Tag Archives: Calmness Tips

A calmer you: an open letter to the cut-off list

My dear list, am not sure if I need to ask if you are doing well because we all know how high you stay most of the time. I’ve always wanted to ask you how it feels to have a name like ‘cut-off.’ Because, you know, in us humans, we have names that tend to have positive meanings, not ones that bring-in violent imagery in the head. Though it may just be interesting for some to be named such, like Terminator Chaddha, but let’s not take away your uniqueness.  Am sure you are aware of, and enjoying being in the news headlines these days. Who doesn’t want their very mention to create ripples? But do you know that most of us deeply dislike you for the immense stress you have been giving us over the years? You are the number one stress point right now for lakhs of students who are spending sleepless nights fearing you would come in the way of them getting admission into a college. You are not going to like it, but today I’m going to tell those students, and their equally anxious parents, to not give too much importance to you. Sorry, I know your ego will be hurt but then you stay so high, you can manage it! So here’s the deal..

A calmer you an open letter to the cut-off list

“Not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck”: Dalai Lama

1. There was life before you, and there is life beyond you: The parents who are today on the edge of their seats while their children ride the rollercoaster of college admission process would remember that there used to be no dreaded cut-off lists during their time. But there was still fierce competition… the world was still called cut-throat… and that all of them still managed to do something fairly good with their lives. Those parents today have the opportunity to give the best gift ever to their children — the faith that no matter how many admission lists don’t carry their name, something good is ultimately written in their destiny. It’s just a little far for them to see it right now and feel reassured. As I keep reminding, God has a plan for each and every one of us, and sometimes that’s all we need to know.

2. Disappointments are temporary: All of them. I know of a couple who was apparently severely disappointed when their son didn’t get admission in class nursery in the school they thought was the best. ‘Ek baar yeh ho jaata toh life set thi,’ is what his dad told my father at that time. Anyhow, the child got through in another school where he excelled in studies all through and got 91% in class XII board exams, 14 years later. ‘Bure nahi hain, but these days students are getting 95-96%’ is what his evidently disappointed mom said, when the result was announced. The boy studied like a maniac for engineering entrance but couldn’t clear the IIT exam. ‘Ek baar yeh ho jaata toh life set thi’, repeated the dad, after 15 years of uttering the same sentence. Anyhow, after doing engineering in a regional college and a couple of years of job hopping, the boy was recently hired by an IT giant that offered him a record-high salary package. ‘So, how is it going?’ I asked his beaming dad the other day. ‘Ekdum badiya. Life set hai,’ he replied. I wish he knew that life was set the day his son was born. Disappointments don’t stay for long. The way we feel about them today is not how we will feel about them a few years later. So, why let them bog us down?


3. Success is never about the college… it’s about the person: It’s not really needed for research to say this but since some people believe a statement only when ‘scientific studies show’ precedes it, let me inform you that scientific studies the world over have shown that there is absolutely no correlation between which college a person studied in and his/her ultimate success in the career. And right now, I’m sticking to success, not even saying happiness, because there’s no correlation between these two either. When one reads about a student of IIT or AIIMS committing suicide because of depression, or highly ‘successful’ CEOs dying of stress induced cardiac arrests at the age of 40, you begin to wonder if we even know what we are aiming to achieve by being in this mad race of competition. Success doesn’t come from the name of the college written on your degree. Heck, if I’m not wrong, the college’s name is not even mentioned on the degree issued by a university. Success comes from how meaningfully you are utilising the knowledge gained from the classes you attended, no matter in whichever college building. At the end of the day, buildings are all that colleges are. Your success, and ultimately happiness, can only come from within you. Coming back to you my dear dreaded list, the walls on which you are so vainly stuck may differ from one college building to another, but the temporariness of your relevance remains unchanged. No matter how many colleges reject admission to a student because of you, he would remain the person that he was. You can make him anxious and take away his sleep for a night or two, but you can’t take away his destiny if he chooses to be successful and happy. That’s the permanence of our victory over you. Now get off our backs, please

Sonal Kalra changed three colleges in the first three months of taking admission. Because somehow she didn’t like their buildings enough.

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A calmer you: say this to a guy at your own risk

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It’s time to look at what can get a guy all flared up in no time. Alright boys of the world, I’m on your side this week. After you graciously accepted what I wrote last week about things you should never, ever, say to a woman, I’ve got to talk about what women say that makes you feel like banging your head on the wall. A lot of you have mailed me suggestions out of your own experience and it’s interesting to see that men from Bahrain to Bhatinda can’t stand to hear the same things, but their girlfriends or wives refuse to oblige. Let’s look at what tops the no-go territory when it comes to your guy.

