Don’t be an Angrez copy cat ya!

Oh! Let me begin with a disclaimer. I’ll try to not make this post a feminist rant. But the catch is, I know nothing better. As I can’t kick the shit out of the misogynist folks around me, I write the shit out of them. Accept that after all I am a flawed human, very much as you are. Writers are not necessarily good human beings as most of you assume. Most writers live with their own demons — in my case, my demon is my hatred for copy-cat misogynist wanna-be Angrez folks. You know the ones who don’t know the difference between a duchess and a countess, but would love to have English breakfast too often too much! Yeah, you gotcha — that kinds.

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I mean, the desi daal-chawal kind that I am, c’mon, I don’t know too much about British royalty. Though I am neck deep into a lifestyle that’s a cheap replica of the royalty, I prefer remaining a ‘commoner’. It appeals more to my middle-class, hardworking mentality, I guess. But, somehow, from the little I know and the little-st I can comprehend about the British royal family, I love Princess Margaret and Diana, the Princess of Wales, more than the Princess Royal, Anne, and may be even the queen. The rebel streak in Princess Di, which kicked the memsahib out of the royal culture, makes me like her a little more than Queen, Margaret, Anne, Catherine, and Meghan — all combined. You know, Princess Di was as much a lady in a pair of jeans as she was in a beautiful evening gown. While it might come as an utter surprise to many copy-cat misogynist wanna-be Angrez folks around me, Princess Di never draped a saree in her life – yet she was termed as one of the finest ladies the British royalty has ever seen. So, fact-check, “Saree – Chiffon, Cotton, or Silk – is just a garment, not a cover for your uncouthness”.

Anyway, let’s leave the British royalty aside for a while. Many of you know that I make a living out of writing some technical mumbo-jumbo. 8 years into writing the mumbo-jumbo, I have learned (or learnt) little bit of Angrezi (ah! unfortunately, not the UK one). So, now with this little learning, I am a little too sensitive about how I am addressed in this language. For example, if you are not my boss and you tell me you NEED some information from me, trust me, I am going to turn a deaf ear to your COMMAND until you REQUEST. But the copy-cat misogynist wanna-be Angrez folks living in a pseudo monarchy often forget the humble mannerism that British brought along with their language. They ORDER too often and too much. Though the inspiration I draw from Princess Di encourages me to blow the lid off their half-baked stupidity (yeah, even that’s bloody half baked), I resort to sarcasm because who the hell wants to mud-sling with pigs!

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The other thing that irks me today and too often is the class superiority. When someone says — “People beneath me, thy welfare i shalt doth”, I want to shake them up and say, “Vraiment madame? Do a favor to your life first. First learneth a few things f’r thyself!” But then, I am too busy learning for myself. You see, life is short and there is too little time to multi-task, anyway! Taking care of the well-being of others is a little too down on my priority list for this lifetime.

But as most rant must conclude, here is how I wrap it — “Liveth and alloweth leaveth, prithee”! While in modern English, it might translate to “Live and Let Live”, I intend the urban slang version of it, which would roughly translate to, “You wipe your shit, I’ll wipe mine. Thank You.”

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How The ‘Superwoman Syndrome’ Is Making Millennial Working Women Suffer

I really don’t know when I first realized that it is not really normal to be restless about not being able to finish some 24 tasks from my 24-hours checklist. One thing I’m sure about is that this is certainly not an inherited condition.

I remember my parents to be two successful professionals who were simply mom and dad at home. Mom did cook. She actively participated in our education, and she also went to work. I don’t know whether she was aiming to be a perfect mother, a perfect wife, or a perfect teacher, or if she let go of a few of her dreams and aspirations to be able to manage regular things better. I don’t remember anymore if she missed any of my Parents-Teachers Meet (PTM) or skipped any of my school’s annual functions. I don’t remember her making up for the missed meetings or functions either, by buying me expensive gifts or giving into my illogical teenage demands.

So, yeah, this ‘superwoman syndrome’ is my own creation – certainly not passed on in heredity.

