Tag Archives: Irritating

A calmer you: how to irritate irritating people

Disclaimer: Some of you would write hate mail to me after this one. At least the boring ones out of you will. And you’ll give me gyan on how we are not supposed to respond in the same coin if someone behaves badly. And actually you won’t be wrong in saying that. We’ve all grown up on moral science lessons about patiently waiting for bad to turn good someday. But aisa hai, while that logic may be right when it comes to serious stuff in life, it’s the minor day-to-day irritants that allow us the unmatchable fun of being able to get even. I’m gonna talk about a few such irritants today. Since some of you have rightly guessed that I stay perpetually annoyed with most things, I decided to not use my biased judgment on these rants. I simply asked some of my friends to take a poll on some highly irritating ‘body-language’ habits people exhibit in public. The top three turned out to be unmentionable here, considering this is a saaf-suthra family newspaper. If, at this point, you mockingly turn to the back page with a raised eyebrow, I will be forced to remind you about that page’s crucial contribution in re-assuring you time and again that you can indeed have a family. Coming back to the point, here are four annoying kinds of people that irritate the hell out of those around them. Let’s give it back this time…

calmness-tips-irritating-people-sonal-kalra

1. Stare-stalkers: These people can almost make a living out of staring at others, in public. Just like that. Maybe because God gave them eyes. Maybe because he forgot to add that those eyes need not be fixed on people’s faces. Be it at a bus-stop or in a crowded metro, five minutes won’t pass before you spot a bonafide member of the stare-stalker community. You usually look away and keep feeling agitated within. Next time it happens, don’t punish your own blood pressure. Widen your eyes, raise your eyebrows and stare back, without blinking. Till everyone’s attention is on the one staring. Your eyes may water, you may feel weird but do.not.blink.
Remind yourself that you owe it to the society to scare or embarrass a stare-stalker out of work forever. If he/she doesn’t back off at this, try blinking your eyes rapidly, looking straight at them. That usually does it, as long as you know the difference between blinking and winking. Warning: Those who wear contact lenses, please don’t try this or you’ll curse me. Also, not recommended if the other person looks very shady, as he may just consider your action to be an invite of sorts. For clarity, refer to the Shakti Kapoor or Gulshan Grover look in your head. Sometimes, having fun at the expense of the annoyance also happens to do the trick. Once I saw a girl in the metro, who seemed fairly irritated by the constant staring of a middle-aged man. She suddenly decided to take him on, and while everyone expected a show-down, she suddenly covered her face with her hands, then lowered them slowly to reveal her face to the starer, and said peek-a-boo. I can’t describe the look on that man’s face as he hastily retreated.
2. Leg shakers: These kind of people may or may not know how to dance, but one of their legs surely does. Maybe because of constant practice. No matter whether they are in public transport or in a business meeting, they don’t stop shaking their leg, even if it means sending earthquake like vibrations to those sitting next to them.
Medical science has a name for the condition — the restless leg syndrome — and attributes it to some pent-up nervous energy or simply an adolescent habit that stuck forever. Once a guy came over to my office for a meeting. The fact that he sat flat on his back in such a manner that his legs would have reached Bihar is still forgivable, but then he started shaking one of them while talking about some really serious work-related matter. Maybe this was a unique test by God to see if I can hold forth my concentration while the furniture around me gets a mini epileptic seizure. I failed miserably. And ended up asking him if he needed something…err…like a flower pot to put on his leg so that it could stop moving. He didn’t find it funny but that bothers me less than how much the shaking leg would be bothering everyone around him everyday. Tell them to stop and take a walk to utilise the energy. If the dancing leg belongs to a colleague or classmate who you have to sit next to everyday, consider slapping the leg into senses. As an ultimate resort, get up and hug the leg, begging it to stop. Warning: Please do this action discreetly or you could end up looking like a dog in heat if their leg continues to shake.
3. The knuckle-crackers: You know this annoyance normally goes un-discussed but a lot of my friends mentioned it as the thing that bugs the hell out of them. When people suddenly start cracking the knuckles of their fingers one by one, making that weird ‘pop’ noise each time. Why, some people even crack their neck or back when they get up after staying in a position for long. Great indulgence if you are alone, but OMG, it’s the most Godawful noise, and sight, for the person sitting next to you. If someone does that around you any longer, take out a notebook and pen and tell them you are ready to keep a record of how many of their 206 or more joints have popped so far. Tell them that you love the sound and won’t rest in peace till you get them an award for having an entire orchestra inside their body. It’ll work.
4. The nose-pickers: Do I need to elaborate on this one? Really? Keep a torch handy. The moment they start digging for the treasure, volunteer to help them look for it. Tell them you are willing to even try taking it out for them if they agree to give you 50%. Sorry, that was gross. But needed.
Sonal Kalra plans to write a book on how utterly boring life would be if everyone behaved with good manners.

