Tag Archives: Calmness Tips

Throw away these 5 things. Right now!

Haylo, good people. If you detected a hint of threat in the headline, let me explain that it is not. Just a hint, I mean. It is a full blown warning because I’ve had enough of you not realising that it is high time you chucked some stuff out of your life. Hey, those of you who immediately thought of spouses and/or in-laws, give me a high-five. Now, give your right cheek one, because we are not talking humans, yet.

More than four years ago, I wrote in this column about people who just wouldn’t discard things and how a lot of homes look like museums — of trash — but then nothing seems to have changed. Meri sunte kahan ho aap log? Maybe if I change my name to something like Sushri Sushri Sonal and start charging you by thousands to tell you how to inhale-exhale air will you take me seriously.


Yeh three rupees waali advice ki koi value nahi hai, by God. Anyway, our homes, workspaces, sometimes even vehicles, are full of clutter that’s not only taking away a lot of space but also keeping us from, well, inhaling-exhaling fresh air. Just take a good look around you. Is there anything you spot that’s been there forever without being of any use, but only because you were too lazy or stingy to throw it out. I’ll smack you if you’ll let your clever brain cook up a ‘nostalgia’ and ‘emotional attachment’ argument to cover up your inherent inertia. Because my mind tries to do the same, all the time. Why is my physics text book of ninth standard still lying somewhere on the shelf? Because, you see, my bestestest friend and I played tic-tac-toe on the back cover and got our first punishment together. Ugh. That best friend, who’s now friend number 3654 on Facebook doesn’t even know if I still exist in this physical world. But the physics text book stays. THAT, is our problem. Mind hi blocked hai ji, kya karein.

[stextbox id=”info”]Five Things You Could Throw Away to De-Clutter your Home and Life[/stextbox]

Anyway, I tried to apply mine and here are five categories of things I think should be discarded right now, in the larger interest of humanity, to reduce poverty, to cut corruption in the country, and to make India a safe place for women to live in.

1 Black Spaghetti: No matter how much you deny, each one of us has a janjaal of unused cables and chords lying around in the house. An old charger of the 20 kg heavy Motorola phone that was the pride of your life in 1992, maybe the phone/pager itself that never got an antim sanskar, 265 pairs of earphones that you flicked each time you boarded a Kingfisher flight — when they were still Kings of good times, that is. Some cables that came with your TV video game on your 5th birthday, and are still around in the hope of seeing your 50th. C’mon yaar. THROW. And puhleez, read up on e-waste and dispose them off properly.

2 Clothes that don’t fit: Our favourite hoarding candidate, this one. The wardrobe is screaming that it can’t take it anymore, but we’ll keep stuffing it with more clothes everytime the wretched ‘50% off’ beckons. But we still won’t give away the dress we bought at 50% discount 10 years ago and which didn’t fit us even at that time. ‘Someday I’ll lose weight and fit into this,’ Yeah? Aao thappad khao. Saale Sale junkies, all of us. (That’s a typo in the first word… I didn’t mean the extra ‘a’ but the back button on the keyboard isn’t working!). Golden rule: Deny yourself a new dress till you take out an old one.

3 Show-pieces: In the last century when I was a kid, every house used to have a ‘showcase’, in which people placed all kinds of weird, I mean cute, things. Terracotta swans with necks entwined, photo frames of all sizes, shapes, material with pictures of relatives in all shapes, sizes and material. Plastic flowers in plastic vases. Now, I have nothing against these, seriously. Because the whole point of being the Lord of your house is to be able to do it up the way you like. But the problem is that we keep adding ‘show-pieces’ without knowing what to do with the old. Even when the showcases have all but gone in last decade’s renovation. The same goes for old toys, especially stuffed teddy bears that may be full of mere desh ki mitti from 1979, but we won’t let them go because well, there are emotions involved. Do the same emotions not tell you then to donate the clothes, toys or books in good condition to some kid who may value them much more than you? Think about it.

4 Casettes/CDs that don’t run: Another big nostalgia candidate. Okay fine, kuchh toh rakh lo… because even I have a big emotional attachment with my old music cassettes. But when that attachment translates to shelves full of old CDs which have died of scratches, or cassettes which didn’t run even when we had the player till the time you wound up the whole magnetic tape with your finger, then you’ve got a problem. See, all thanks to technology, your favourite music is now safe, and accessible anytime, with Internet baba. Keep your attachment with the music, not the medium. Make space in your room, in your life.

5 Medicines you no longer use: The other day in my medicine box, I discovered a strip of antibiotic tablets that had expired two years ago. I deserve to have expired with it. For being so scatty with things. We all are. We buy new medicines each time we fall sick, but keep retaining the old, unused ones, expired or not. The same goes for the tube of painkiller ointment which will itself writhe
in pain if you’ll try to extract anything further out of it. Or the face cream that gave you allergy the very first time you used it. Here’s a request – please donate unused, unexpired medicines. There are people dying in our country for want of basic medicines. It just feels inhuman to be hoarding them. Don’t you think?

Sonal Kalra has decided to throw away five things everyday. She’ll de-clutter her house by 2030. Dekhte Jao.

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So how many fake friends do you have?