The superwoman syndrome

You might think, this ‘superwoman syndrome’ is a result of my huge career-related ambitions. But nah! I am not very ambitious professionally. I love my work, but I have deliberately not been a part of the cut-throat corporate politics that possibly could have landed me in a better designation than I am in, currently. Also, trust me, while many women around me won’t admit – the ‘superwoman syndrome’ is an issue all working millennial women are coping with at varying degrees, obviously. So, yeah, what brought us all here? Let’s get to that in some time.

You see, this syndrome manifests in different ways for different women, but for the sake of generalising it, let me give you a few simple, generic, almost-applicable-to-all examples.

The ‘perfect wife’ to be…

I was sitting at an informal ladies’ gathering, a bunch of women married to officers at different levels of seniority (you may think of it a family gathering of people from different age groups), when a woman in her 40s, a senior officer’s wife, passed a flying remark about how women shouldn’t bother their husbands with domestic stress.

She went on and on about how the poor husbands slog in office the entire day, and wish to see their wives all decked up and fresh when they come back home tired. And I immediately thought of how, very often, I travel back home after a 6-hours gruelling journey and a whole day’s work & meetings in a different city, my hair tied in a messy bun and my heart in a state to explode verbally at even the slightest amount of chaos at home. My poor husband, I thought – you see, women like me are not even close to becoming those perfect wives who always have a smile on their face. Sadly, I have not really seen any such woman around me, but according to madame-senior-officer-wife, being perfect is (hypothetically) possible!

…and the ‘imperfect wife’ in me

Not going too far from domestic responsibilities again, I don’t remember packing a ‘dabba’ for my husband even once in 3-years of my marriage. I am not a great cook. Both of us have very different tastes when it comes to food. So, I mostly don’t bother cooking at home.

But then, I have heard a few women going on and on about how they have kept their husband in control and interested in them by serving them 3-course meal of their choice every day.  In control? Interested? I wonder if I missed out some home science lectures at college.

Ah, the joys of motherhood!

Then, the third and the most irritating one is the lecture on reproduction, fertility, and joys of motherhood. Trust me, I love kids. I also don’t have anything against motherhood. What I absolutely hate is, when other women poke their nose into my ovaries to sniff whether I am on pills or I am infertile. The very simple fact that sometimes biological and career clocks are not in sync, and some women like me make a choice to either push motherhood to a later time or forever is very difficult for self-proclaimed perfect women to comprehend.

Ah, and it doesn’t stop here, woman who have popped out kids but have to leave them at home when on business tours, are reprimanded too. How can one leave their kid for business! How often do they ask the men the same question?

At work, thankfully, gender discrimination is almost non-existent, at least where I work. Men and women have the same set of responsibilities. Then, why do millennial men not suffer from ‘superman syndrome’?

I relooked at my 24 tasks from my 24-hours checklist again to see where probably I am slacking. They are so many wishful tasks in my list, I wondered. While I rebuffed the idea of being able to cook, reproduce immediately, keep the laundry bag at home always empty, and have a smile pasted on my face permanently – somewhere these thoughts from fellow women made me feel I am not doing enough.

Time and again, the image of this superwoman with 6 hands cooking, cleaning, writing an email at the same time wakes me up from my dreams. You know, how in school, boys and girls were inspired to become all-rounders? Very much like that! Somehow, men defined the bro-code to be non-judgmental about another man’s capability of nurturing their home, but we, women, couldn’t unlearn the idea of becoming Mrs-be-it-all! While, none of us can practically be able to do it all, without some trade-offs, but we all wish that we could!

Dear Swara, let’s keep army out of this liberal-fanatic debate!

Dear Swara,

I have always considered myself to be a liberal. As a journalism student, it was natural for me to have an inclination toward freedom of speech and expression. Growing up, for a long, long time, I identified myself with what people call ‘left-wingers’ or ‘leftists’. And I am not (and was never) ashamed of being categorized as a ‘liberal’. I still see no issues with homosexuality, premarital sex, student leaders criticizing the current government, inter-faith/inter-religion marriages, challenging popular social ideologies, and people not agreeing with my point of view. But today morning, when I came across the following tweet from you, I was surprised for a second.