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Do these sounds drive you crazy?

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Did you know that just like Facebook, there is a huge worldwide community, bigger than most countries, of annoying people? I’m serious. I’ve seen them in action. In fact sometimes I feel I even belong, but that’s a deeply personal sentiment and out of bounds for this discussion.

Do these sounds drive you crazy-calmer-you

Anyway, a common thread of bizarre stupidity binds people of this community, which transcends geographical boundaries, borders, religions and culture. Their primary, sometimes only, purpose of existence is to drive others crazy, through the use of innovative, unusual means. They mostly achieve their aim.

Last week, I bumped into Chaddhaji who’s well qualified to be the regional head of this community. Now, in a cruel joke played by destiny, he happens to be a neighbour and I’ve known him for as long as I’ve known the definition of idiocy. So, I was already prepared for some extraordinarily boring talk. But, this time he had a strange weapon to torture. Something I wasn’t prepared for. Sound. Yes, you got it.
He had developed the art of interspersing an utterly meaningless conversation with the strangest of grunting sounds. And, he made this weird sound after every second sentence. Worse than what Maria Sharapova makes when her life depends on the third set.

A deep guttural sound that would distract you from all things logical and make you want to end lives, your own, or that of the perpetrator. I was very alarmed and asked Chaddhaji if he was unwell, secretly hoping that he’ll attribute this to the starting symptoms of a throat disorder whose only cure is to move to the hills. But he said he was fine.

Well, I wasn’t, and neither were people in the distance of two kilometres. I came back, did some research with a close friend, Google, and lo, he knew before I did that out of all the annoying things in the world, sound comes right at the top. True to my tendency of writing the most meaningful and earth-shatteringly eye opening stuff in this column each week, I decided to put together a list of the most annoying sounds ever.

And no, I’m not including the usual mosquito buzzing in the ear or nails being scratched on the blackboard variety of irritating sounds, here. I’m mentioning the new-age irritants that can cause ear-drums, and brain cells to shatter with simultaneous precision.

1. Car alarms: A few years back, some genius invented the auto-locking, burglar alarm for our precious-than-life cars. We were so impressed that now we could central lock our cars just by bending 178 degrees north from our balcony and pressing a single button.

Just imagine, not long ago was the time when daddies shouted at mummies and the chunnu munnus after every ride and asked them, ‘tune apna door lock kiya?’ No more hassles. Then some genius decided to add ‘features’ to this invention. Soon we had alarms to go off not only when the doors remained unlocked or if someone tried to open them with a key, but also while reversing the car and even when the naughtiest kid in the mohalla decided to perch on the bonnet and strike a pose.

And as if this wasn’t enough, some genius then decided to provide ‘variety’ to the sounds made by these alarms. So now you have a police siren, a musical siren, and the worst — that shrill, non-stop peun peun peun sound that goes off suddenly, mostly without provocation, and refuses to stop till the proud owner rushes out of the shower or wherever else he is, bends at 178 degrees north and presses the remote.

In most cases, the alarm of another nearby car goes off exactly three minutes after this. Conspiracy, you see. And you know what, some buffoons have a reversing alarm that actually speaks. “This car is reversing. Please stay away.” I so want to shout out, “This driver deserves a slap. Please ask him to come out.” Ugh.

2. Whining kid: Dekho yaar, I adore kids. Sometimes even other than mine. And I mostly love all kinds of sounds kids make. So, don’t take me wrong and get all emotional here. It’s not me but science that says that out of all the annoying sounds in the world, that of a whining kid is the worst.

Hell to science. I did not believe it one bit, till a few months back when I travelled to the US. In the seat two rows ahead of mine, was a child who I complimented and called ‘cute’ when we boarded the 23-hour flight. Exactly after One hour 23 minutes, I begged the airhostess to open the emergency exit so that I could end my life for paying that compliment. Because that cute creation of God decided to open his mouth, look out of the window and uttered the weirdest sound that resembled ‘Maaaaamy’ but was not because mommy was right next to him. 267 times. Non-stop. No amount of ear-plugging helped. Mouth plugging, I was told, would be termed a criminal offence.

3. Nothing. Can’t you see? There’s no space left. Are you related to Chaddha ji or what?

Sonal Kalra should stop writing this column. Because she’s started churning out anti-calmness rants.
What do you think?