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‘I would take 100 real enemies over one fake friend anyday. At least the enemies let you know where they stand, and don’t pretend to care’ – Anonymous Firstly, all those who sent me mails after last week’s column addressing me as Maa Sonal, please stand up and do 10 push-ups.

Hadd hai. Mazaak udaate ho? After such a well-meaning but highly unspiritual advice of turning selfish, this is the tag I get at such a …umm… young age? Don’t you dare laugh now. Chalo, answer this week’s question.

Calmness Tips – Identify Fake Friends &  Forever Friends

Are you one of those who feel that the ‘friends’ in your life are actually around only till – and because – it suits them? A 21-year old college student wrote me a very emotional letter recently where she shared the pain of having her ‘best friend’ cheat on her by having a fling with her boyfriend. A 37-year-old colleague vented at being back-stabbed by a ‘friend’ at work who spilled the secrets he’d shared in confidence, in front of the boss just to score brownie points. And a 46-year-old bureaucrat friend told me about how his so-called ‘close friends’ withered away ever since he got transferred from a position of power to a not-so-enviable department.

And please note, these are friends in flesh and blood, I’m not even touching upon the rather sensitive topic of 5,000 virtual ‘friends’ that platforms like Fakebook, I mean Facebook, allow you, where half of the people on the list are those you may even have trouble recalling.

Why do we sometimes get a feeling that the people close to us are actually putting up an act when they don’t really care? Similarly, someone else might just be thinking of us as fake friends in their lives. Allow me to share my analysis of how this one word ‘friend’ may just be the most ill-defined and abused word in the history of err…words.

I think the problem of mis-definition starts from childhood itself. You meet a relative’s cute, little child. You have no real conversation points when it comes to chatting with a 5-year-old. So you ask ‘beta, which school/class do you study in?’ The child mumbles a rata-rataya answer, knowing that otherwise in 3 nano seconds, mom or dad would say ‘c’mon answer auntie’s question’. Your next question then is ‘And what’s the name of your best friend?’ Considering it’s highly improbable that a 5-year-old has had the opportunity to judge or analyse friends over qualities such as sincerity, the child invariably names the classmate who sits next to her or the one with whom he plays the most. In that child’s mind then, the term ‘best friend’ gets firmly associated with someone you spend the maximum time with. And that’s where the distinction between ‘acquaintance’ or ‘classmate’ or ‘colleague’ —and ‘friend’ starts to get blurred. By the team we become adults, the distinction is totally gone…and we start defining most people of our age that we hang out with, as friends. And when any of these people behaves badly, we start lamenting the lack of trust in friendship, without realising that most of them were not friends to begin with. Anyway, kaafi deep gyan ho gaya yeh toh. I just re-read it and didn’t understand much. Hope-fully you are more intelligent. Coming back to ‘fake friends’, here’s how you can identify them.

[stextbox id=”info”]Calmness Tips – Identify Fake Friends &  Forever Friends[/stextbox]

* They and their talk, is more about themselves than about you. Yeah yeah, I know that friends are bound to share their problems with you, but is that opportunity also given to you or is it always a one-way road?

* They mostly come up with some excuse when you really need them. Think of your friend, close your eyes and ask yourself a question: ‘If you were in an emergency, could you depend on that person to leave everything and be by your side?’ The answer would give you the answer.

* They say things that they don’t mean. I know someone who always ends a telephonic discussion by vaguely saying ‘let’s meet someday. Kabhi is side aana ho toh chakkar lagana (whatever that means!). I also dutifully reply, ‘sure’. I know she doesn’t mean it. Nor do I.

* They make fun of you, behind your back. In fact, if they gossip about most people when they are with you, you should wonder if they are capable of doing the same to you in your absence.

* The frequency of their calls increases or decreases proportionately when you are having it good in life, or otherwise. Who knows this better than filmstars, politicians or people in powerful positions. Everyone’s a friend when you are on the top, everyone’s suddenly busy when you start sliding down.

Now that we know how to tell a FF (fake friend) from an FF (friend forever) (I should get an award for being this cheesy. Yuck.), here are calmness tips:

1 Revisit and revise the definition of a friend. Do not try to merge the entire world into this one category, maintain its sanctity.
2 Do not burden your friends with undue expectations. Galti thoda kar li unhone tumhaara friend ban ke. Don’t always be in a devdaas mode and use them as bouncing boards. Have a balanced equation..expect only that from your friends what you are ready and willing to do for them.
3 Slowly withdraw from fake friends: Remove the clutter from your life, so that there’s room for meaningful, positive relationships. Don’t suddenly snap all ties, but slowly withdraw from those people you are certain are not your true well-wishers
4 Try and be the kind of friend you would like to have. Show your care to people that you care for, and do not take them for granted. Also, stick by them through their bad times more than their happy moments.
5 And finally, befriend yourself. I’ve realised that the biggest high in life comes from being good to your own self. The world is quick to respect those who have a high degree of self esteem. You’ll never have to chase friends if you are a friend to yourself and live in your own happy little universe.

Kuchh zyada hi ho gaya. Sorry.
Sonal Kalra started this column by punishing those who called her Maa Sonal. After all this preaching, it’s time she did those push-ups.