A calmer you say this to a guy at your own risk
1. We need to talk: You want to see your man run away faster than Usain Bolt? Utter these four words and see him magically disappear. Men claim any such ‘talk’ about the relationship always ends in emotional outbursts, tears and no solution. They are right. You see, men are genetically incapable of handling a woman’s tears and they behave in weird ways when confronted by them. Just because you’ve read relationship articles by fancy shrinks that say you should ‘talk out a problem’, it doesn’t mean that your man has suddenly become capable of handling lengthy conversations about how he doesn’t love you as much as he used to. I’m not anti-communication. By all means talk, but why announce it in a scary way and set the alarm bells ringing in his head?
2. You are a mommy’s boy: Aha. Tell me girl, If you have suicidal tendencies, why don’t you sit on bed of grenades and light agarbattis all around? Why bring his mother into every conversation and watch your relationship slowly kill you. He’s as touchy about mom as you may be about gender-equality. . ,and no woman leaves an opportunity to hint it if she can. You want peace in life? Just stop comparing yourself with his mother and remove the suspicion from your mind that he does it either. Someday, you’ll also be a mom to someone in a relationship, and a positive attitude would come in handy.

3. Look at your friends: It’s tricky to say anything about the friends in your man’s life. Don’t like them and he gets mad. Like them a lot and … err … you know what I’m saying. So you are doomed either way. But going on and on about how his friends are either useless, or are way better than him in terms of being more successful or more caring etc is guaranteed to get fireworks. Avoid comparison, avoid arguments. Period.

4. You always___and you never___: Fill anything in these blanks and your guy will hate to hear it. The problem with us women is that we are too quick to generalise. We don’t stick to the specific argument at hand and start passing judgment on the very personality of our boyfriend or husband by using terms like ‘always’ and ‘never’. And yeah, another term to avoid like plague is ‘anymore’. This is how you say it — ‘you don’t love me anymore. You don’t buy me flowers anymore. You don’t listen to me anymore’. This is how he hears it — ‘blah blah, blah blah, blah blah.’ Blah.
5. Have you been losing hair?: Haww … did you actually say it? Why didn’t you die before you did? Remember that hair is to men what weight is to women. Take a pledge and repeat after me. I-will-never-tell-a-man-he’s-going-bald. Alright? Now take a deep breath and listen. All men want a full crop on their head. Yes, even Rakesh Roshan does. When they can’t get it for some reason, they get into all sorts of things — transplant, shave-off, depression. Don’t add to the misery by ‘lovingly’ pointing out a receding hairline to your guy. He already knows it. He’s been crying in front of the bathroom mirror for two hours everyday. And yep, the same goes for pointing out a beer belly. Girls think ‘tumhara pet nikal raha hai’ is a cute sentence. Guys think girls should be sentenced for this.

Sonal Kalra is starting a relationship counselling service. She’ll announce the date the moment she gets back on talking terms with her husband.

A Calmer You: Say this to women at your own risk

Want to stay alive? Don’t say these five things to your woman, ever. I know hundreds of articles have already been written on this subject by experts from Tokyo to Timbuktu. But before you go rolling your eyes, tell me, have the men of the world learnt? If you are among those who had a fight with their girlfriend or wife not more than 36 hours ago, you would know that they haven’t. So, I still wanna take up this lost cause in the hope that it will knock some sense in some heads, especially that of my friend Jayant, for whom the number of ‘Go To Hells’ have far exceeded the number of ‘I Love Yous’ in his romantic life.

A Calmer You Say this to women at your own risk
So, what exactly is it that men say to the female species that guarantees hell on earth? Here’s my countdown of what to avoid like plague if you wish to reach even the ‘C’ of calmness.
5You remind me of a girl I used to have a crush on’: Ha ha, think you are paying a compliment, you idiot? Any talk about your ex-classmate/collegemate/neighbour/colleague or worse yet, your ex-girlfriend or wife will accomplish only one thing — make her wonder why they still exist in your head. This is true even if you are trying to shit-talk about your ex to flatter your current partner, like ‘my ex-wife never cared for me the way you do.’ Stop, stop, stop. It won’t work. Do not bring ex-es into conversations, even if sometimes your girl may herself try to. It’s a trap honey, always backfires.
4 ‘Are you PMSing?’: If you think you are scoring a point in an argument by showing off your knowledge of female hormonal functions, God help you my friend. Don’t ask your girlfriend if she’s grumpy because she’s about to have her periods. It’ll make the argument worse, especially if she indeed is in a pre-menstrual grouchy phase. Remember, men, too, have hormonal situations of a different kind, and a discussion on those could reserve a special place in hell for you in future arguments for years to come.
3 ‘How many boyfriends have you had in the past?’: Would it make you happy if she replied, ‘seven’? Would it please you even if she said ‘just one’? Basically, the answer to this question can only take your mood in one direction — downwards. Because even if she said none, you wouldn’t actually believe her. So why do you want to know? I don’t understand this hopelessly faulty logic about starting relationships on ‘honesty and truth’. No one is asking you to lie. But why volunteer head-on into an account of past romantic misdeeds needlessly because the truth is that deep inside, you don’t really want to know.
2 Anything bad … or too good, about her friends. Calling your girlfriend’s best friend a dud may make her upset. Calling her hot will make her upset. Basically anything much that you say about her friends is treading into potential girlfriend-enraging territory. Try to lie low and not comment too much on her pals, especially those under the gender ‘female’. Every girl on this planet suffers from insecurity in varying measures, and any attempt by you to fan it will only make her tell you someday to ‘go and date that friend’ only. Avoid.
1 ‘Have you gained weight?’: You already know this, don’t you? If there is one thing worse than putting a gun in your mouth and shooting your tongue off, it’s telling your woman that she’s gotten fat. Take it from me, no matter what age, race, nationality, caste or creed your girl is, the future of your relationship will depend on how less is the time gap between her asking ‘do I look fat in this dress’ and the answer ‘no’ flying out of your mouth. Even if the scales and your eyes tell you that she’s twice as big as she used to be, this is one truth no man is allowed to acknowledge. Ever.