C’mon, stand up for yourself

Last week, I got a rather disturbing mail from a 14-year-old who was very stressed out. Since she wouldn’t like me revealing her real name, let’s just call her Ria. I’ve chosen to write an open letter to her only because her problem is one that plagues all of us at some point in our lives.

Here’s what she wrote. “I study in tenth standard. There’s this girl in my class who loathes me, without a reason. She has such hatred for me that she not only instigates others against me, but has also taken to spreading vulgar rumours about my personal life, including that of my parents. I’m very conscious of my reputation and this hurts me no end.

C’mon, stand up for yourself - a calmer you

Those who don’t know me well have started to believe all the lies she tells them. My patience is running out. I have spent half of my summer vacation crying alone in my room, and I’m even crying in front of my laptop as I write this to you. I feel helpless!!” Ok, well. Ria, wipe the tears please. Shedding them because you have a social rat in your life would be quite a wasteful exercise.

I’m sad at reading your mail but my disappointment is largely on account of you having to experience this while you are so young. Because as you grow, you’ll realise that it’s almost impossible to not encounter such pests at some point in your life, professional or personal. Very few of us can claim that they’ve never encountered a rumour monger in life and that’s probably because they’ve been busy being one. Every now and then, a person — classmate or colleague, neighbour or relative — enters our life with a mission to turn it miserable.

Their arsenal has the obvious weapons — vicious rumours, backbiting and mockery. Today, I’m trying to give you an arsenal of your own. Because, you know, it’s rather silly to counter an armed adversary with just tears. Let’s start with a smile, because nothing irritates your opponent like seeing you happy. And, then let’s adopt a strategy, which I call ‘T-ICK’, maybe because of the social rat analogy. T-ICK stands for ‘To choose — Ignore, Confront or Kick’. = 1Ignore: I know you are already shaking your head at the very mention of this option.

Because to most of us, the thought of ignoring an attack comes with the feeling of being weak. But, let me tell you, there are few weapons as potent as being able to ignore the one who’s out to get you. The trick is to dissociate ignoring a scumbag from the thought of being a coward.

And to remember that you are ‘choosing’ to ignore someone’s viciousness only for your peace of mind, and not because you can’t do anything about it. Years ago, a colleague who I had gotten into a professional spat with, went on a spree of passing bitter feedback and remarks on anything I did at work. My initial response was to counter all that he said by aggressively defending myself in an email exchange.

Soon, I realised that not only was this endless ping-pong of accusations feeding his negativity but also zapping me of my happiness. That moment, I could choose between reacting at every provocation and getting a faux sense of courage or ignoring it and gaining precious peace of mind. I chose the latter and haven’t regretted it.

Remember, a vicious person feeds on the victim’s response. Don’t give any, and you’ll starve him. 2Confront: This may seem like a contradiction to the above advice but it isn’t. Because rather than confronting the rumour monger, I’m asking you to confront the rumour instead. Don’t shy away from what’s being said about you, address it directly, especially when it’s untrue. When you acknowledge a rumour, you take the momentum out of it. A friend of mine who was sick of a classmate, Naman, spreading false rumours about him being homosexual, once turned up for class wearing a self-painted t-shirt that said, “No, I’m not gay. But even if I was, it wouldn’t be your business.” Without uttering a word, he ended up embarrassing the perpetrator and zapped the fun out of the rumour. It’s another thing that

I had suggested him to wear one that said, “Sorry, Naman, I’m not gay. Now you’ll have to hit on someone else.” I’m sometimes glad that not everyone takes my advice. 3Kick: Oh, this one’s my favourite, for obvious reasons. But just so I don’t get hate mail from your mom, let me clarify that this option should be turned to, only as the last resort. And that this does NOT mean you literally kick someone. Sadly. Anyhow, this implies getting even, but without stooping down to below-the-belt tactics. Take them head on and broadcast the rumour yourself, giving them credit for it, in public. You could also consider lodging a formal complaint with someone in authority or even reaching out to their friends or family and explaining what they are doing. But the best is to irritate the life out of them. Laugh whenever you see them. Uncontrollably. Loudly. Don’t give a reason, if they ask what’s funny. If they come down to hurling insults, utter this one magic sentence — ‘Why, no. Are/have/do you?’. Apply this in any situation and it’ll work. Sample this: “You crazy loser. Have you lost it?’ Why, no. Have you? ‘You sleep with every boyfriend on the first date.’ Why, no. Do you? Remember, continue to laugh, and look them in the eye when you say it. It works, try it. And hey, no crying again, okay?

