a random, confusing, but golden advice, a la Chaddha ji — ‘Agar aap hi har waqt yeh sochenge ki log kya sochenge, toh phir log kya sochenge?’

Sonal Kalra is wondering if all the sweetness and goodness in trying to be Alok Nath, gave her diabetes. How will she handle a very long life now?

The Big Obese Indian Wedding

Marriage is one of the biggest and happiest occasion for people in this world but in country like ours…i feel people live for this day.Not only the bride and the groom but the whole family and relatives go to the extent of hysterics even at the thought of the word “marriage”. Everyone’s happy for something or the other unknown reasons.There are so many small small functions in which the whole family participates with full enthusiasm.Even relatives who are not in talking terms with you suddenly become friendly….so in short everything looks good and feels great to be part of the big Indian wedding.BUT what irks me about this big fat Indian wedding is the term itself “BIG FAT”….i feel the term used should be OBESE!!!

indian-wedding

Marriages in India are treated as a form of business nowadays. Even in well reputed families….before starting talks about a suitable match, people generally ask that how much money are they going to spend on wedding….rubbish!!!!.And if you think that there are people who are against dowry or do not demand anything from the bride’s side….then you are highly mistaken.Even those people would generally say that the bride side may do whatever is their capability or in better words…”we don’t want anything….we just want your daughter:):)….if you really want to give anything…give it to your daughter:):)”…wow!!…that’s such a brilliant thinking.Now what such dialogues do is…they put bride’s side in a fix!!!.They really try out of their comfort zone….to give their daughter all the comforts they can.

May be for giving the so called comforts they may have to sell a piece of land or old jewelry or may be spend out of their own capabilities by taking loans!!.They give her all materialistic things like TV,AC,Car and other innumerable stuff. I just don’t understand one thing….were the groom’s side living in a jungle or a lagoon that they don’t even have such basic amenities or are they habitual of taking such expensive items as a form of gift.The society should understand that the girl can and should live in the same place with exactly same conditions as her future husband and his family lives.

Now the most important part comes is the plight of a girl…apart from the fact that she has to leave her home,her family and friends to a new place where she has to adjust with new surroundings,environment and people who are more interested in the stuff she has brought…….she is expected to be beautiful,fair,tall,well educated and well mannered.And if she has a well paying job thats the best thing that can happen..but she should also be able to churn up tasty meals every time she cooks….ummm….she has to be a superwoman.But what people should really know is that in today”s world parents take equal pains and labour to make their kids successful in professional front…be it a girl or a boy…few can be doctors..engineers or scientists…may be managerial jobs.These young professionals are capable enough to make it big in future to earn sufficiently for themselves and their families.They have promising careers but by giving dowry in the name of gifts and tokens they make the girl feel low and incapable.She feels that all these things are necessary to be given because may be she herself is not capable to be represented alone in other’s house.She needs to accessories herself with all these things and gifts so that she is accepted in the other family with all respect.I mean just look at the confusion in the girl’s mind….at professional front she heads for a successful and bright future with lots of confidence in her and on the other hand when she is married and goes to a household which she has to consider as her own ….such malpractices really downs her morale a lot!!!

Had the groom and his family accepted her the way she is without any tantrums…she might have considered herself the luckiest girl in the universe.No matter how happy or tough the future life would have been…she would have given thousand times more respect to the groom and his family…

Well i don’t know if there is any solution for this problem in society as ours….whereby we have entered the year 2013…but behave as if we are still living in the indus valley civilization where the dead was buried with all the things to be used in later life.What i feel is that this practice of exchanging gifts should be stopped immediately…there should be a limit to the splurging in organizing parties or better still…the bride and groom should organize the party with whatever savings they have.

Also read – Oh, God yeh shaadi ka chakkar.

But one thing is for sure that to stop these unnecessary evils….the society should change…and as we form the society so we should take the initiative to bring about the change.One small step from our side in a positive direction will bring about a big change in the way our so called society.And please who so ever is reading this may suggest some points to ward this evil so common in all strata of our society:)

The Friday Funda: The ‘Confession Page’ Rage

I went to Baba Google recently and said, “Baba! These days’ people are crazy about confession pages. They post whatever comes to their mind on a confession page. I am not on any of the confession pages so far but, wish to join one. Before that, I want to know the exact meaning of the word “CONFESSION”. Is shabd par prakash daalo baba.” Google Baba was ready with 1 crore 47 lakh results in 0.27 seconds after hearing my prashna.