How to always win a fight

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

calmness tips handle fights

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

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

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

-Zora Neale Hurston[/stextbox]

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Robert Kirkman.[/stextbox]

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

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

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

Lost a loved one? Don’t lose yourself

What? After 4 years of …err…at least attempting to make you laugh over the most idiotic things, I can’t even write one senti, sad column? That’s not fair. Itna toh banta hai yaar… life’s not always about grinning away problems, though actually, mostly it is. But somehow, I don’t quite agree with applauding only those who claim to laugh through every low point in life. Because, my dear calmness seekers, sometimes you just don’t feel like laughing. Because grief is an intrinsic part of our lives, just as happiness is. Because a big part of calmness is about dealing with the stress of grief. And because, it is okay to be sad some days in life. I’m at such a point in my life today. And I wanted to write about it only because I know I’ll not be here for too long. I lost a loved one recently, and even though we would all wish our lives to be immune and untouched by grief, the truth is that we all have, or will, someday lose someone we love – a friend, a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a child… a pet —to death. And everyone has to look for a way to deal with that grief. Sometimes in doing so, we subconsciously end up feeling ourselves, or making others, miserable. Let’s at least try not to do that, shall we? How about keeping the following in mind…

calmness tips death of loved one

[stextbox id=”info”]How to Calm Yourself on Death of Loved One[/stextbox]

1 Don’t blame yourself:

Ever. You know, I’m not a very religious person. But when it suits my convenience, I waste no time in quoting the theory of karma and destiny. That each one of us comes in this world with an account written somewhere of how each day will go. That when someone would die – and how- is all pre-destined. So, there really is no point in feeling guilty about someone’s demise, unless you genuinely feel responsible for it in some unfortunate way. The other day, I went to the funeral of an ex-colleague’s mother. The first thing that he said on meeting me was, “My sister kept telling me that we should seek a second opinion on ma’s condition. I somehow could not do it on time, or else she would have been alive. I’ll never forgive myself.”
One person died, and here, another was killing himself with such thoughts. I really wish people would someday realise the futility of  over-analysis, especially  after something as permanent as death has happened. Leave it yaar…it’s pointless.

[stextbox id=”black”]The angels are always near to those who are grieving, to whisper to them that their loved ones are safe in the hand of God.

– The Angels’ Little Instruction Book.[/stextbox]

2 Allow yourself the right to grieve—the way you want to:

Don’t hate me for saying this, but one of the things that puts me off the most is how most people in our country behave when they go to mourn someone’s death. In other words, mujhe afsos hai ke hamein afsos karna nahi aata. Most of the people start by asking some supremely idiotic question like ‘zyada beemar the?’ Yeah, yeah, I know that they mean to ask if the death was sudden or the one who died was unwell for a while. Still somehow this question seems inane to me…like someday someone would reply “no, not at all. He just sneezed once but we wanted to see how he’ll look dead. So we asked him to go all the way.” And then, the person who’s already undergoing tremendous pain for the loss of a loved one is made to undergo the additional pain of recalling the entire sequence of death to relatives and visitors of all kinds. Even those relatives who may not even have bothered to call once in years. Why? Just because that’s how it happens in our society. I’m sorry, I don’t buy this. If you want people around for support and feel like voicing your emotions, do so by all means. But if you want to grieve without having to cry in front of the whole world, please claim your privacy. It’s your right. That we all have to go someday is fixed, but how you are supposed to mourn the loss is not written in cement. Hell to the way it happens in our society.

3 Give it time:

This may be a horribly clichéd statement but is so darn true that I have to make it. Time heals. I’ve seen it heal the worst of wounds. Losing a loved one to death is one of the most painful experiences, and it’s very normal to feel that life will never be the same again. Maybe it indeed won’t in some ways, but what definitely doesn’t last forever is the pain of the loss. The best thing to do, actually, is not to do anything. In terms of trying to make it go. Give that pain a chance to complete its course. Cry if you feel like, as much as you feel like. And with time, your mind will start a soothing healing process on its own. However, this is the time when some people get onto a guilt trip because their pain has lessened. Please remember, moving on with your life is not an insult to the one who died. It is in fact, the best gift you could give to their memory. Oh, by the way, I’m not looking for such a gift from my husband, in case I decide to, you know, take leave. Please tell him. Tell yours too.

Sonal Kalra knows the trick of dealing with healing. Just don’t try to fast forward it.

Oh, this gender bender nonsense

I’m terribly ashamed to admit that almost all of you saw through, with spectacular ease, my April Fool joke about discontinuing this column. Even those who ended up sending me mails with a plea to not give up writing, also seemed to be trying to humour me – letting out a stifled laugh while making a serious face, asking me not to leave. Koi izzat hi nahi hai meri dhamki ki, I tell you. Anyway, I’m here, a la Raj Kapoor’s Jeena yahan marna yahan style, and we are yet again trying to seek calmness in this world full of idiots like you and me.

calmness tips confused gender names people

Today’s topic is courtesy Shakti — who is an amazingly good humoured girl, for someone with a name that reminds most people of an on-screen rapist. Shakti wants me to write about people who are saddled with gender-bender i.e girls who have boy-names and guys who have typically girlie names. Around two years back in this column, I had briefly touched upon the stress of having an odd-sounding name. But it didn’t seem like something that could put people into a state of depression.

