A Calmer You: Valentine’s Day ke side effects!

Love it or hate it…celebrate it or sulk in a corner, this luv-shuv and V-Day tamasha can have only one outcome. Ask me! It’s that time of the year again. You are either gloating with mush about celebrating love or shaking your head @10 times an hour about what a tamasha western concepts like Valentine’s Day have made our lives to be.

A Calmer You Valentine’s Day ke side effects

You are either checking out gifting ideas which are, le de kar, limited to chocolates or teddy bears or getting blue in the face telling the world that all 365 days, and not just one, are meant for love.

Whatever it is, my funda is simple- it’s gonna bring stress in the end. Don’t believe me? Take the test and see for yourself.

Sonal Kalra is too mature and evolved to buy herself a teddy bear on 14th February. So only heart-shaped balloons would do. 

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A Calmer You: Kisi ke paas charger hai?

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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?

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.

Shun that competition with your own buddies, you TOXIC FRIENDS!!

THE ONLY COMPETITION WORTHY OF A WISE MAN IS WITH HIMSELF – WASHINGTON ALLSTON QUOTES.
How does it feel when one of your best friends cries when the exam results of both of you are out? It hurts if he ( instead of writing he/she again again, I am using only the pronoun ‘he’ for convenience ) has scored low. The meaning of this word ‘low’ is subject to variation in context to different people and situations as well as depend on the kind of scale-mark used for measuring the achievements one has so laboriously made. But , it literally ‘SUCKS’ when your dear pal has scored fairly good marks , as measured from a general scale-mark of scores and…. is still sulking like hell just because damn you, his own sukh-dukh ka saathi has scored two or five marks more than him.

competition-with-friendsCompeting with your own Buddies

Now, this piece of writing doesn’t refer to you , poor soul!! It contains nothing to console you guys. I promise I shall do that in my successive article. This is my big helping hand that I lend out today to restore peace in the lives of all those TOXIC FRIENDS on earth (Baat ko samjho na yaar!! I am starting with solving the root cause of your problem).
So, this write-up calls out to all those who often commit the ethical offence of creating stress in others lives (Ha! Don’t you know competition is one of the top ten stress- causing things. Moreover, you drag your friend into the race without asking his willingness and he suffers involuntarily ). The ultimate jealous friends of some genuine people! Read on what follows, it’s specially written for you who fit more as a rival than a friend in your buddy’s life.

Give yourself some time to grasp the wisdom words written below and do apply the ‘gyaaan’ drawn out from it in ‘unmiserablising ‘(so what?? who said you cannot invent a term of your own??) lives- both of your own as well as of your friends)-

1. Behave like a mature adult– Stop sulking, you idiot. Behave sensibly next time such an occasion greets you. You are friends and not rival runner-ups of a million-dollar reality show. If your buddy gets good scores, its good na! Remember he is your friend. How you react really matters to him- your smile and even your tears. Don’t spoil his happiness , your own and the moment in comparisons.
2.Value the bond of friendship– Understand what value friends hold in life. Place yourself in their shoes and think for once, how it feels. It may sound rude but such an insensitive behavior may cost you your friendship. Of course, you are being insensitive to his hard-work and success if you are sulking due to his achievements. Make sure you don’t lose a loved friend in your race to win. Else, be ready to be the biggest loser.
3.Promote Healthy Competition in every aspect of your life– Healthy competition not only means that you analyse your weaknesses and try to improve them, but also that you respect and appreciate other party’s efforts irrespective of who comes out more successful.
4. Its just marks- Stop re-reading the title again again. Yes, you read it right. Yes, it does contain the word ‘just’ just before ‘marks’. As every other thing on this diverse planet, marks are just a part, not the whole, not everything. Trust me, you will despise your own such actions, ten or twenty years henceforth. And, more so if such habits would have affected your million-dollar friendship.
5. Avoid Die-hard competition– Puhleeeez, DO NOT spoil your calmness in comparing exam scores, number of girlfriends/dresses/shoes owned, job salary, etc with your friend’s. It provides amusement to none. There is much more to life and if you indeed need to compare , go ahead compare with yourself only. Compete with yourself and you will definitely be amused.
6. Convince your family-If your parents or family be the reason behind your such competitive attitude and jealousy, and you actually do not want to repeat those offenses , make them understand that you are happy with your position in life and convince them that you do not want to compete with anyone but yourself. Else, the next time they vex you by starting a comparison between you and your friend, hand them the paper and make them read this write-up.
Believe me, earth would be a calmer place to live in if you go by above five rules to let go your impulsive competitive attitude. For all those who are still not ready to believe that competition is NOT ‘an inevitable human nature’, let’s hold a ‘SLAP-YOURSELF COMPETITION’ for all of you.