Sonal Kalra forgot to add ‘you can never cook like my mom’ to the list. But you know it already, don’t you? Please help in putting together a list of ‘what never to say to your man’, for next week..

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A Calmer You: we have eyes. We will use them

Just as sun won’t stop rising from the east, some people won’t stop staring at others. Real scientific study: So you are in the public transport, or driving down a street when you notice someone staring hard at you. You go and ask the person what they are looking at.

Depending on which country you are in, this is what’s likely to be the response:

America: Well, sorry. Guess I was just looking through you.

Britain: I beg your pardon? Are you suggesting I have a vision defect?

Italy: Maybe because you are so good-looking, I couldn’t help it. Sorry.

India: Hamari aankhein hain, hum toh dekhenge. Kar lo jo karna hai.

Welcome to the land of stare-o-maniacs.

Hamein toh shauk hai bhai… We don’t really need any specific reason to stare. Arrey, we have to cover such long distances while going to college or office. Ab bore hote rahein? The only available entertainment is looking at people.Haan, it’s another thing that we are born lazy. Who will take the trouble of shifting the gaze from one person to other? So normally, we let it fix on someone and keep staring the hell out of him or her. Mostly her, but what the heck. Bandi nahi toh banda sahi. We will just stare, it’s our national preoccupation, and our democratic birthright.

A Calmer You - calmness tips to deal with staring eyes
I have written about them earlier also in this column, but stare-o-maniacs is a breed that never ceases to fascinate me. Some of them do not even need the usual setting of a public place to exercise this unique talent. Once I used to live in an apartment where the balcony directly faced the balcony of the opposite house. I would get up in the morning and go out to pick up the newspaper, only to find the nice woman in the opposite house staring straight and hard at me. I would instinctively nod and say good morning to her in the hope that it would end the staring session, but she would keep at it. After re-looking and revamping my nightclothes wardrobe  thrice in the fear that something in my appearance made her do it, I realised I was just getting paranoid. It was about her, not me.

Geetika Mishra, a reader of this column, wrote to me asking me to suggest calmness tips to deal with people who constantly stare. “Newton’s first law should have been: An eye that is staring will continue to stare with a uniform intensity in a straight line unless it is expelled by an external thrashing force to change its state of stare,” she wrote. Well, Geetika, that’s well put, though that proposed thrashing force or the chaanta has more potential to complicate the matters rather than bring about calmness. Here’s what I feel are the options if you find a pair of strangers’ eyes affixed on you for no apparent reason.

[stextbox id=”info”]Calmness Tips to Deal with People Fond of Staring at Others[/stextbox]

1. Look the other way: Seems like the easiest solution, though you’d mostly find the creepy gaze still on you if you look back. But then why look back? If the situation permits, change your position in such a way that you can totally avoid looking at the stare. And please, for once, apply the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ adage here and stop wondering whether the person is still looking at you. This whole thing of ‘I could still feel his eyes on me even when I turned way’ is pretty bullshit. You feel nothing till you want to feel it. Truth of life.
2. Don’t be hypersensitive: Just as those who stare at others perhaps have a hobby of doing so, a lot of people also have the hobby of thinking that the world revolves around them. To them it seems like everyone is concerned just with how they look or behave, so they always find others staring at them. It won’t help in life to become so hypersensitive about self. All you’ll end up doing is picking fights with strangers or getting stressed within yourself. Learn to ignore, not just others but sometimes your own vanity. Hiding his online status just to maintain peace in the relationship is actually making him lie to you, something that he wouldn’t want to do if you were not this hyper about instant responses.

3. Assume you are awesome: When my Grandfather’s second cousin Mr Darwin proposed the theory of evolution, he generalised human beings as a species and showed us how we evolved from the apes. What he forgot to mention is that we may all decide to stop at different stages of evolution. So, you see, we as a breed are available in different shapes and sizes. Normally, people who get most stared at belong to the either extremes — either they are too blessed in the looks department or they stand out for some physical attribute or style of dressing that’s out of the ordinary. Rather than fret and worry what’s wrong with you, always try to assume that you belong to the first category.
Take it as a compliment that people can’t take their eyes off you because you are so awesome. In any case, there’s precious little you can do in most situations, why not at least feed your own mind with positive self-esteem. Haan, let these thoughts remain in your head only, don’t suddenly start acknowledging it to all those around you. A firang friend of mine once said that if someone in her country stares at her, she smiles back and it works. I told her that we would have liked to execute the same noble deed here, except that in our country if you start to smile at someone who’s staring at you, there’s more likelihood of him following you home than just reciprocating the gesture. To each his own. Sigh.