[stextbox id=”info”]How to Avoid Stress of Confused-Gender Names [Calmness Tips][/stextbox]

‘Oh yes, it can,’ says my colleague Chirag — a girl who says she’s spent her entire life living an ‘identity crisis’. ‘People call up and ask me to hand over the phone to Mr Chirag. When I say it’s my name, they sound surprised, mostly amused,’ she says, and casually shows me her desk, full of letters addressed to her name shown as the male gender. Now that I sit back and think about it, I’ve known so many such people in my life. I’m sure so did you. My geography teacher in school, a beautiful woman, was called Vinod. And an ex-colleague — a rather burly bearded guy — Madhu. In fact come to think of it, there was a phase during my work life that my colleagues in a certain project had these first names — Saroj, Kamla, Indu and Madhu. They were all guys. Oh yeah, there was one girl colleague — her name was Jasvinder. Quite a bit of our time used to go into explaining this odd nomenclature to people who would call up and insist that their perception of what the gender ought to be is stronger than reality. Reality is harsh for some people, my friends. In certain communities, like the Sikhs, girls and boys do get the same names. The differentiator earlier would be the middle name of ‘Singh’ or ‘Kaur’, but a lot of younger generation has dropped the middle name, happily adding to the gender confusion. I know of families where both husband and wife are called Ravinder. And if their determination is strong enough, that’s the name of the kid too. Anyway, if you or someone you know, suffers from the gender-bender stress, here’s food for thought…

1 People will always assume. Let them: Some people get very angry if mistakenly addressed as the opposite gender.

While it is indeed irritating to be having to explain all your life that your parents had a rather quirky sense of humour, it never helps to lose your cool. In fact, having the ability to laugh about it will endear you to most people and they’ll not mock you. A friend’s mom whose name is Prem, always used to introduce herself as ‘Prem, thankfully not Chopra’ and people would instantly warm up to her.

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
–  William Shakespeare

2 See the positives: Remember that an unusual name helps you stand out in the sea of people with predictable names.

Does any of you recall a time when every other boy was Rahul and every second girl, Pooja or Ritu. I never had less than three Poojas in my class, throughout my student life. And oh, the nicknames made situations hilarious, because they were the worst in gender bending. There was a point when all four of my close girl friends were called Sonu, at home. And then I got married to a guy, who, along with all his close guy friends, was also called Sonu. My marriage was perhaps the largest congregation of Sonus in the world. You just had to shout out the name, and half the guests would leave their plates and come rushing, in Saris and Suits alike. So if, my friend, you have an unusual name, it may not be a bad thing after all. People would remember you. Explaining the genesis of your name could be a good conversation starter for those who are otherwise short of things to talk about, at social gatherings. You may just begin to enjoy the attention.

3 Finally, if despite all the gyan I just tried to give you, you still can’t stand your name, go ahead and change it.

Koi patthar pe lakeer hai? It’s easier than you think. Check out a newspaper and it’s full of those classified ads where people announce a change in name. If you’re leading your life in misery while hating your name, but don’t change it because your great-great grandfather’s last great wish was to name his grandchild Om Prakash even though it turned out to be a girl, I’m truly sorry for you. Dadaji toh already chale gaye, aur tum chale jaaoge, cribbing all your life. And even on your tombstone, somebody will write ‘Mr’, by mistake. Do one of these — either make peace with your name and begin to love it, or change it. There are anyway so many problems in life, it’s the worst to be fretting all the time about why the Citibank operator called you Ms Cheenu Gupta when you are Mr Cheenu Gupta. Why the hell are you Cheenu in the first place?

Well, whatever. Sonal Kalra is forever thankful to danseuse Sonal Mansingh for becoming famous so that people got to know that ‘Sonal’ is a female name. Otherwise she would have changed it to…hmm…Cheenu.

5 guaranteed signs of stupidity

It must be in the air. Or maybe something we all eat. Whatever it is, it is making the human race slowly become mentally challenged. The more you look around, the more people you’ll find indulging in awe-inspiring idiotic behaviour. A few months back, I had written in this column about ‘obvious, hence stupid’ things most people say. Normally columns are meant to trigger off a process of introspection and social change. But mere likhne se koi farq pada? Zilch. In fact I feel there is a new breed of ingenious morons that has ripened up now. The kinds who wear their stupidity proudly on their sleeve and believe in actions, not just words.

5 guaranteed signs of stupidity - a calmer you column

[stextbox id=”info”]Calmness Tips for Impulsive, Impatient and Illogical People [Fool’s Day Column][/stextbox]

Three days back, I saw this man in his 50s who’s been mentally stuck at the ‘angry young man’ era Amitabh Bachchan started in 1970s. His mission in life is to teach an unforgettable lesson to anyone who makes the grave mistake of parking their car on the ‘public space’ outside his house. He has spent money on getting a board painted, complete with the Police logo, which announces ‘Don’t park here. Tyres will be deflated’. So when yesterday a guy who had come to visit someone in the neighbourhood parked his car outside, he spent a fair amount of time deflating all the four tyres of the car. It became such a collective endeavour for the entire family that when he couldn’t easily open the knob to let out the air from one of the tyres, his wife promptly offered her hairpin. A few hours later, the guy who owned the car came back, saw all four tyres deflated, shook his head, took an auto and went back home. He had a flight to catch the next morning. The car with four punctured tyres stays parked right outside the angry old man’s house ever since.