Baba said, “Son! Confession means ‘An admission or acknowledgment that one has done something that one is ashamed or embarrassed about.'”
I replied, “But Baba, people are not using confession pages as per this definition. Instead of admitting something they are embarrassed about, they write something that embarrasses others. I am not delighted to see the direction these confession pages are moving towards.”
At last Baba said, “Dear! You can do one thing in that case, and that is, making “CONFESSION PAGES” a target in this week’s ‘The Friday Funda’. Tathaastu!


Here I am, with this week’s write-up which will talk about confession pages going viral around the web these days. Confession pages have been created for everything, from an educational institution to your local vegetable market, where the vegetable vendor confesses that, he charged Rs.10 extra from a regular customer, and still didn’t give her coriander for free.
Youngsters are found hitting “Likes” and posting comments on confession pages at the speed of a supercomputer. Students are finding it difficult to concentrate on their studies, and login to their social accounts after every half an hour. Hahaha! Ye toh main kam bol raha hoon. Actually, they log in after every five minutes. No?  Chalo yaar sach toh ye hai kay they don’t log-out from their social accounts.

[stextbox id=”info”]When you get the privilege to share your confessions without revealing your identity (anonymously), then you are expected to be responsible enough not to name anyone else as well in your confessions. Otherwise, the whole purpose gets defeated. This is what is being observed on almost all of the confession pages on Facebook. This is what prompted us to launch a separate website – DuConfessions.in where one can share only clean remarks as a part of your confessions and all the comments get duly moderated.[/stextbox]

Initially started as a medium to confess anything anonymously, these so-called confession pages have become a place to post offensive remarks about colleagues, educators and organizations. These confessions include students poking fun at the body language and style of their tutors, ‘dilphenk aashiqs’ confessing their attraction for a crush, whom they name openly on the confession page. Confession pages are turning into dating sites.

The purpose of starting confession pages is not clear even to the admins of these pages. Bas, sab ek hi raag aalaaptey hain “guys and gals! This page is for fun purposes.” Does that mean you can poke fun at others by naming them openly on a page? Many people, including me, do not support the very concept of confession pages because though these pages might have been launched for recharging your batteries by reading humorous but acceptable confessions, these pages have now become a source of foul comments and humiliating confessions. I don’t say that this freedom to express oneself should be withdrawn by blocking these pages, but some rules should be adhered to while posting on these confession leaves. These pages are being used to spit out hatred for a person, an institution, a law or a system and that my dear readers, is very upsetting. It seems as if some people are using confession pages as a weapon to start a cold war with someone.

On March 29, 2013 the Dean of Mumbai’s Government Dental College, lodged an official complaint against a Facebook page titled ‘GDC Mumbai Confessions’ with the city police’s Cyber Crime Cell. The ‘confessions’ GDC students posted on this page contained derogatory remarks about female classmates and criticism of the teachers.

Confessions posted on these pages are fun for those who post them but, a source of stress for the targets. It would be better if the administrators filter the content they receive before finally publishing it but, the administrators do not take this step because the inappropriate confessions are tagged as ‘sensational’. Facebook confession pages started spreading like an epidemic a few months ago and now these are eating up everyone’s valuable time like a disease. A regular Facebook user is observed to be active on at least three confession pages each day. All confession pages are not being exploited but you never know, an anonymous comment might come and spoil the page.

This new trend hypnotizes people in the age group of 16-25 and frights the coaches and the management of various institutions. Some people who have been targets on confession pages have posted requests to admins for removing derogatory posts but their requests are straightway rejected in the name of “take it as a joke” phrase.

[stextbox id=”alert”]BTW, we have created a separate confession page for Fans of Sonal Kalra as well.[/stextbox]

Safeguards:

  • Administrators of various confession pages and sites claim that they review content before making it public.
  • Facebook reviews pages on its site on a daily basis and takes immediate action on any content marked objectionable by the users.

Let me shed light on the fact that confessions posted on these confession pages are stored permanently in the web space. Misuse of these confession pages can land the person found guilty in trouble, as confessions can be traced. These confessions are anonymous on the face, but the person behind can be found out by tracking the Internet Protocol (IP address) of the user.
Facebook users have delivered mixed reactions to these confession pages. I am a regular Facebook user too and fall in the category of those who neither target nor are targets on a confession page. I am not on any of the Facebook confession pages. It might be possible that a silly confessor targets my write-up on a confession page. The best thing I can do about this is not joining a confession page and just IGNORE, IGNORE & IGNORE!

So, what’s your opinion regarding these confession pages? Confess it at techsoftwarez@gmail.com. See you next Friday  🙂

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