4. Get all funny: I have tried this and it works, but please do this at your own risk after evaluating the conditions. It’s fun to embarrass the one staring by making funny faces, or staring back at him or her full blast, as if challenging them to a ‘who-blinks-first’ game. I’ve even covered my face with my hands and slowly removed them to play  peek-a-boo with someone who wouldn’t stop staring. He looked away when everyone around started laughing. Sometimes people have no malicious intentions and they don’t even realise that they are staring. They can join the laughter too. It’s fun.

5. Confront: Well, the last resort. If you are certain none of the above is working and the stare is bothering the hell out of you, go upto the person and ask them what they are looking at. You could even shout your question out, as drawing attention mostly wards off a stare. No, wait, why not start pointing to your nose and picking it vigorously? That’s bound to put the creep off. I know it’s not nice or mature, but when did I claim to be nice…or mature?
Sonal Kalra has decided to join classes to learn the art of prolonged staring without blinking. With the second largest population, anywhere she sees there’ll be people. Might as well do it the right way. Kar lo jo karna hai.

A Calmer You: no instant reply equals instant stress

So, Sonal, I have a topic to suggest for your column,” said a usually reticent Divya in my team. “The other day I sent you a message asking if I could report a little late for work,” she went on. “And you didn’t reply for a few minutes. In those few minutes, I was horribly stressed that you are upset about something.”
Arrey, but I was busy with something and didn’t see your message immediately,’ I said. “Yeah, I know. But it does lead to tremendous stress if the boss doesn’t reply instantly,” she said. I joked with her about how she’s making me feel like a guilty boyfriend. And then I recalled a conversation I’d overheard in a restaurant just a day before.

Would you stop judging me already? I don’t eavesdrop, the guys were too loud. Well, okay. I eavesdropped. But suno toh sahi, it was a damn interesting conversation.
Jaan le rakhi hai yaar Richa ne,” said one guy to his friend. “I love her and all that. But she’s constantly on my case if I’m not available online 24X7. She keeps a track of my last seen time on Whatsapp and gives me such grief if I’ve been online otherwise but haven’t responded to her message yet.” “Girls are like that only,” replied his genius friend, shaking his head.
Well, I don’t know if girls are like that, but technology surely is like that these days. Overwhelming, and overbearing. Before the instant messaging monsters invaded our civilisation, we were okay with not hearing from our loved ones all through the day. But in a bid to outdo each other, telecom companies have taken slogans like ‘stay connected’ too literally, and sadly so have we.
In the day and age when instant noodles and pre-mixed coffee is called a meal without blinking an eyelid, instant replies on SMSs, BBMs or Whatsapp have also become a measure of how much you care for the person on the other end.
And ironically it has become so justified to feel upset about why someone did not respond to our message immediately that the other person is left with no choice but to act guilty and defensive, without realising that there is no such rule in life that says you don’t care for the sender if you do not respond within 7 seconds of reading a message. Then there are BBM or Whatsapp groups where copy pasted jokes arrive from all directions at the speed of missiles and everyone in the group is supposed to ‘lol’ well in time to be safely considered a social animal.
In some ways, this stress of always being available also manifests itself in the way we respond to phone calls. You could have sat down to eat a meal, which by the way, still remains the primary thing you are living and working so hard for, and the phone rings. Immediately, the meal takes a backseat and you either get up to take a call or now since cell phones are almost appended to our bodies like an extended limb, you just take the call there and then.
If you don’t and there is an emotional loved one on the other side, your entire day can go in making amends. There is a colleague who starts most of his conversations with me by complaining about how I didn’t take his call the last time. Once I tried telling him politely that till the day I spend on buying a cell phone and pay its monthly bills, it’s I who will decide when to pick up a call, not the caller. He took truck loads of offence but thankfully the grumbling ceased for a while.
My point is simple. Technology is a facilitator, not the master of our life. If the state of our relationships is going to be dictated by the stress of how much we are making use of that technology, then we’ll only end up tying ourselves in knots. If you are one of those who happens to get all worked up about how your friend has not responded instantly to your message, consider this:
1. By getting constantly upset that your boyfriend isn’t responding to your messages at the speed of light, you are not showing love, you are showing insecurity.
2. Frequent display of insecurity will not make him come closer to you, it’ll make him Google for ways to hide his online status from you.
3. Hiding his online status just to maintain peace in the relationship is actually making him lie to you, something that he wouldn’t want to do if you were not this hyper about instant responses.
4. Lying in a relationship weakens its very foundation, further fuelling insecurity.
5. Finally, there is no proof to support the notion that relationships based on two people constantly connected to each other are stronger than those where each person gets space to breathe.
On the contrary, the latter may just be stronger since there’s no stress to lie or keep defending oneself.