Calmness Tips for Impatient People [stupidity]

image credit

So you see, some people specialise in actions that have a triple III rating — Impulsive, Impatient and Illogical. Let me tell you about five such people. If you see the signs, stop and touch their feet. They are powerful enough to have stalled the nature’s process of mental evolution.

 [stextbox id=”black”]”Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity and I’m not sure about the former.”      -Albert Einstein [/stextbox]

1 Scenario: Outside a doctor’s cabin at rush hour.

Each patient has been given a number, according to which they will be called inside by the doctor. The triple III moron will: Stand right outside the partially opened door and peep inside every two minutes. He believes that either the power of his peeping head will magically cure the patients before him so that his turn comes early, or that the doctor will somehow notice his face and decide to call him inside sooner than his turn. Sadly, none ever happens. The stupids continue to do it.

2 Scenario: There’s huge traffic jam.

The vehicles are stuck and can’t inch forward. The triple III moron will: Start moving forward from the wrong side. Will give a condescending look to the drivers who’ve been waiting patiently in their respective lanes. Will soon realise that traffic also comes from the opposite side. Will curse everyone in sight, won’t be able to turn back, and make the jam worse. Worse still, will start honking to scare away the car which is legitimately coming from the front. Stupid, I told you.

3 Scenario: Public transport — rail, road or air.

The journey is about to come to end, as that is the last stop. The triple III moron will: Get up, tightly clinch his/her bag, and stand 1.5 cm away from the doors, waiting for them to open. I suspect such people believe that they are so desirable that the staff of the bus/train/aircraft will again take off with them on some new, unknown journey, if they don’t get down in the few seconds of it stopping.

4 Scenario: You are somewhere outside, wearing an evidently visible watch.

The triple III moron will: Come closer, point at his/her own wrist and ask you what’s the time. You may not have noticed it but they all do, even when they have asked for the time loud enough for you to hear. I just don’t get this needless usage of sign language in conjunction with verbal. Obviously the watch is on the wrist, where else would it be? Why don’t such people point at their crotch when asking where the toilet is? Just a thought.

5 Scenario: You are busy in a meeting.

Your cell phone rings, and you disconnect since you can’t take the call at that moment. The triple III moron will: Not give up. Will call again, in less than three seconds. You disconnect again, he’ll call again. You will think earthquake has struck some part of the world, take the call and he’ll start with ‘hey, I’ve been trying for a while. So what’s up.’ You feel like killing them. But you don’t. Inability to take the hint is directly proportional to the levels of stupidity. You have to bow before that.

Anyway, I’m pretty sick and tired of stating these obvious things week after week. Sach mein kuchh farq nahi padta. We continue to thrive happily in our ‘hum toh aise hi hain bhaiyya’ philosophy, which is rather charming. But it leaves me with nothing much to grumble about, each week. So, I’ve decided to take a break and this is my last column. It has been a great journey of trying to turn you all into calmer souls. Even though it may not have worked, it was fun. Someday we’ll meet again. Keep a note of today’s date as our last encounter with each other. Kuchh samajh mein aaya?

Sonal Kalra has got triple III certificates printed and framed. That’s her way of honouring the unique talent some people have.

Here’s why I love jealous people

Why are you giving me such strange looks? I’ve never claimed to be normal, have I? You’re offended because you, like all of us, were taught at school that jealousy is a very bad thing. That it breeds hatred and discontent. Despite that, you could never help that feeling of something snapping inside you when your best friend scored more in math or when the prettiest girl in the class accepted his proposal for friendship.

A lot of you who work know that feeling when the boss suddenly turns all against you because a jealous colleague bitched behind your back. Or when your brand new car wakes up with scratches because the friendly neighbour had difficulty digesting that you could afford one. We, my dear people, were born with the J gene. All of us. The only difference being that while most of us manage to accept it as a natural emotion and keep it in check, some others decide to express their unhappiness with, well, your happiness. Today’s column is dedicated to these people. I think they are just fabulous. Here’s why.

Here's why I love jealous people-a-calmer-you-column-ht-city-22-jan-2012

Source:HT City, Hindustantimes.com

[stextbox id=”info”]Why Should You Love Jealous People [Calmness Tips][/stextbox]

1. They reaffirm your success

Someone being jealous of you is the biggest proof that there’s something right, and good, happening in your life. Lakshay, a regular reader of this column, wrote to me last week about a friend of his, “He calls himself my best friend, but it is so obvious that anything good happening to me upsets him. I told him that dad’s getting me an iPhone 4S and suddenly there were these murmurs in the class about what a big show-off I am. I know who started it. How can people be so double-faced?” Hmm … well people are double faced so that you remain confused about which face to slap!! Sorry, that was a bad joke. But, hey Lakshay, don’t forget to thank and love your dad for getting you the iPhone now that you have proof that it’s something worth showing off.

You see, what the jealous people unknowingly do is put a firm stamp on the fact that your life, in some ways, is better than theirs. It could be materialistic, or even emotional. A lot of friends may be jealous of how your boyfriend sends you heart-shaped balloons each week. (Really? Don’t smile, that’s so cheesy. Why are you still with him?). The problem is only when we start paying more attention to their jealousy than to our success. As long as you are not rubbing your happiness in someone else’s face and making them feel small, you have every reason to celebrate and enjoy the fact that life’s treating you nicely. Stop feeling sorry about your success or apologising for your achievements. Say a big thank you in your heart, to everyone who’s jealous of you. You would have felt like such a loser if no one in this world envied you. No?