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Of course, this tweet from someone who I considered a part of my ‘liberal’ fraternity didn’t go well with me. Nah! Not because I am an army wife. I have vociferously criticized some of the outdated traditions in army and have received flak for it. I can list hundreds of reasons as to why I would love to live a life in close proximity to the civilians who I identify with much more than the fellow army families. But, when a celebrity like you addresses an army officer as an ‘asshole with a big caste pride’, I would stand up against this statement with all my might. Madame, first of all, caste and religion are the last thing people in army identify with. Not even once, I have come across any army men or their families discussing caste and religion or showing any kind of hostility towards fellow families with different religious faith than theirs. Even the places for offering prayers inside the cantonment are known as ‘Sarv-Dharm Sthal’ (A place for people from all faiths). So, sorry, even if I don’t know Major Gogoi personally, I can state this with confidence that the last thing he is, is a ‘man with big caste pride’.

Now, coming to the context in which you made the statement. It’s based on the statement that Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev made during an interview with Kangana Ranaut. I had seen this interview a few days before I came across your tweet. Therefore, I very strongly feel that you are picking up on a few selected words from the interview – completely out of context – to suit your narrative. And in doing so, you are challenging your very own faith in liberalism. Are not liberals supposed to be open to listening to a point of view different from theirs? If Sadhguru finds liberals to be fanatic (I don’t think he meant this, though) — take it on the face value, take it like a criticism, and be civil in your approach towards countering the statement. Isn’t this what liberals are supposed to do? Correct me if I am wrong, but I think liberals often accuse fanatics to be disrespectful about an opinion different that theirs and resort to extreme measures verbally or physically to prove that their point right. How, then, Swara are you different from a fanatic (you might not be a religious fanatic, but a fanatic of different kind)?

Now, don’t think, I am against this debate about liberalism and fanaticism. I am completely in for it. I am happy that Sadhguru made a statement and you have a point of view against it. But watch your language, Swara! As an Indian citizen, you have all the rights to criticize the ideologies in the country that you find regressive, outdated, or anti-national, but I don’t think you are qualified to comment on how army deals with operational issues in counter insurgency areas. Do you know what happened in that moment when Major Gogoi decided to take this action? If not, how do you so confidently state that he is an ‘asshole’ and his actions were motivated by his religious/casteist ideologies?

I wouldn’t force to you to respect anyone, not even a man in uniform, guarding our borders if you don’t want to. But to pull the army into this debate of liberalism and fanaticism is completely uncalled for. Also, if you represent the modern liberal brigade and you think calling an army officer ‘asshole’ with ‘caste pride’ is the new definition of being liberal, I would rather be a fanatic!

Thank You!

A liberal-turned-fanatic

5 Things The World Needs To Know About Introverts

As an introvert, I can cite multiple occasions from my life when I was misunderstood. I have heard people call me cold, arrogant, weird, and what not. I initially tried to rebuff all this thinking most people, I know, are not considerate towards introverts.

However, now that I am growing older and wiser, I can see introversion is not an easy thing to read, especially for people who have grown up around extroverts. It’s also difficult for an introvert, especially for a child or a teenager, to comprehend why they are so easily misunderstood. Introverted teenagers start becoming more and more recluse as they feel they don’t really belong to most of the social circles around them.

Introverts, however, are anything but cold, arrogant, misfit, or weird. Only if people understand a few things about introverts and don’t over-analyze their quietness for something else, it will make awkward social situations a little bit easier for introverts to handle.

Introverts don’t hate people

Introverts don’t hate human beings. They are simply a little more selective about people who they want to hang out with. They mostly like people who take friendships slow and don’t invade into their personal space too often or too early in the relationship. Introverts treat their solitary time with sanctity. For them, their private time is meant for exploring newer ideas, newer facts, and recharging themselves for upcoming social interactions. If you are one of those over-enthusiastic people who love hanging out in a big group without any fixed agenda, introverts would maintain a deliberate distance from you. It’s not because they hate you, it’s simply because they really dread being forced to attend one of these gatherings.