Here’s some unsolicited gyan for Richa, jisne jaan le rakhi hai. Do remember that the definition of love got written ages before human beings learned to even spell technology. Don’t suddenly make advancements in technology the basis for a thing whose basis can only be trust, and nothing else. The day your boyfriend gets the confidence to say ‘I was chilling out with friends’ rather than saying, the phone was in the pocket and I didn’t hear the beep, he’d be in a much secure space in the relationship. And the day you learn to chill out with your own friends without being under the stress of checking your phone every second for his reply, you’d be in bliss too. Try toh karo.

Sonal Kalra has discovered that by simply blocking a contact for a few minutes and then unblocking them, you can effectively hide the ‘last seen’ time-stamp from whatsapp.
Also if you read a message on BBM and without touching the trackball or pressing any key you press the red, call disconnect key, you can read a message without the dreaded, R, appearing next to it.

Chalo, kuchh toh kaam ka seekha aaj.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Calmer You: so who wants to turn a bit mean?

20 things that make you happy at someone else’s expense, and still not make you die of guilt. I could be in serious trouble after this week’s column. My bosses may just decide to drop it altogether and if that happens, remind me to post their numbers on some anonymous blog, after which you can flood them with messages saying how your life is incomplete without this weekly dose of calmness. (Don’t you know all columnists whose columns get discontinued resort to this time-tested trick?)

Anyhow, I tread risky ground because I’m going to tell you to turn mean. Not mean in a, you know, mean way… but just a little mean for the sake of happiness.

Because frankly, we are mostly slugging through our lives, doom mongering and feeling miserable about things and people that bother us. We shake our heads while reading in the morning paper that India-Pak continue to behave like sisters-in-law, forever competing about who’s better at letting the other down.

A Calmer You so who wants to turn a bit mean

Then, we shake our head when we find a car parked, in gear, behind ours; when the traffic moves like there is a baraat dancing up ahead; when, on coming late, the boss gently reminds us that we are not doing enough to earn our food —  the one that’s badly cooked by the maid at home — the one who runs away four days after taking the commission… you get the drift.

Basically, we struggle to look for happiness, contrary to what all those saints tell us about happiness being within us (how? how?). And, since we are inherently good people, we don’t want to do bad things to feel good.

We want happiness only through noble thoughts and deeds, for everyone in the world. Right? Wrong. Secretly, we all have a mischievous, mean streak in us that tickles us if we see someone else who is more screwed than us.

C’mon, accept it. Remember, I’m not asking you to feel good by harming anyone… but go through this list of twenty random situations where circumstances, and not you, have been mean. And then let me know, in all honesty, if any of these ever made you happy. I’ll wait for your replies.

1. Seeing the one you had a crush on in school end up with a fat, ugly partner.
2. Noticing a bad dent on the car of the neighbour who fights with you every day over parking.
3. A film you hated being attacked and shred to pieces by critics.
4. Seeing a socialite you are secretly jealous of (but air kiss nonetheless), have a wardrobe malfunction — with the media in attendance.
5. Noticing a dog poop outside the door of the neighbour who plays music at full volume after midnight.
6. Seeing the look on the face of the coach of the team you are not supporting, the moment the linesman in a soccer match declares their goal offside.
7. A relative’s son or daughter, the same age as yours, getting less marks in exams.
8. Realising that your mother-in-law has mistakenly put too much salt in the food, after listening to endless praises of ‘mom’s food’ by your husband.
9. Seeing the classmate who always comes first turn up ten minutes late for the exam due to bad traffic.
10. Overhearing that your devil neighbour’s maid ran away — with the driver of the one who fights over parking.
11. Meeting a childless couple who was married before you, when you’ve been trying hard to conceive.
12. Reading gossip about how Shah Rukh and Salman Khan almost came to blows in a party.
13. Seeing a yesteryear sex bomb turn into a fat aunty.
14. Reading a vague, speculative report that the bank you’ve taken a home loan from may close down.
15. Getting to know that your ex-husband/wife got divorced again.
16. Realising that your heartless boss has been denied a promotion in his annual appraisal.
17. Finding out that an event in which you were not allowed to participate has been stopped by authorities for lack of permission.
18. Seeing your office rival pay a compliment to the receptionist and she reporting it to HR.
19. Hearing your husband’s best friend narrate how his wife — who your spouse raves about — has made his life hell.
20. Realising that the restaurant has mistakenly not billed you for the last two Patiala pegs.
Be honest !!

Please read – Book review of Sonal Kalra’s new book More of a Calmer You.