A Calmer You: can I have a tissue, please?

A Calmer You disclaimer: Before I begin, let me inform you that I’m a clean person, lest this write-up gives you a wrong impression. I brush my teeth daily and try to take a bath on most days. However, I continue to suffer from a phobia of those who have a phobia of germs

I know a woman who says, ‘can I have a tissue, please?’ every 30 seconds. No seriously, I do. Fine, the 30 sec bit is an exaggeration but she does it every thirty minutes and THAT is not a lie. Sometimes I think of telling her that by using, and discarding, so many tissues around her, she may be facilitating the formation of a germ country in her surroundings but I fear she’ll give me a dirty look. I’ve nothing against the poor tissues — they are a good invention, though I continue to lament the death of good ol’ cloth ‘hankies’. They were pretty and had so many emotions attached. Somehow, it doesn’t have quite the same ring to say, ‘he handed a tissue paper to his crying girlfriend’. Khair jaane do. I feel that as we have got more progressive with the changing times, we’ve also got more paranoid and fussy about our surroundings.

A Calmer You can I have a tissue, please

And let’s be clear, I’m not referring to those who unfortunately suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which is a recognised medical condition and must be treated by qualified medical professionals. I’m talking about the rest of us who’ve formed certain rules and restrictions — with or without any basis — in our minds. And they keep up from enjoying life to the fullest, because we’re stressed about complying with these self-created rules.

Let’s take a look at what these myths make us:

1  The neat freaks: You would surely find one such person in your close surroundings — it could be your mom who begins her day by telling you how your room resembles a war-torn city and that your cupboard is fit for newly wed rats to start a family. Maybe it is. But the frequency with which you are reminded about it could drive you to the wall. And it’s dreadful if she decides to clean it herself, even though your porn collection is safely locked away.

It could be your hostel roommate who scoffs every time you leave your towel on the bed. It could be a nagging spouse who wants his/her things stacked at 36 degree angle, spick and span. It could even be a friend, a visit to whose house could give you a heart attack inducing complex, because clothes are arranged as per colours and books on the rack are in an alphabetical order. These people have a method to their life and I truly admire them for it. As long as they accept that there’s a also method in the chaos of other peoples’ life, who are not as organised as them.

My desk may still have unanswered official letters dated 2008 but I manage to find whatever I’m looking for, amidst that madness. And I certainly won’t take too kindly to anyone who will try to forcibly try and remove the much-loved dust on my table. I may have an important phone number written on the dust with my finger and you can’t just cruelly wipe it away. My point is simple. We all have our own definitions and degrees of cleanliness. Don’t impose yours on mine, and there’ll be lesser scope of stress for both of us.

2. The fussy eaters: These people will not enjoy the good things in life, and they will not let you do it either. The thought of street food gives them a stroke and you may find them ‘trying’ to enjoy gol gappas in a fancy restaurant where the waiter wears white gloves and calls them ‘puchkis’, with an accent.

Well, I’m sorry for you, really. It’s not that I want to die of cholera after drinking unfiltered water from a drain, but then I don’t think the excellent tea that the roadside chaiwalla serves in a small glass has the potential to kill me. The germs may just think of me as a friendlier person and refrain from attacking me.

The tip is simple, again. Set your own standards in terms of what you want to eat, and where from. But don’t deny anyone else the pleasure and right of exercising their choice. Also don’t put needless fear in their minds by narrating stories of how you suffered from loose motions the last time you ate at a dhaba. It may well have been because of the meal you ate at a five star hotel the previous night, when the waiter spat into your food because you were making his life hell over how the daal was at 1.37 degrees colder.

3. I-will-burst-but-I-won’t-pee gang: When God made an organ in our bodies called the urinary bladder, He didn’t know some people will make it a mission of their life to torture it endlessly.

These are people who have problem attending to the nature’s call unless they happen to be near their own toilets that are washed with dettol every hour and have hand sanitisers. These people will go to extra length to stick ‘leave the seat dry and up’ kinda notes in office/college loos, but they’ll avoid using the same rest rooms. They flush with their elbows and touch the door knob only with 20 meters of toilet paper or tissues in hand. Actually, to be honest, I don’t blame them. Because it is a fact that public toilets in our country are usually in a sad state and are the biggest source of infection, because of those who don’t follow the most basic hygiene practices. But if you will squirm uncomfortably in your seat the entire length of a movie but won’t visit the cinema hall’s rest room, you need to re-think about your paranoia levels.