Introverts are not good at small talks

Introverts don’t understand the mechanism behind ‘small talks’. They find such conversations extremely boring and taxing. Also, if you are not one of those people in their inner circle, introverts would weigh every single word they utter in front of you. This is the reason why people find introverts either uninterested in the ongoing social conversations or quiet to the extent of boring. Introverts, however, can be extremely talkative and fun if they are in the company of people they love. They love talking about life, love, stars, science, and philosophy in general. Introverts are intrigued by conversations that involve something deeper and meaningful for them.

Introverts mean what they say

Introverts are extremely choosy with their words. They will not speak a sentence until they find the right words to expresses what they mean to say with the right level of intensity or vigor. Most of the introverts find it easier to communicate via text messages than over phone calls because text messages give them the time to think through the words they choose. Introverts also treat their promises with utmost sanctity. Therefore, they, sometimes, come across as people who are commitment phobic.

Introverts love and hate with the same intensity

Introverts take a lot of time to fall in love. It’s very difficult for an introvert to allow anyone to be in their personal space and influence their feelings. It’s only when they trust someone as much as they trust themselves that they commit to being in a romantic relationship with that person. Hatred is an equally intense feeling for an introvert. Introverts treat breach of trust no lesser than a crime. So, once someone betrays their trust, introverts develop an intense disliking and hatred for that person. In general, as introverts are very observant people, they easily spot liars and stay away from them.

Introverts overthink, always!

Introverts overthink about practically everything in life. They think about every single word uttered in a conversation they had, or they are about to have. They sometimes even prepare themselves to have an unpleasant conversation when their brain signals them that something might go wrong. They analyze their intuitions on their self-created logic checklist to decipher the chances of their intuitions turning into reality. As most introverts are emotional people, they do practically everything to protect themselves from a possible heart break.

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Being an introvert isn’t the easiest thing in the world. It takes a lot of time for introverts to understand that they are a minority and the world will not bend their rules to accommodate them and that they need to go out of their comfort zone to fit in. However, only if people are a little considerate, introverts might turn out to be the most reliable friends, colleagues, lovers, and leaders.

Ssshhh! Keep your mental illness a secret!

Imagine, someone with a bad headache approaches you. What would you tell that person? Sshhh! “Try to ignore it. You are brave. And sshhh! don’t tell this to anyone”. Or, imagine someone who is just diagnosed with cancer breaks the NEWS to you in a moment of despair. What would you tell that person? “Oh, you can deal with it. You are brave. Believe in yourself.” Awareness about mental illness is so less in our society that people who should seek professional help for their mental conditions are made to believe that there is no real problem to begin with — it’s all a figment of their imagination. “Be brave”, “Don’t act sissy”, “You are lost”, “Look at the positive side of things” is what they get instead of help.

There are also another kind of people who use the word ‘depression’ and ‘panic attack’ so casually that they make these sound like a seasonal flu.  Haven’t you heard statements like, “Oh, I am so depressed that I didn’t get a decent pair of shoes to match with my dress” or “I almost had a panic attack when Brad & Angelina broke up“. I wish it was casual as they made it sound. Alas! It’s not.

Very interestingly, patients with mental illness are also conveniently labelled as ‘attention seekers’, ‘weak’, and ‘someone unable to deal with pressure’. Unfortunately, the labeling and the stereotype prevents people from seeking help. It’s the result of this stereotyping that parents of kids with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Autism Spectrum Disorders, or similar other issues, which can be managed with some patience and professional help, hesitate to first acknowledge the problem and then seek professional help. Some adults with mental illnesses (and aware of their condition) also hesitate to seek help because, you know, from there on the term ‘the mentally ill’ will overshadow all other aspects of their personalities & lives. The terms ‘people with mental illnesses’ and ‘the mentally ill’ are used so interchangeably that I, sometimes, wonder how difficult it is for people to see the difference in both the terms and the baggage that the latter one carries. It’s hard for one to deal with the illness in the first place and people around don’t always make things easier.