2. They make you strive harder to hold on to your success

Jealous people are such noble souls. They sometimes deliberately express their displeasure in such mean ways that you take it up as a challenge to hold on to your win. My friend Priya used to be very tense because every time she would get a promotion at her workplace, some colleagues would start rumours about her proximity with the boss. She decided to take it up as a challenge and worked so hard at her performance that the no one could ever question the rise in her career graph. The bitterness sometimes ignites a fire in you to prove and sustain that you were worth feeling jealous of. So, aren’t you eternally thankful to those who made it possible? If it hadn’t been for their envy, you would have easily taken your success for granted, rested on your laurels and fallen off the pedestal while asleep. Thank them, silly, rather than resenting their presence in your life.

3. They help you see the true colours of people

First, go give a big hug to someone you think is jealous of you, and then I’ll tell you why. See, the J-ones mostly take out their frustration by going behind your back and saying mean things to those in your life. It could be your friends in class, colleagues in your office or even relatives in the family circle. Ask Bubbly aunty and she’ll tell you her theory on how all sister-in-laws should be called sinister-in-laws. Haan, coming back to the point, when the J-brand people bitch behind your back, it’s a wonderful opportunity to see who in your circle falls for it and who doesn’t. THAT will tell you who you can trust in your life and who is not worthy of it. If a close friend believes someone who is back-biting you, maybe that close friend shouldn’t be close anymore. Think about it. They were doing you such a big favour and you’ve been feeling low about their actions. Go hug.
After all this unsolicited gyaan, a word for those who are honest enough to admit that they’ve been feeling jealous of someone. Dekho bhai, my great grandmother Erica Jong used to say ‘Jealousy is all the fun you think they had’…arthaat, door ke dhol suhawane. From a distance, someone else’s life looks all rosy, because the thorns are too small to notice. They prick only the one who’s holding them. So, before you go all green with envy and those around you can smell your heart burning, count your own blessings and thank God that you are you, and not someone else. Because you know your own problems and can deal with them. The unknown devils in someone else’s life are far more dangerous. Calm it.

Sonal Kalra wanted to launch a ‘Are you J? Come, here’s a hug for you’ campaign but a friend told her it sounds a bit obscene. Maybe she’s J.

Yes, I admit it. I am a misfit

Raise your left hand if you’ve ever felt like a misfit — in school, college, workplace, social gatherings. Now raise the other hand if you’ve killed yourself (not literally, Einstein!) trying to change yourself because it made you feel inferior. If both your hands are up, GOOD. At least for the next few minutes, this should be your punishment for being so stupidly harsh on yourself.

If you must know, my one hand is raised too, and believe me, it’s not easy to type out this column single-handedly. See, I have nothing against people trying to better themselves. Constant improvisation is what dictates an individual’s growth. But then getting a complex because you don’t look, talk or dress like everyone else in your group is just.not.done. Suna Kya?

a calmer you column calmness tips to overcome inferiority complex
Last week, I got a mail from a 24-year-old engineer from a town near Dehradun. This guy recently moved to Gurgaon to work with a software giant. And within a few weeks, things have come to a stage where in his mail, he asked me for a therapist’s reference because he is depressed. “In corporate world, life can be hell for someone who is from a small town. I am worried all the time that perhaps I don’t come across as being as smart and fluent as others in my team. Even when I know that I can beat the s*** out of everyone when it comes to technical skills, I’m made to feel under-confident. I’m utterly depressed because I don’t speak or look as modern as they do.”
Oh Dehradun wale bhai… depression is not flu that you can catch standing at the bus stop. Therefore, please don’t use heavy-duty medical terms to scare yourself further. What you are going through is a problem that troubles even those who are not from small towns. Can’t you see so many from Delhi, Chandigarh or Lucknow reading this column right now with both their hands up, and trying to fool their family or friends by saying it’s some new yog asan?

[stextbox id=”info”]Calmness Tips to Overcome Inferiority Complex[/stextbox]

Let’s deal with your problem right now.

1. Being the odd one is NOT a crime:

If you’ll remember that one truth, you are likely to sail through life being way happier than others. You may not be as fluent in English as some hoity-toity classmates whose parents raised them by singing English loris every night (uff, lullabies, for those who didn’t get lori. Doob maro!). You may not dress as well as your colleagues who could easily double as beauty pageant contestants after work hours. You may be an introvert who doesn’t like to talk much while others in your group deserve a bandage on the mouth for non stop chitter chatter. You may speak with a regional accent that some mean colleagues try to poke fun at, while forgetting that they started rolling their ‘R’s after they went to US for just three days, that too on company expense.
Seedhi baat?…you could be any of the above and it is still OKAY. Don’t try too hard to transform into someone that
you are not, overnight. Dress sense, language fluency etc are things that anyway change, hopefully for the better, during the various phases of a person’s life. Give yourself time to go through that natural evolution. For those who make fun of you because you don’t belong, I’m typing these words with my middle finger now.

2. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for being different:

Author Carlos Castaneda, in his popular Teachings of Don Juan said, “In every explanation, there is an apology.” So, unless you’ve done something wrong and malicious that causes harm to someone else, how you speak, dress, behave is no one’s business but yours. Offering an explanation would seem like an admission of your shortcomings and would suggest that whoever was making fun of you is right. Be proud of the way you are, people get impressed more by inner confidence than anything superficial.

3. Misfits are necessary:

Imagine how hellishly boring life would be, if all friends in a group dressed, spoke or gelled their hair exactly the same way. Those who are different, add spice to interactions. In fact, a lot of those who history has termed genius, considered themselves misfits in the conventional sense. It worked for them. It’ll work for you. Haan, don’t try to grab attention by intentionally try to act different or cool. People who have the problem of d.a.s.t (desperate attention seeking techniques, you dirty mind!) come across as cheesy and tacky. You are good the way you are.
Okay, hands down now. Tomorrow morning, your arms will hurt so much that you’ll look and behave different than others. Mission accomplished.

The Tension-Not calmness trophy this week to
– Nicky Kulwant, for being one of the most positive people I’ve ever come across in life
– Naveen Arora for a spectacular sense of humour that’s entirely unmatched; and
– Maninder Singh for a rare combination of extremely sensible thinking and superb technical expertise.
Calmness to all of you…

Sonal Kalra wants to eradicate the disease of inferiority-complex from this world. But she thinks she’s not intelligent enough. How depressing.

Do you know who my dad is?

You think I’m being sarcastic? Tsk tsk… I have such bad reputation in your eyes. I’m serious. I will start a campaign in aid of all those who suffer from mysterious bouts of amnesia and have to ask who they are or who their dad is, especially if their car bumps into someone else’s. I saw such a person outside a shopping mall this weekend. He was reversing, someone else was progressing (I know it’s wrong English, just sounded funny, thanks). His car brushed the other’s bumper, very slightly, in a peck-on-cheek-of-a socialite-at-a-page3-party way. I wouldn’t have even noticed had I been in that car because, you know, God blesses some with stereos which have a physical disability and you can’t reduce the volume.

calmness tips to avoid fights road rage feelings of insecurity

Anyway, that ‘gentle’man noticed and how. He got down. Inspected the rear of his car by bending at various undescribable angles. And then. SHOUTED. Shouted so loud that even the birds mating on the nearby electricity wires decided to get a room. “Oh teri…(inappropriate).” “What the…(inappropriate)”, is how it began and went up to a stage where every word would have to be beeped out, hence not reproducing here. The guy in the other car also got down. He was trying to explain, very unsuccessfully, while this one had started hyperventilating, pointing to the almost non-existent dent on his car.
Waiting for my own car to arrive, I, along with all other typical delhiites present, were watching the scene with keen interest. Am sure some had even thought of ordering popcorn and pepsi. I was thinking what a crude man… all those abuses for a small dent on the bumper? And then he said it. Loud and clear. “Do you know who I am?” He then turned around menacingly towards the mall parking attendant. “Oh, do you know who my dad is?”
Suddenly I felt this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. We were cursing this poor man, judging him merely because of his colourful language. When he had suffered a loss of memory because of the accident. You tell me, who deserves sympathy … the guy who can’t even explain why he decided to let his car greet the other’s so physically, or this poor man who has, because of an obvious shock due to the dent on the bumper, lost all memory of his identity and was left asking strangers. I asked a fellow by-stander to help him and take him to a doctor but he gave me a weird look. Lots of people do that these days.

[stextbox id=”info”]Calmness Tips to Avoid Road Rage, Fights and Feelings of Insecurity[/stextbox]

Anyway, here are my three tips of dealing with such forgetful creatures as the man in the parking lot that day.

1 Remember that the louder a person shouts in an argument, the more insecure he is from inside:

Aur kya. If you have to depend on volume to make a point, there must be something wrong with the point nah? Don’t get intimidated by raised voices. If someone, specially in a road rage episode, suddenly becomes loud and abusive, look him in the eye and say ‘let’s sort this out when you bring your voice down.’ And go stand in a corner. Haan, it’s another thing that in places like Delhi, he may just pounce on you for saying that, but take your chances.

2 Remember that saying sorry can prevent a lot of regrettable drama:

It is hard to keep screaming at a person who is apologising profusely. Isn’t it? In traffic situations where vehicles are being driven bumper to bumper, it is highly probable that cars or two-wheelers touch each other. Sometimes just a wave of hand from inside your car, acknowledging and regretting it, can save a lot of needless shouting and screaming later. Don’t let ego come in the way, even if it wasn’t your mistake. Think of all the time you’ll waste if a monster decides to descend from the other car and vent all his life’s frustration there and then.