The final word: Live and let live. Cleanliness is a way of life and that’s undisputable. Just don’t turn it into a stress monster. Go out and have gol gappas. I promise you won’t die. Just a little food poisoning, that’s it.

Sonal Kalra has taken a pledge to clean her office desk, definitely before the next New Year.

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.”

An Unusual Love Affair

I pucker my lips, ready to take in, and open my mouth, only to listen to my inner self screaming at its highest pitch!
“No! Don’t do it. I am not satisfied. If at all you care for me, get me what i want”.

But then i try to calm it saying, ‘this is not as bad as you think and good for you too unlike your love to that insanely harmful & vicious …..’

“Stop it! Not one more word! I hate you.”

And in that moment,all of a sudden, my hand twitched and the hot Tea spill all over my lap.

Yes. I tried to force myself into drinking Tea instead of Coffee. And my inner passionate self whose love for coffee is climbing Mt.Everest day-by-day has defeated me in trying to avoid coffee.

unusual-love-with-coffee

I am a person with simple beliefs that ‘nothing should be excessive, lest it turns poisonous’. Now its not that difficult to understand, is it? Yet, the other me doesn’t get it quite right. I ( both me and the other me) have loved coffee ever since i took the first sip of that instant-mix you get in the market.

But as time went by, there came the side-effects of having too much of it. Its more like, i can’t get my head straight without having a sip of it everyday and when i drink it, there’s acidity in the alimentary canal. Its like something is lacking in your daily routine if you don’t have it. I had this insane desire of wanting to smell it, feel it and drink it everyday and once i have the first sip, i feel that all my grey cells start working faster than usual, my body feels strangely warm and relaxed.

Now my logical self, which is the actual ME, has realized that this is going to be a problem someday in the long run. So i tried to chide the other me. It feigned fear, and then got back its usual self and continued the love affair with coffee. I felt dejected. I need to control it. Yes, i am a control freak and i wanted myself to control my love for coffee. Yet, it didn’t happen.

So one day i give an ultimatum to it and stopped having coffee. Thought to myself that if i substitute it by another supplement before completely stopping, i can overcome the desire. TEA was my first and only option. So i resorted to it.

Day after day i’ve been giving myself tea instead of coffee so that the other me doesn’t recognize the sudden change. But it did! It tried to reason with me and i neglected it.

“Tea is fine…but doesn’t have the ambience of coffee. Coffee is much better y’know”

‘Yeah.Fine.Just drink it up.Does no harm’

“Alright, just this time. Next time its gonna be coffee,okay?”

‘You bet! Definitely’

The other time, it was bit more serious.

“How can you drink something like this?! I mean, seriously?!! This is not cool. I need you to understand that i can no more tolerate this.”

I didn’t give my two pence for its so-called threats.

And day by day i started conquering it. But something changed. I was no more happy. The inner bliss is lost. But i was adamant to control myself. And simultaneously unhappy.

Finally it rebuked that i spilled it all over! And only then did i realize what’s going on.

Sometimes, somethings are not good for us if overdone. But we can’t abandon them completely; they gotta exist in our lives. Just like people. Though they are not-so-good influence, without them, life is not so enjoyable. It creates a void. Which can’t be filled by Tea or anything better. You just gotta cut yourself some slack and try to be easy on yourself for the sake of happiness.

Tears started rolling by after that incident(Tea was way too hot and burned me like hell, you see!).And i cleaned up, strode towards kitchen, to make myself coffee and promised to never ‘over-do’ it so that i can satisfy both the persons inside me.

END OF THE STORY! People who got bored after reading this post can go have coffee. And people who found this article worthwhile, never lose the coffee of your lives. And don’t over-do it either.ADIOS.

Waiting to Fall In love with the new urban city – Gurgaon

One Sunday, I decided to write about something that has been in my mind since I have settled in the new city. Here my life has been like a honey bee and yes I want life the other way too.
In the past seven years, the Gurgaon city has turned into a totally different habitat. A decade has passed when I accompanied my folks and family friends to this city and saw the widespread farmlands and a countable number of huge corporate buildings. As far as I remember, at that time none could depended on public means of transportation and they were out of sight all along the journey within the area, now so-called ‘the millennium city’.

Gurgaon-metro

The roads were as broad as highways without dividers. On either side of the road, there were countable trees; barren lands; cattle and their owners walking in the sun. In the present changed scenario, commutation facilities have quadrupled along with exponentially increasing population. Introduction of metro train, cabs, auto rickshaws, and cycle rickshaws have shown easy access to difficult places in the city.