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As a kid, I was introverted and struggled a great deal with ‘social anxiety’. I would never understand why I did not enjoy weddings, gatherings, celebrations as much as others from my age would. Somehow, my parents understood my issues (while they might not have been aware of the term ‘social anxiety’ at that time) and gave me my space when needed. I am so glad they didn’t coerce me into attending every damn celebration within the family and their social circle. But I know how much slack my mom had to take because of this. Very often, people would express concerns about my marriage, because I was a loner and wouldn’t enthusiastically perform in front of uncles and aunties to garner praises. They were worried how I will take on the responsibilities in a new family if I don’t learn to socialize (and this was when I was barely 13).  Dear over-concerned uncles & aunties, fortunately, I am doing pretty well in my married life as an adult because I acknowledged and addressed my problems 🙂

My friend’s dad struggled with anxiety at one time and my dad struggled with it too. When my friend and I discussed about the intensity of their issues, we knew the problem was bigger than what we assume to be normal day-to-day stress. I am glad that we could talk about their issues freely because it was only then we realized our parents needed professional help. I am glad they agreed to seek help. Unfortunately, depression and anxiety finally overshadowed my friend’s dad’s will to live. By God’s grace, my dad could overcome the ordeal. But you know, during all this, I saw how the very acknowledgment of a mental problem makes many near and dear ones distance themselves from the entire family, as if, suddenly, the whole family has some sort of contagious disease.

I am glad that now many celebrities are now coming forward and acknowledging the fact that they have struggled with similar issues. Success, failure, temperament, money has nothing to do with it. Like any other kind of ‘illness’, it can happen to anyone. On a lighter note, I feel illness is less biased in its approach than the people around us 🙂

“Don_t-be-ashamed-of-your-story.-It-will-inspire-others.”

Anthony Bourdain’s suicide starts a dialogue on the acknowledgment of mental illness once again. People wonder, why Anthony Bourdain felt like his life of adventure was not worth living and suicide was his only possible option. The simple answer is, this is how advance stages of depression and anxiety make one feel. I am glad closer to home, Deepika Padukone and Shaheen Bhatt have spoken about their struggle with the problem. I am glad that we are, at least, at a juncture where there is a possibility of starting a dialogue. It’s only when we share, talk, acknowledge that we will be able to receive and provide help in time.

I wish more & more people come out and talk about this.

PS: If you are someone who is feeling extremely low and considering on giving up your life, please call Sneha India Foundation at 044-24640050 or write to help@snehaindia.org. It’s a 24×7 free helpline. And please, please, please seek professional help.

Sometimes wise, mostly otherwise…

I am a sucker of emotional dramas. Nah! Not the Ekta Kapoor kinds, but the real heart touching kinds! For example, I am hooked to the Netflix series, The Crown right now. And when I hear Elizabeth and Philip argue about the priorities in life, my heart bleeds for the Queen. I drop an invisible tear or so when she tells Philip that “Like other couples, we don’t have an easy way out…we are in a unique situation that needs to be worked out”. The character, Elizabeth, represents a woman who puts self-respect and love at the same pedestal — the toughest ever choice a woman makes in her life. Because, how easy it is to love and dream, and not let ‘self’ come in between! Ah, but women like Elizabeth have inspired a generation of women to fly high in love, but still remain grounded enough to deal with the realities of life.

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I know I will be jumping to a completely different zone if I tell you about my recurring nightmares in the same blog where I am talking of profound love and wise women. But you know, such is life. Here I am, past late twenties still getting recurring nightmares about my chemistry examination at the higher secondary level (ISC, as some of you call it!) and also empathizing with the longest living monarch in the world. However random it may sound, I feel the real wisdom comes from the deepest fears one buries inside their heart. I guess for me, the fear is ‘failure’ — the possibility of failing at anything in life helps me make wiser choices.

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But the question is, and I ask this to myself very often, ‘Am I wise?’. The answer is yes, sometimes I am wise, but I, mostly, am otherwise. For example, how much I wish to keep a poker face in situations when I am enraged, how much I wish to forgive people who have let me down, how much I wish to see people beyond their limitations, but the wisdom of sages — the art of non-reaction — doesn’t come to me even when I force it on myself.  My mother says, the art of not reacting to things/situations comes with age, when one has seen it all and one has understood that no one in the world gives a damn to anyone else’s emotions (however genuine, truthful, and heartfelt those might be!) and then one learns to channelize the reactions into real actions. For example, I may never learn to forgive, but over a period of time, I might learn to act cordial in spite of differences. I might never learn to keep a poker face, but may be, I will learn to politely walk out a conversation that challenges my principles.

