Tag Archives: Stupidity and Idiotic

A Calmer You: Are you a stupid questions expert?

Next time someone asks me an obvious question, I may give a weird answer. Ask at your own risk. I have a theory. To explain stupidity. I don’t think it’s scientifically possible that we are born with an in-built idiotic gene, so it has to be something we acquire. And yesterday, I realized why it’s not tough at all to acquire it. In fact we are fully conditioned, and groomed since childhood to accept and reciprocate stupidity. We are surrounded by people who excel in the art, so we don’t even realize when we start emulating them. At least I do. Here’s an example.


Recently, at a relative’s wedding, I met a whole lot of, well, relatives. A whole lot because as I had mentioned earlier, my grandparents really loved each other. And if yours too were as affectionate as mine, I’m sure you also have several chachas, mausis and buas. Anyway, its great fun to meet the extended family but this time I noticed what exactly we say when we meet. And mind you, this is typical of most families and I’m taking mine, who I love unconditionally, only as an example (mom, please don’t kill me). As soon as I entered, three aunts asked, “Aa gayi?” (have you come?) Without even questioning the relevance of such a question, when they could see every inch of my it’s-big-you-can’t-miss-it frame with their eyes, I replied ‘yes’… to all three of them (conditioning, you see).

When it was time to leave, suddenly a flurry of ‘achha jis’ started. Everyone was saying achha ji or ‘okay then’ to every one else, but still not leaving. I counted 248 achha jis and then gave it up. I’m still trying to figure out how this phrase is relevant when you are leaving a gathering. Nonetheless I said 17 ‘achha jis’ of my own!

Whether you belong to such a loving Punjabi family or are from any other part of the country, am sure you’d have an equivalent of this trait in your culture. Asking harmless questions but that are painfully obvious and saying things that may not mean anything. You come out of the washroom wearing a towel with dripping hair and someone says, “Naha liya?” (have you taken a bath?) Are you ever tempted to say, “Of course not, this was just a demo. I came outside to take a stroll. I’ve been told it kills germs”. I’m sure you haven’t because we don’t even realise we are being asked an obvious question. Because even as children, we are not conditioned to accept and not question the obvious, inane statements. When we teach a child to ask “How are you?,” we simultaneously also teach him that the answer has to be “Fine, thank you.” And he goes through life giving the same answer, no matter whether he’s actually feeling fine at that moment or not. And this, when the person who has asked mostly doesn’t even wait for, or care about the answer.

[stextbox id=”black”]My best attribute is knowing when not to answer stupid questions.
-Gina Gershon[/stextbox]

Just for fun, next time someone asks me ‘How are you?’ and moves on without listening to my answer, I may physically stop him and tell him how am I actually doing, including the current state of my dental and mental health. In fact, just for fun, I will change my usual answers to the following OHS (Obvious, hence stupid) questions, in the hope that someday people would stop throwing them my way, or yours. Will you?

1. You enter a restaurant and the manager asks:
“Would you like a table?” Answer: Not at all. We love eating on the floor. A carpet for three please!

2. A guest who is visiting your home for dinner asks,
“Is there a toilet in here?” Answer: Sorry, no. We belong to a tribe that follows a ritual to relieve ourselves at the railway track sharp at 3am. Next time you travel by Swarna Shatabdi express, don’t forget to wave hi from the window.

3. You happen to be the serving staff in a restaurant and the guest asks, “Is this dish good?” Answer: No way, sir. I would kill myself before eating it. We sprinkle it with phenyl and sometimes also spit in it.

4. You come out of the salon with visibly short, cropped hair and a friend asks, “Did you get a haircut?” Answer: Wish I had. I’m just shedding. It’s autumn, you see.
5. You reach the check-out counter of a department store carrying piles of groceries and the clerk asks,
“Would you like to pay for them?” Answer: Oh no. These I’m going to steal. But, I stood in the queue just to ask you why you look familiar.

6. Someone stamps on your foot in a crowded place and asks, “Did I hurt you?”
Answer: You can’t. I’m on local anesthesia. Try it sometimes, it’s pretty cool.