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There’s Always a First Time for Everything

Yeah….i know that you all know that there’s always a first time for every thing….like you walked once for the first time, you said maaaa and paaaa for the first time(your parents still tell you how happy they were listening to those incoherent words)….you danced,singed,played,ate,etc……..all for first time sometime in your life. But what i am talking about are the memorable things which we all do and remember for life time….however trifle they may be…they still hold for a memory in your heart. And yes….i am not talking about relationships or any other personal stuff……just pure general things:)


So here are my favourite ten things which i feel are memorable first time things…..though they are funny and most of them must have been experienced by you too…..


This is the time when you can actually hear your heart beat…..you are all cold and nervous. Cold sweats, wet palms…..and when you speak…..the voice is all shaky and well…..squeaky:).And if at that particular moment the microphone makes that screechy sound……god save you from a hysterical attack.I know it happens with most of the people(unless you are don’t belong to that elite class whose motto is”thappad se darr nai lagta….pyaar se lagta hai!!!!!)……but as we all are afraid of getting slapped so thats not our type:).but after you have given your speech, no matter how bad….you start to have a bit ease in doing that subsequently…..that is number of times on stage is inversely proportional to the intensity of fits during speech time.


Now after giving that slap theory….this point needs mention…..and what a feeling you receive by honouring someone with a tight one…..beyond words.The sound,the effects…..wah wah…..this sets the benchmark for the subsequent ones..High intensity, low intensity,almost similar……but make sure to please run away after giving one. Thats because a holy man once said”always be on the giving end….not the receiving one”


From our childhood we wonder what exactly our parents do in bank…all that paper work and all.We always thought its a place where money is kept and you can have it any time(now that we have ATM’s…..so its for today’s kids).But once you turn 18 and your father take you along to open up a bank account….you are astounded by the number of people there….and suddenly bank appears like gringotts from harry potter. Then your first transaction happens….usually its a demand draft for a competitive exam. Now the people behind the desks literally appears like goblins who don’t give a damn to a kid standing in front(no offences to bank people though but thats what happened with me).But after an hour of queries and repeated cuttings you finally get your draft made and that is the time when you think that you have finally known what adults do in bank.And the next draft just take a mere five minutes to you but your first one will always be in your mind.


This one is especially for girls….all her life(i mean before make up)girl thinks that all these actresses look beautiful because they wear lot of make up…well, true to an extent but not totally.So when a girl tries make up for the first time, she thinks…she’s gonna rock the look….but sadly….this turns out exactly opposite for almost 85% of the girls.When she looks in the mirror after all her effort she feels horrible and thinks she was much better without it.But gradually things change and after repeated efforts and experience she manages that actress look and that too with an elan:)…..still…in her mind her first look always lingers and she has a great laugh thinking about that later:).


Remember your first time on bicycle when after removing those supporting tyres your father let you go all by yourself…..a mixed feeling of fear and joy…..aaaah….though you bumped yourself straight into those bushes or even worst on the concrete road,But you felt like a king that day…even though you may be driving a big SUV today…but that wound mark on your knee still freshen ups those memories.


I know we all are just very very small that time but i really don’t know how we remember it.Usually you have very faint memories of that but still you remember whom you sat with on the very first day(usually that person is your best buddy now, though not always:)).You also remember who slapped you or pushed you or better vice versa…but they all are faint and still very close to heart.


This has happened with every one….and that too in front of the whole class or worse …..school…but the humiliation you felt for the first time is beyond compare.You keep grudges against that teacher forever….and by forever i mean literally forever.Subsequent scoldings start having less effect and by the time you reach your senior years you become a”chikna ghada” or in better words immune to it.Even if the teacher sends you out of the class….that moment becomes a point to celebrate and you thank your stars that the teacher herself did the needful!!!!


Remember hrithik roshan from zindagi naa milegi dobara…..now imagine yourself in his role after he did that deep sea diving….satisfying!!!(anyone would feel that if the instructor is katrina kaif)……but on serious note…anyone who has done bungee jumping,scuba diving,para gliding and other sports would become extremely excited about their first attempt in that(how they fell,how they controlled…what were they thinking,how it was a near death experience….list goes on) but yeah the feeling is truly amazing and you would not forget it even when you have turned 107 years old.


Well…its almost similar to stage fright….but now you just don’t have to speak…now you have to answer.In your first interview you are naive,inexperienced,lack worldly knowledge…..but for most of us its the best we give(getting selected or not doesn’t matter).You always remember the face of your first interviewer…but in later interviews you even tend to forget the name of the company you went to.


