Huffington Post: Socially Awkward? Here Are 5 Ways To Fake It Till You Make It

I am socially awkward. I feel uncomfortable addressing a large group of people and get extremely nervous when I have to attend a social gathering. I despise being the centre of attention. Yet, strangely, I have been in such situations quite often and usually managed to conduct myself without others picking up on my anxiety.

How?

I have learnt to camouflage social awkwardness by putting up a confident face, which in turn does give me some real confidence too. Over a period of time, I have also trained myself to overcome anxiety attacks by using these five simple techniques.

1. I pay very close attention to any conversation I’m in

One of the biggest problems with people who are socially awkward, including me, is that we so desperately wish for a conversation to end that we zone out of it even before it begins. Therefore, we either end up not responding when prompted to speak or saying something which is absolutely irrelevant to the conversation. To avoid getting into either of these situations, I make a conscious attempt to be attentive. I keep my focus intact throughout the conversation, give myself time to comprehend what the other person is saying, and speak only when I have framed a complete and coherent response in my mind.

2. I try to control my emotions in the first few minutes of a conversation

I try to take control of my emotions in the first few minutes of a conversation. I tell myself that I am nervous for no real reason; therefore, all I need to do is to calm down. If I manage to calm myself down in those few minutes, I fare pretty well for rest of the conversation.

I have accepted that some goof-ups are bound to happen…I tell myself it’s not the goof-up but my behaviour after the goof-up that makes a situation awkward.

3. I practice speaking beforehand

I used to panic when I had to introduce myself to a large group of people or an audience. I’d fumble, I’d forget important points. I decided to rehearse the way I wanted to introduce myself to overcome this problem. It took 10 dummy runs–15 minutes for 10 consecutive days–to get it absolutely the way I wanted. Even now, I often think of situations that might make me nervous. I play out that situation in my head. I practice what I could say in that situation loud and clear until I sound perfect. It’s tiring but it definitely helps!

4. I’ve learned how to say “I don’t know”

I was once standing in a queue to board a metro train in Delhi when a stranger asked me whether the train in question would pass through a particular station. I knew the answer, but I froze due to nervousness. To overcome this sudden bout of awkwardness, I rudely told that person to check the metro route. I repented my behaviour later. However, I learnt a very important lesson from this episode. I learnt that in situations when my thought process is overshadowed by nervousness, I should restrict myself to saying a polite “I don’t know” instead of making a rude, abrupt or awkward statement.

5. I try to chill out a bit

I have accepted that some goof-ups are bound to happen. I try to not get too affected. I recently yawned while bidding goodbye to a colleague. I quickly smiled and apologized. I try to consciously avoid panicking and making a situation awkward. I tell myself it’s not the goof-up but my behaviour after the goof-up that makes a situation awkward.

Overcoming social awkwardness is not very easy. However, with constant effort, it is absolutely possible to camouflage it to a great extent. The key, I believe, is to put up a brave face and deal with the situation at hand with utmost confidence. I do it every day. I believe you can do it too!

On a lighter note:

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Published here on HuffPo:http://www.huffingtonpost.in/richa-kashyap/5-tricks-to-camouflage-so_b_9554942.html

Looking For A Peaceful Travel Destination? Then Say “Tashi Delek”, Ravangla!

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There are several perks of being an army wife. One of them is to be able to travel across the length and breadth of the country. There are several places in our country which are breathtakingly beautiful yet not very popular. One such place that I got to see recently is Ravangla. Ravangla or Rawangla or Ravongla is a very small town situated at an elevation of 7000 ft in South Sikkim.

A picturesque town with not too many commercial hangouts, Ravangla can be your ideal travel destination if you are looking for a peaceful time away from a busy corporate life.

Points of tourist interest in Ravangla

Everything! Just step out of your hotel room and breathe in the beauty of the place. Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Pandim, Mt. Sinialchu, Mt. Kabru are just a few of the major peaks that are clearly visible from Ravangla.