7. A friend calls you on your landline after a party and asks, “Have you reached home ?” Answer: No, I was murdered on the way. This is my spirit answering an auto-forwarded call. Well, now that I’ve vented, here’s a piece of sane advice. Don’t try this at home. Only professional weirdos like me can pull this off, that too under the guidance of mental health experts. Okay then. Have you read the column? Achha ji.

Sonal Kalra tried filing this write-up through email and got an error with the message “Sending failed. Do you wish to retry?” Well, OBVIOUSLY. I was sending it for a reason.

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17 one-tight-slap phrases to avoid

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Among all the theories of evolution, my favourite is that man (and of course woman!) kind is moving at a lightening pace towards absurdity. Oh, you don’t think there is any such theory? Dammit. Okay fine, it’s my own, and maybe because I’m clearly leading the pack that’s moving towards untouched heights of weirdness. The other day I sat and analysed some of the phrases and slangs I often use in my daily communication. A lot of us do. Then I went on the net and realised that they are the pet peeves of grammar Nazis across the world. But people continue to happily use them. Shall I tell you something my dear buoys? We are totally mental. Because it struck me that some of the most common expressions we throw in so randomly into our day-to-day language, don’t mean anything at all. Some are downright dumb.


Starting today, I’ve decided to cleanse myself of verbal nonsense. My dedication to the cause is such that I’ve spent quite a while compiling the following OTS (One-tight-slap)  phrases … and how I, or some of those who’ve written about these on the Net react to them. Slap me if you find me dishing out these from now on …. only after you allow me to do the same with you.

[stextbox id=”info”]Most Silly yet Commonly Used Phrases To Avoid[/stextbox]

1 What’s up?:

Ha! All ‘cool’ dudes greeting everyone by saying ‘Whassup’, please come here. Tell me what the hell you want the other person to answer. What could possibly be up? The ceiling? The sky? Vaise, tell me one thing. Am I a pervert or does this question sound a bit obscene to anyone else too?

2 How do you do?:

I have the same problem with this one too. How do I do what? For God’s sake, this doesn’t even seem like a grammatically complete or correct sentence. And yeah, obscene, again. Oh lord!

3 To be honest:

I use this one a lot. Well, not anymore. If you say ‘to be honest’ before saying something, are you suggesting that you are normally dishonest in other things you say?

4 You know what I mean:

Yes, I do Einstein. But that won’t keep you from saying it anyway, will it?

5 It is what it is:

 Wah, wah. Yeh hui nah intelligent baat. It is=It is. You are a mathematician, Sir. Respect.

6 I thought to myself:

Hmm … could you have thought to ‘someone else’? Would you like the lead role in the next Ramsay Brothers’ film if you have those kind of powers? Consider, please.

7 I’m afraid I can’t:

 Bachche, it’s okay if you can’t. What are you afraid of? Koi maarega kya?

8 Are you coming, or what?:

What, what, what? What was the need to add ‘or what’ here? Are you crazy or what?

9 What’s done is done:

Are you the same guy who says ‘It is what it is’? You better be, I don’t want to kill two people.

10 You can’t have your cake and eat it too:

Well, this is supposed to be a famous saying. My foot. If it’s my cake, of course I’ll eat it. What else am I supposed to do with it? Try stopping me.

11 I’m only human:

Achha ji? And what are others, vermins who’ve come attached to humans as free gifts?

12 This is my only choice:

Dimaag theek hai? The definition of choice is to have an alternative. If you have none, say ‘I have no choice’. There’s nothing like only choice.

13 Take care of your personal belongings:

As opposed to what … my impersonal belongings? Oh, you mean something I stole from the fellow passenger? Don’t worry, I consider it very personal now.

14 Bring to the table:

This rubbish gets said a lot in corporate meetings. Trust me, I can swear on Chaddha ji’s head that nothing ever gets brought to the table. Not even coffee. Also, when they say ‘he’s on board’… nobody is. I’ve checked very carefully.

15 Barking up the wrong tree:

Believe me, barking up the right tree gets no different result. Total. Unadulterated. Nonsense.

16 First things first:

Please, it hurts to even joke about this one. Have you heard of a word called ‘Obviously’?

17 I saw it with ‘my own’ eyes:

Oh shit.

Sonal Kalra bought a self-help book to clear her mind of these weird thoughts. But is it really self-help if a book written by someone else is helping her? Do we live in a crazy world?

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.