Now thats my favourite!!!!…..i myself being a dentist know how people feel:)They are horrified just by the site of the clinic.Though people shake every time they have to go there but first time….its the worst.Most of the people start having uneasiness by the sight of the instruments and if a minor procedure is to be performed….their blood pressure shoots and they usually faint!!!….everyday’s story:).But gradually they become IMMUNE to it and take anaesthesia shots with ease:)

So….these are my memorable things which i remember still…and probably would remember in years to come…..and i know you may have a totally different list of these things.Then why not you also add your “first’s” to this and make it really worth remembering:):):)

[stextbox id=”info”]And by the way, this was NOT the First guest post by Pooja. Do check out her other posts as well and don’t  be Kanjoos in giving likes to her post. And if  for some reasons, you didn’t like it, then there is a comment section available for the purpose.:-) [/stextbox]

A Calmer You: say it once more and i’ll slap you

If a mosquito annoys us, it’s okay to kill it. If the same rule applied to humans, some people would’ve travelled to heaven long back. Chalo yoga karte hain. Maine naya naya seekha hai. You know, while I’ve been learning to practice spiritual yoga and hence hoping for the various asanas to help calmness descend into my unusually chaotic mind, someone in my life is working overtime to ensure that I pay back to Yoga, by inventing a new asana or posture of my own. And I’ve dutifully done that.

This asana involves standing straight, looking into the eyes of the person in front of you, slowly raising your right hand and landing it on his or her left cheek in a swift motion. I call it chaantasana, or for the faaltu firangs among you who claim to not understand basic hindi — the slap asan. Advanced followers of this practice can also learn the second part of this posture that involves physically lifting the target and throwing them out of sight, but you need to build adequate stamina and strength to reach that stage. Trust me, I’ve dreamt about doing this aasan everyday with Chadha ji and the calmness it gets me is unmatched.
But the hero of today’s column is not Chadha ji. Today, I have no choice but to tell you about the person who prompted me to think of chaantasana in the first place. For reasons that involve peace of mind, I will not be able to tell you the name, nor will it be possible for me to reveal this person’s gender. So as weird as it sounds, let me address ‘it’ as ‘Idlu’. Idlu is someone I have to meet every now and then, and by all outwardly standards, Idlu can be safely categorised as a good human being. However, all that goodness of the heart takes a back seat when Idlu opens the mouth and starts to speak. Because whatever Idlu says, important or not, relevant or not, Idlu repeats at least five times. EVERYTHING. Here’s a sample conversation.
Idlu: ‘It’s really hot today,
isn’t it?’
Me: Hmm, it is.
Idlu: ‘Even the forecast says
it’s really hot.’
Me: oh, ok.
Idlu: ‘Vaise whether the weather forecast says or not, when it’s hot, it’s hot. No?’
Me: That’s so true.
Idlu: ‘It is indeed hot. I’ve been feeling it since morning. You?’
Me: Come here. I have to show you a new aasan.
Idlu: ‘Wahin se bata do. Don’t even feel like getting up. It’s so bloody hot. Hai ke nahi?’
My life is an eternal quest to avoid Idlu, but mostly I lose this battle. I don’t know about you, but according to me, it’s people who have the habit of repeating the same thing over and over again — and not junk food — which has to be the biggest cause of hypertension in the world.
These people are either madly in love with the sound of their own voice, or they take others to be complete idiots who will not get their point in the first attempt. And to make it worse, they mostly end their statements with a question, so you have no choice but to play this chalo-ek-hi-baat-baar-baar-bolte-hain game with them.  It’s like every bit of your mind is screaming ‘Shut up. I heard you the first ten times’ and throwing imaginary bricks at them, but you feel helpless.

[stextbox id=”info”]Calmness Tips for People with Habit of Repeating what They say[/stextbox]

While chaantasana should ideally set things in order, mostly these people are not bad at heart, and could also be physically stronger than you, so you can’t really slap them as many times as they repeat the stuff they say. So here’s what you need to do if you have a parrot like Idlu in your life. By the way, let’s be clear that I’m not talking about elderly people who, because of age conditions, sometimes tend to repeat things without realising it. If you can’t respect that and be patient with them, it’s you who needs chaantasana. Got it?

1. Play their game…and beat them at it.: The next time someone like Idlu unleashes their ‘hai-ke-nahi’ fury at you, reply in the same coin. “Haan hai toh. Aur hoga kaise nahi? When there is something, it has to be there. No? Because if it isn’t there, then it has no existence. And existence depends on whether it’s there or not. Isn’t it? So if it is there, it has to be there. Hai ke nahi?” In other words, confuse kar kar ke maaro. I’m sorry I’m teaching you to take revenge, but I’ve realised that in life, some people do not get the message till it is spoken in their language. Isn’t it?

2. Learn to focus…elsewhere: Real meditation is not always to sit in a yogic posture with your eyes closed, stressing about how not to stress. Real meditation is when you go into a trance like state while an Idlu repeats itself ad nauseum. Plaster a dreamy look on your face, narrow your eyes, just log off your mind and think about the lush green meadows of Ireland, or the hot new chemistry teacher. Come back well in time to hear Idlu’s last sentence so that you can give some kind of a coherent reply.
In any case, the last sentence would be the same as the fifteen spoken before it. Also, it pays to keep a few vague queries handy, so that the other person does not suspect that you’ve been mentally away to Switzerland. So in between, keep saying totally irrelevant things like ‘really? or ‘yeh kaise’ or aahh, I see’. These are life-saving phrases that have absolutely no meaning but can keep a situation from becoming messy. Try them.