Sometimes, I even wonder, why disruption is mostly considered negative? Why do I not work towards being vocal? Why do I think being wise is more an inward thing? Would I be wiser the day I become immune to pessimism, negativity, criticism, and pain? Ah, this brings me to another question, ‘why do I need to be wise’? I am happy when I am naive. I am happy when I know what’s wise, but deliberately act otherwise.

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Adult-ing!

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When I was 10-years old, I didn’t think of how my life should be/could be after I am 25-years old. My 10-year old self concluded the planning of my life as a happily ever after at 25 with an assumption that at 25, I am financially independent and can shop for all candies, books, clothes I like. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was financially independent at a tender age of 21. So, with 4-bonus years at my hands, I explored life to the craziest extent possible (oh my crazy is far more subtle than your crazy). So, yes, I shopped – Shopped for things I needed, things I wanted, things I thought I wanted, and things I thought I might need in future. I was a 21-year old who had no financial responsibilities back home but, as the much-awaited first child of two working Indian parents, certainly had the luxury of receiving pocket money from home even at the age of 21.

My bonus years 

So, yes, from the age of 21-25, all I was doing was working during weekdays, roaming around with friends over the weekend, and again, going out to the random-est places to wine and dine with friends and friends of friends. My job involved travelling all over the country to coordinate for press conferences and corporate events – so work took me almost everywhere from tier-2 towns like Benaras and Bhopal to tier-1 cities such as Hyderabad and Kolkata. For places such as Kasauni, Mussorie, Jammu, and Goa that work didn’t cover – I had the craziest bunch of friends who made plans to travel whenever work permitted. Friends who came from far more liberal families than mine also told me alcohol was not a bad thing if taken occasionally, exposure to people of different sexual orientation made me feel passionately for LGBT rights, and the proximity with the JNU campus made me ‘tolerant’ to conflicting opinions and political views. I learned to read, to listen, to debate. I learned that as long as someone had an opinion, which was based on not hearsay, it was worth being heard once.

Discovering myself 

These were the years that shaped my personality. These were the years that brought me closer to my own views about my life. By 24, when I decided to leave Delhi and move to Bangalore for a job that involved almost no travel, I was sure of what I wanted in my life. I had taken to writing seriously (the glitz and glam of PR, I had realized was not my thing). I was a hard worker – not necessarily a smart worker, always. Most people were not my cup of tea. Though I learned the art of being indifferent to people who didn’t matter much later! I loved my own space. Home, for me, was a sacred place. I preferred fine dining over discotheques for a date. I learned, I being nice to someone will not necessarily result in a fair reciprocation. I learned that I, even after acting as the flag bearer of morality, will act selfish when it came to love. In short, the bonus years of my life, 21-25, taught me a lot about myself.

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30 and stubborn 

Now, inching closer to 30, I have become a little rigid about how I look at my life. So, if I don’t like you I am not going to hangout with you whether you express disappointment, anger, or hatred. My mobile phone is not my best friend, neither are random calls. So, if there is no business talking to you over phone, most likely I am not calling you or taking your calls. WhatsApp/SMSes give me the time to react to ‘how are you?’ messages so I prefer these over over-enthusiastic, random greetings on calls. If you have added me on a WhatsApp group without my approval, be rest assured that the group is on mute for the longest possible duration. Flattery is not my best trait. In fact, I really lack this skill. My praises would either be genuine or there would be no praises from me. I am not complimenting you on your attire so that you compliment me back. Sorry, my grey t-shirt and black track pants are more about my comfort that your approval. Husband-talk is not my thing. Bitching, unless you are my soul sister, is not my thing. Shop-talk is reserved for my mom. Career-talk, family-talk is reserved for my brother. For everything else, I have a husband, a best friend, and my two, awesome dogs. I nurture a few handful relationships because I genuinely believe in quality over quantity.

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Being socially nice 

Now, adult-ing taught me one more good thing – to camouflage the fact that I judge you top to bottom the moment you utter an ultra-sexist comment. The fact that being socially nice comes to me with great difficulty makes it far more easier for me to drop my hesitance, the moment you hint inching towards meanness from sarcasm. Confrontation is not my favorite pass time, but if you really want a showdown, come loaded with logic. Unless you infringe in my personal space or try to disturb my sanity, I genuinely try hard to be socially nice irrespective of the opinion I have of you.