Sonal Kalra once tried spreading a rumour about herself. She was told later that it has another name – showing off.

Do they irritate you too?

You know what, I’ve realised one thing. I may someday end up writing Pulitzer worthy stuff (ha!) but all that you guys would ever want from me is mindless rants like this one. Isn’t it? I’ve tried taking up seriously meaningful topics in this column, and yes, a lot of you do write back. But on occasions when I simply vent out against the walking pests around us, a floodgate of feedback opens. So, in the interest of the print equivalent of the TRPs, i.e very much on popular demand and not to ever concede that I may have run out of topics, here’s yet another list of people who bug the life out of me. For once, I’ve done serious research on the Internet to come up with these, so please don’t take it lightly. I also intend to add to this list every other week, and you are most welcome to add your pet peeves. Together we’ll make the happy whiners club. Here you go.

irritating behaviour

I can NOT stand….

1. People who, after waiting in the long queue at the checkout counter in a store, put their hands in their pockets to dig out the wallet only when their turn comes, AND who then proceed to make the life altering decision of whether to pay cash or credit. You want to know worse? Some of them, even at that point, turn around to their Pappus and say, “Mummy se poochho kuchh aur toh nahi lena?” If I’m the one waiting in agony after them in the queue, I’m sorely tempted to tell the child to consider me ‘mummy’ for this purpose but desist only to avoid catastrophic repercussions.

2. People who decide to come and sit next to you in a public transport even when there are other seats available. It’s like saying, ‘hi, I’m doing my Phd in stalking and creeping others out. Would you help me in my thesis?’ Like hell I will.

3. Couples who sit on the same side of the table even when there is no one on the other side. Awww, that is so sweet, no? Hand in hand, neck cricked at an angle that will hurt for the rest of the week. I salute your dedication towards love. Now, get a room, will you?

4. People who prolong an extraordinarily boring lecture by posing the most inane questions to the speaker. Sometimes, I feel such people are out to take revenge on humankind a la ‘Let’s torture people by showing off my intelligence.’ But hey, wasn’t the lecture torture enough?

5. People who pick up 20 paper napkins when they need just one, and then throw them all away. They either have an exaggerated idea of how un-clean their hands or mouth are, or simply do not care for the wastage just because they’re free. Sucks, either way.

6. People who are mean to animals. This may be a personal thing but I abhor people who ill-treat animals . If you want to act like a kid teasing a helpless animal through the fence, I would like to see you behind that fence. Game?

7. People who drive up the wrong side and worsen a traffic jam. Tell me, what percentage of brain is required to know that you can’t be blocking the path of the vehicles coming from the opposite side? 1.2%?

Nah, that’s too much to have. By the way, these are the same people who are stuck at the mental age of 12 and who zig zag in and out of lanes on the expressway, much like in a video game. Can the authorities please have a maturity test along with the usual one to see if they can handle brake and clutch while granting driving license?

8. People who toss trash towards the garbage bins, much like basketball stars. And leave it on the ground when they miss. Honorary morons.

9. People, as in scientists, who may have invented 10 different ways to land up on the moon but can’t give us a single remote for our television viewing. While we juggle between the ones for the TV, the DVD player and the set-top-box, the important news is over. Khair, humein vaise kaunsa samajh aani thi.

10. People who, in a crowded restaurant, bring their 27-member family to stand on the head of the hapless diner who is enjoying the last bits of his meal, and say, “aa jao, aa jao…yeh waali table khaali hone waali hai.” Tip: Order a coffee if someone does that to you. And take your time to remember each of your growing up years, after every sip. Five years onwards.

11. People who are compulsive ‘high-fivers’ and torture their friends by raising their hand to high five even if their joke would have won the Nobel for being the lamest. Sometimes you have to keep your coffee mug away, move your lazy frame several feet forward and bend at most awkward angles to high-five them. You might as well high-five with their cheek.

12. People who use the phrase ‘I’m 110% sure’. Of course you are. Because failing in mathematics is no guarantee for not being sure in life. I’m also 139% sure of the dead brain cells you continue to nurture. Let’s find a 100% cure for them… for you.

I could go on and on. Such lists are endless, but will only go on to reaffirm that I have nothing better to do. And that’s not true. I am, in fact, working on a super important research project to find out why some people occupy the arm-rests on both sides of their seat in a cinema hall. I shall not rest till I find out what percentage of that territory actually belongs to them. Pray for me.

Sonal Kalra is 110% sure this is one of the most nonsense articles she ever wrote. But, it still made you smile, right? C’mon, give a high-five.