3. Tell them: I’m serious about this one, beech mein hasna mat please. Many a times, people who you really love and care for have an annoying habit they are not even aware of. They mean no harm, but may just be driving others mad with their behaviour. If you genuinely care for such a friend or family member, sit them down and in the most gentle way, tell them what’s annoying others around them. Make sure you say it in a way that makes it clear that it’s the habit that’s irritating, and not the person. Someday they’ll thank you for it.

By the way, if after reading this, you’ve realised that there’s a hidden Idlu in you, try and practice chaantasana on yourself. It’s way better done alone, than someone else doing it on you. Trust me.

Sonal Kalra wonders how people can keep repeating themselves. Is there any point in saying the same thing again and again? Koi point hai? There’s no point. Isn’t it.

The Super-Comp Brain!

Ever had an encounter with someone having absolutely creative ideas flipping every second and having infinite wisdom over all possible subjects you can think of? Oh no, don’t get moved by the title I have put. I am not talking about a human brain which works like a super-computer.


SCB is actually an acronym for a brain filled with superiority complex. (You may applaud for my creativity). Okay, so you have someone to deal with who is suffering with this disorder. Never mind, you and I are rowing the same boat then. Let’s whine together and try to brainstorm on how to bring our diseased acquaintances on a comfort level.

For others, who are still wondering whether these SCBs exist (or co-exist within them), here are symptoms for quick identification:

1)   They are superbly intelligent and no one has ever surpassed their intellect. They’re being ranked 1 since Class Nursery and they still are the best in whatever they do.

2)   They have their relatives in each part of the world. Though I never tried to question about Antarctica, but this time I am planning to.

3)   They like to travel. In fact, they feel happy to be tagged as nomads for their numerous and frequent international and domestic trips.

4)   Whatever they wear does not cost any lesser than a good five thousand bucks. And the combined cost of their get-up is around a Lakh, including the luxurious watch and bag. No matter if you manage to see the fake labels popping out, the cost remains intact.

5)   They own properties..so many of them, you know. And, they are always born with a silver spoon and hence, are super duper rich. In fact, I should have replaced silver with Gold or Platinum (may be), but the syntax of English language does not allow me to do so.

6)   They have a huge house and each member in their family owns a high-segment car. It’s a different fact that they do not keep servants and drivers because they are firm believers of “self help is the biggest help”.

7)   They buy Gold. Yes, they do it whenever there is anything in the family. And anything could be a weekend too. You know, in today’s age, it so hard to spend weekend with family and if you do, it surely calls for a celebration, therefore, a lavish purchase of gold.

8)   Last, but not the least, you will never get to see any of their highly priced possessions which are listed above in your entire life.

The reasoning behind such conduct could be comprehended with aid of Psychology. The study calls ‘Superiority Complex’ a defense mechanism which a person with inferiority complex attains to counter his/her feelings. The entire exercise helps in boosting person’s ego and thereby, confidence. It initiates quite early when young children face and learn the norms of social arena, and try to gain confidence to stand out. And then, with time, it transforms into a habit. If not curbed on time, it becomes a behavior. And, this behavior comes up as pain and irritation for others who have to deal with SCBs on a daily inescapable basis.

[stextbox id=”black”]If you genuinely feel you are better than others in something, the best way for everyone to know it is through your actions, not words. Lead by example, as the law of attraction is far more superior to any amount of invasive self-promotion. People get put off if you keep saying ‘I’m the best.’ Why not do something that shows them, instead? – Sonal Kalra[/stextbox]

What to do? – This is what I ponder when stuck in a situation when the sufferer of superiority demeanour is not avoidable and I would have to lend my ears to their constant flamboyant words.

  • Ask this question politely at their announcement of being ‘Super intelligent’ – “When was the last time you were average?”. Rapidly answer the same yourself with grave disgust – Oh how could you be average. It is actually the bad luck that always accompanies you and has made you work with a mediocre crowd like us. Such a pity!!
  • No need to feed their ego by approving of their false claims. Else, you’d be adding to your woes as they would never think of putting limits on their show-off for nothing. Play ‘Fastest Finger First’ and ask 10 quick questions related to their blabbing. I know it requires some home work, but it’s worth a try if it saves you from future agony.
  • These SCBs don’t remember things because they don’t talk factual. ‘New words with new crowd’ is what they follow. So, cross-question and make them realize that they are being caught red-handed.
  • Try to extract flavor in their boastful talks. Trust me, it is fun sometimes to a see a stupid at its epitome.
  • Accept their eccentricity. You and I can’t bring any alteration unless they decide to take professional counseling or some divine voice tells them to stop lying to their inner-self and make others convince to accept their illusions.

With all said above, my foremost implementation is going to be a sample test on myself to check if this disorder is contagious as I may also exhibit some of its symptoms. And if I feel God has saved me until now, I would definitely be trying to practice these tricks and would come up even better ways to fight it!:)