You can also visit the Ralang Monastery, a Buddhist monastery located about 5 kilometers from Ravangla.

If you are a Tea person, a visit to Temi Tea Garden, about 16 kms from Ravangla would be a delight.

You can also go for some short treks and indulge in Bird  Watching in Ravangla.

Eating in Ravangla

Tibetan cuisine and Butter Tea are a must if you are going to Sikkim for the first time. This food is good for the weather as it will keep you warm in an otherwise freezing Ravangla.

The ideal season to visit Ravangla

The ideal time to visit Ravangla is February and March. Avoid the rainy season because there might be incidents of landslides. Avoid peak winter season from December to January if you can’t bear extreme cold.

Reaching Ravangla

Ravangla is situated between Pelling and Gangtok and has a connectivity to all major towns in Sikkim through the state highway.

The nearest airport is Bagdogra Aiport, which is about 130 kms.

The nearest railways station is New Jalpaiguri(NJP), which is about 120 kms.

You can hire taxis from the Bagdogra airport or the NJP railway station to go to Ravangla. You can also consider shared jeeps and SNT buses if you are on a tight budget.

On your way to Ravangla from NJP/Bagdogra, don’t forget to stop every 20-25 kms and get a feel of the landscape changing.

Happy holidays!

P.S.: Tashi Delek is a Tibetan greeting like ‘Hello!’. Tashi means auspicious and Delek (or Deleg, Deleh) means fine or well.

Published on Women’s web: http://www.womensweb.in/2016/03/tashi-delek-ravangla-in-sikkim/

Planning Your Vacation? A Step-By-Step Guide To Making The Most Of Travel

I am such an obsessive planner when it comes to traveling that my husband often wonders if I enjoy traveling or planning for traveling. By the time I actually board the flight, I practically have had a virtual tour of the place. Some people might call this process the murder of ‘spontaneous fun’ but, trust me, it’s not.

A decent planning ensures that you don’t land up in shady places, waste your time in unimportant (which may be famous) places, end up buying low quality local products for obnoxious prices and eat Chinese food in a Goan restaurant and vice versa.

What I leave for spontaneity is the experience that the destination offers. Whatever information I find out during my obsessive research-this-travel-destination phase, I use that only to plan my itinerary.

 

Read More @http://www.womensweb.in/2016/03/planning-your-vacation/

Short Story: The boy with a mysterious smile

He was sort of a mystery for me. He talked so much. His smile conveyed too many things at once and he was often gone before I could comprehend what his mysterious smile meant.

I was a quiet teenager, quite unlike him, way too engrossed in the world of superheroes to realize that people around me were actually falling in love.

Read More: http://yourstoryclub.com/short-stories-love/childhood-romantic-story-boy-mysterious-smile/

 

Huffington Post: The 4 Stages Of Fitting In As A Fauji Wife

Coming from a ‘civilian’ background, I had no clue that faujis speak a completely different language. So, I was surprised at my husband’s surprise over my addressing my boss by her first name. “That’s how we address colleagues, don’t we?” I said, at which his eyes almost popped out. “She is your boss–super-boss–isn’t she? Isn’t it considered disrespectful to address her by her first name?”I couldn’t help but burst into hysterical laughter.

That was my first ever insight into how faujis think. Having been married for only a year and with my husband on a ‘field posting’ I know I have a lot more to learn and can happily claim to be ignorant of fauji manners for some more time.

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.in/richa-kashyap/the-fauji-life-for-a-new-_b_9459154.html?utm_hp_ref=india

 

11 Times I Wish I Had Snubbed People Instead Being Polite And Holding Back

Sometimes you feel like saying something disdainful when someone annoys you, but you don’t, because it would not be the polite thing to say. Right? Right!