Apartments/societies, business hubs, manufacturing units, corporate sectors, innumerable malls, shops, etc. act like magnets for those who want to dwell in the urban place with comforts, lots of choices and luxury. The newspapers, political bodies, media do often come up with a debate on ‘whether SEZ areas been exploited rightfully’. This discussion cum debate is unending. Well, to my eyes, the city appears as a jungle of concrete buildings. No doubts that I am social, love being entertained, ready for adventures, get-together with friends and family friends.  Also, there comes a time when I start missing  the beauty of  nature and the raw.

gurgaon-city-at-night

How come is it possible to paint my place with the shades I like? I love gardening, greens, animals and birds, but the society does not let owners have pets, and gardening gets limited to small pots. I thought, ‘now the terrace can only be used for feeding the birds with water and grains’. But when the terrace floor became hard to clean, then in a monthly meeting of the society, the maintenance team came up with an unwelcoming rule of not feeding birds in the terrace or society park and for avoiding future trouble they added a rule ‘no pets by the owners in our society‘.

The parks are miles away from my residence. So for the sake of health I got myself a gym-cycle and go out for jogs early morning. Faces of the strangers I regularly see in the morning walks are now familiar to me and they are either behind or ahead of me, all walking or jogging. Sometimes it seems we all are in queue on the narrow roads in fact lanes and doing a group walk. It becomes quite irritating when I want people to stay away from me. The world seems to be squeezed and all diametrically around the center ‘me’, be it anywhere, except inside my house. During night if I want to go out for walk under the open sky, it is again restricted within the boundaries of the cemented area and the small green patch. The place is actually damn unsafe in the dark. Till my teens and early twenties I lived in different cities and experiences say that the night life outside home was about open skies, clouds, stars and moon, sounds of nocturnal animals and insects. Here in Gurgaon, night life is safer in the area surrounded by walls  be it inside any building, house, bar, pub, car. Outside you can  easily spot rash driving vehicles, drunkards, damaged roads, water-logged lanes during rainy season, mob attacks , robbery, etc. Hey common attackers, give us little leniency, some liberty and let people breathe a little. Why the police to public ratio are so low?  Aaarrrh…. now I am looking to the bright sides!

When not at work, during weekends I engage myself in lot of activities and extract the best.  I starve for that open sky and fresh air.  Is it because of a busy work schedule or because I have not seen beauty of nature since a long time or I want early retirement from work? I talked to every one about this itch in my mind, and they all said it happens. May be a ‘vacation’ was a common answer, but there are many who don’t at all like to travel, exhausting for them.

If you are in Gurgaon and searching for some not so well-known place/ building, the Google maps, the common people, the public transports are all useless. There are no display boards to guide the sectors, blocks and roads. You keep on playing merry-go-round,  land up into a new unknown area and finally ‘eureka’. That point of time is when you want to applaud for yourself and repent for the fuel expenditure. I am trying to describe Gurgaon and all I am doing is highlighting its prominent features.  It needs ample of time to understand and get along comfortably with anything new. It is applicable to me and some of you. So I decided to  go for a date – date my city. Do not know whether it will work and have no idea how long I will take to fall in love with Gurgaon.

I decided to take a leave. I needed a break from my work that had bogged me into it since months. In office after finishing my report, I looked at the calendar.Friday was  a public holiday and  Saturday and Sunday – the weekends. Till evening tea, I planned my short vacation. So on Friday, my friend and I had a brunch and went out to explore Gurgaon. Actually there is a lot to explore… Here after every 10 minutes on the way, one may find wine shops and beer bars. At least 5 discotheques are available in each mall. Men and women like to hang out there and I too often land on those floors. We headed for a lake – ‘Dumduma lake in Gurgaon’. The long drive on the roads was relaxing and fun unless after 1 hour drive, we both found that we had lost our ways. Finally we reached the spot, after mapping the routes.  After strolling and sitting in the green for 1 hour in the winter morning, we steered our way towards the capital  and that is again another big story about what we did and experienced there.

Coming back to the point, I was conveying my emotions. To be honest, I am waiting for the time when I admit ‘I have fallen in love with my city’. It has been five long years and I should become acquainted to everyone and everything here around. I have been to many places that have remembered me and I too love them back  (including Delhi too). Then why it has been so that Gurgaon has not made a place in my heart? May be I have to make a place in Gurgaon’s heart. May be I spent a lot of time travelling different places and now I settled in a place where the crowd around me is still like a stranger for me. May be it will it take time for the love to blossom and maybe we need some more time and understanding.

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?

A Calmer You Column. Witty calmness tips by Sonal Kalra to deal with daily stress.