3 Remember that in most cases where the person is shouting ‘contacts’, it works to call the bluff:

“I will make one call and then you’ll feel sorry,” is a sentence we often hear. Ask him/her to go on and make the call. Meanwhile, you also furiously start keying in random numbers on your cell phone. Dial your dry cleaner if you wish, but it is the expression that matters. Even if that guy happens to be a relative of the Prime Minister, it’ll be tough for him to get undue support. Bhai, Anna Hazare ka zamaana hai… even those in power are scared of using their influence unethically. And most importantly, remember that if you are right, you will have the conviction to face anyone, anyway. Don’t think too much before calling the cops if it starts to get bad. We have a false notion that involving cops would mean dragging the matter. Their presence may just help to keep things under control, and believe me, they too prefer to settle a matter amicably than filing reports as it adds to their own lawlessness statistics. And no, they wont ask you for bribe. It’s wrong to generalise, and paint all cops with the same brush. Keep an Anna cap in the car anyway.
It helps.
The Tension-Not calmness award this week to
– Tanveer Nishat, for being the first person to read and give wonderful feedback on this column every week, even sitting far away in the middle-east.
– Supavitra Sachdeva who, incase there is an award for the most mischievous reader in Chandigarh, will win hands down, along with his partner-in-crime Aseem Aggarwal; and
– Aman Budhiraja, who, at a very young age, displays excellent wit and sense of humour on this column’s facebook page, day after day. Long live calmness!!

Sonal Kalra wonders what happened to the guy in the mall who forgot who he was. Hope he reached home safely. Would you pray for him?

C’mon,out with it now, A calmer you

Arrey,why are you getting worked up? I know he has bigger, better causes to fight for, but trust me, this problem is lethal. Log munh bana lete hainaur batate nahi kya problem hai. Now tell me, is it any less stressful to cope with such stress-gifters? I normally don’t repeat a topic that’s already been discussed in this column but making an exception this time and taking up something I wrote about last year as well… because I continue to get mails from so many of you who are troubled on account of sulking, or the tendency of a person to withdraw and stay aloof.

a calmer you column calmness tips for sulkers

It could be one of your friends or family members whose face and behaviour tells you that they are bothered about something but they won’t share. It could also be you who sulks often, and you don’t feel like opening up with anyone because you feel they won’t understand. Either way it causes tremendous stress.

[stextbox id=”info”]Calmness Tips for Sulkers (Avoid Sad and Depression Feelings)[/stextbox]

So, Anna Hazare or not, let us start our own campaign that of eradicating sulking from our country by 2050. Let us, please?

1. Remember, if you won’t tell, we’ll keep repeating:

If you suffer from this disorder (please lemme call it that, how can making a long face and not sharing your problem be normal?), the biggest disadvantage is that those who have done or said something to upset you won’t even know, and will continue to repeat the offence, knowingly or mostly, unintentionally. When in college, there was this guy, Sarfaraz Ahmed, who friends used to tease by calling Naraaz Ahmed. Because he would always be quiet and sulking. In order not to distress him with extra work when he was feeling low, classmates didn’t involve him much in presentations and activities. One day much later into the session, he confessed to a friend that he hated talking to anyone because he felt left-out. He thought that the city kids didn’t want to be friend a small town boy. It came as such a rude shock to us. If only he had said so earlier, we wouldn’t have got into this vicious circle and kept repeating what was, in fact, bothering him.

 [stextbox id=”alert”]When things didn’t go as your plan or back-up plan, don’t sulk. Make new plans! The sun doesn’t stop shining just because of dark clouds. – Author Unknown[/stextbox]

The same holds true, later in life, for sulking partners or spouses. If you won’t tell your girlfriend that something as silly as her wearing a certain dress upsets you because its too short (whether right or wrong is another highly debatable subject), she’ll happily continue to do it, while still fretting about why you don’t seem your usual self.
Then one day during some fight, you’ll end up saying nasty things that’ll hurt her forever. Just.Not.Fair. If you don’t like something, say it upfront. Then figure out how to deal with it.

2. We will ask only twice:

Dekho yaar, we want sulkers of the world to get one thing straight. If you seem upset, we will ask – once, twice. But if you’ll keep replying, ‘I’m fine. Nothing’s wrong’, we will take your word for it. And won’t keep asking again and again. Don’t you then turn around and cry, ‘no one cares for me’. Because we do, and we asked, but you chose to play the ‘all’s well’ false-card. So, deal with it.

3. It never hurts to speak up:

This one’s for those who prefer to go into a shell when something bothers them. See, the thing is, life’s already pretty short and we all know it.

I don’t think you should risk shortening it further by torturing your poor heart with all the mundane matters of life. Let it do its own work, pumping blood is no mean task. Every doctor in the world will tell you that not giving an outlet to your worries and tensions will make you mentally… and physically unwell. Problems are there in everyone’s life. If you think Mukesh Ambani or Shah Rukh Khan have a peaceful sleep every night, you, my dear, are a sweet innocent idiot.
(It’s another thing that if everyone has problems, I’d anyday prefer to cry sitting in Shah Rukh’s Rolls Royce than on an autorickshaw, but let’s not deviate from the subject).
I’m not saying become a crib machine and keep venting in front of everyone you meet, but surely you have someone in your life who won’t mind lending an ear. If you have money to spare, there are some who will charge for it and do it happily (you can mail me for my number, thanks).
If not even that, there are bartenders, barbers, maids who have no choice but to listen to your woes. Get it out of your system. Now. Don’t wait to share your troubles with the nurse at the hospital. She’ll give you a sleeping injection mid-way. Mind it.

Sonal Kalra is writing to the PM for an anti-sulking bill. All those good souls who will sign the petition,

 [stextbox id=”alert”]Being sad and sulking will get you no where, go out and do something about that shit forget that her because she doesn’t care, so why should you. Author Unknown[/stextbox]