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I believe a diplomatic smile is an appropriate answer to a lot of stupidity around. However, sometimes people manage to successfully step on my cool nerves by their ludicrous actions. I smile, say these little what-you-deserve-to-hear statements in my head and walk away! But sometimes I regret not saying them loud and clear.

Here is my choicest collection of recurring instances when I almost feel like speaking my mind:

When two people about to get married soon start posting a “Love you forever” status on social networking sites every two seconds. I wish to say:“Your baby might love you for forever and ever, but I might get violent if you do not stop driving me insane with your puppy love.”

When some family members get too excited about their baby’s first moments and literally post “shit” on family chat groups. I wish to say:“Brother, there are private chats and there are group chats. Please reserve your baby’s first poop photos for you and your wife’s private chats.”

When people irritate me with their unsolicited advice on how to dress up. I wish to say: “Well, you can wrap yourself in that bed sheet but please don’t insist on me to trying it! I am so not wearing what you want me to wear.”

When my husband tries to convince me that for once the upcoming family function is going to be exciting. I wish to say: “No. No. No. No. Can I please evaporate right now? I don’t want to be here in this moment. Wake me up when September ends!”

When relatives indirectly give examples and challenge me to cook. I wish to say “Sorry! I can’t cook and now that you have challenged me to compete with the best chef in the family, I have strongly, passionately decided to not try participate in Family’s top chef contest.”

When friends, neighbors, relatives look at my dogs with suspicion. I wish to say: “They are cleaner than you. Yes, they bark. They are not T. rex. If you want me to lock them before you step in my house, see you tomorrow at your house.”

When a lady-in-love posts every single I-am-in-love-with-your culture statement on every possible social networking site and tags everyone in her in-laws family to invite praises. I wish to say: “Darling! You don’t respect a culture just by flaunting your love for it. Ye public hai yeh sab jaanti hai (The public knows it all).”

When people who try hard to manipulate me to do something bizarre like picking up a fight. I wish to say: “I intently heard the crap for 40 minutes. I am still not convinced. Can you try another spin?”

When someone in their early 20s talks like my grandma. I wish to say: “Ah! Are you 24? At your age everyone is a know-it-all. I am bored but I won’t interrupt. Feel good about crossing puberty. You deserve happiness, darling! Peace! Peace!”

When people make the most insulting remarks and then try to get away by saying it was all in good fun. I wish to say:“Congratulations, you successfully pissed me off. I am going to curse you for next 30 days.”

When people complain that I insulted them by not reacting to whatever they said: “Lovely! You are offended. That’s exactly what I intended.”

However, you know, some things are better left unsaid. So, I smile and most of the time, it suffices!

Published @ http://www.womensweb.in/2016/02/11-times-i-wish-i-had-snubbed-people-instead-being-polite-and-holding-back/

Don’t Ever Buy The ‘How Good Girls Should Behave’ Rule Book For Your Life

Woman, I am sure adjustment is the key to happiness. Let there be more of it in your life. Adjust. Let your spouse adjust. Let your families adjust. Let your colleagues adjust. Give equal opportunities to everyone to adjust. ‘Opportunities to become a better person’ shouldn’t be your sole right, woman! Divide the opportunities equally! Play fair!

Published@ http://www.womensweb.in/2016/02/dont-ever-buy-the-how-typical-good-girls-should-behave-rule-book-for-your-life/

Fresh Air

She was not unusually happy or sad. She was tired, mentally. She did not want to think about the past. However, the thoughts kept coming back to her. She got up and made herself a cup of coffee. She switched on the television so that she can ignore the thoughts in her head. She increased the volume of the television. The only voices she could still hear were the thoughts in her head. She finally gave up. She decided that she needed to do something to get over these thoughts. She decided to go down to the first floor of her apartment, which she had been avoiding ever since she landed in Delhi three days back. Read more@Yourstoryclub

http://yourstoryclub.com/short-stories-family/story-ex-wife-husband-fresh-air/

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PC: http://www.paintinghere.com/