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Why care? 

I genuinely don’t understand why people care so much about fair-weather friendships? For me, reciprocation of socially accepted behavior is just about existing in harmony. At 30, I am not self-sustained, but of course, I refrain from relationships that serve no other purpose that ganging up against a common enemy or forming a mutual admiration club. May be because my necessity for external approval is less, I am more at peace with adult-ing than many others.

At 40, I will revisit this blog to see whether I am successfully on my way to become a khadoos middle aged woman or not. Like I said, I am living my life after 25 without a plan and it has been pretty gratifying so far.

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How to Deal with Nonsense for Dummies

Before you begin, let me tell you: The word ‘non-sense’ in the article may have been used to refer a person, place, situation or thing. Use your intelligence to decode the underlying meaning.


I am not exactly a people-friendly person. If I can, I avoid any formal/informal setting that involves more than 3 people at a time. I hate being in the spotlight as well. For example, ask me to hold a microphone and talk to twenty people and you will clearly see me losing my wits. I have to do a mini pranayama to activate my brain cells before I engage myself in a useless small talk laced with non-sense. But, over a period of time, out of my own experience, I have come up with four tips that help me deal with non-sense. They might help you too!

Tip 1: To avoid a boring kind of non-sense, find a funny kind of nonsense. For lesser mortals like us, completely avoiding non-sense is not possible.

Yes, non-sense is omnipresent. It may change shapes and forms, but it is not going to go. So, learn to counter boring non-sense with entertaining non-sense.

I will give you an example.  My husband often teases me for looking like a lost puppy in gatherings that I am forced to attend.  Sometimes, the texts that he sends me during these gatherings from the other side of the room are hilarious enough for me to mentally roll on the floor laughing (ROFL, I said guys, ROFL!) and tolerate the gibberish that, otherwise, is intolerable.

  • Husband: Are you socializing with your wine glass?
  • I: You bet! I can explain 20 hues of red to you. Blood and wine mixing.
  • Husband: Sing a song!
  • I: Get me a gun.
  • Husband: Murder?
  • I: Suicide is for brave-hearts! I am trivial.
  • Husband: Mass Murder?
  • I: Are you plotting that idea in mind head! Pig!
  • Husband: Use your heels and dig a tunnel. Escape!

Tip 2: Ignore or kill. Turn completely indifferent or respond back with a similar level of intimidation or insult. Don’t you EVER brood over non-sense!

Now, MY problem goes beyond simply getting bored. Non-sense takes a toll on me. When stuck in a non-sense that prolongs, I go through varying degree of emotions.  I start from getting bored and reach a degree of indifference before I go completely berserk and turn violent. This generally happens when someone who I classify as ‘non-sense’  intimidates me, belittles me or tries to act over-smart with me, underestimating my anger due to my ‘lost puppy looks’.

So that non-sense doesn’t repeat itself (himself or herself), I use two tricks: I either turn completely indifferent or I respond back with a similar level of intimidation or insult. My husband is a constant level of support if I decide to take route 2.

  • I: I think I am going to pick up a fight now!
  • Husband: Jo bhi karna, sun ke mat aana! (Do whatever, but don’t take bullshit!)
  • I: Lash uthane aajana! (Come to pick up the mortal remains!)

Tip 3: Find a support system. Channelize anger when you can’t handle all on your own.

Support systems are people who don’t judge you for what you do and say. They also help you draw a line when your emotions overpower your sense of judgment.  In my case, I am lucky to have two support systems. I turn to my best friend for expert advice when my husband fails to give me a satisfactory solution to avoid the non-sense I am battling.

  • I: Isn’t that nonsense?
  • My best friend: Yes, it is!
  • I: Isn’t she an idiot?
  • My best friend: Yes, she is!
  • I: I wish I can kill them all.
  • My best friend: Oye! Tu pehle shaant ho oye! (Calm down you idiot!)

Tip 4: Confide in your dog.

If all the above tips fail, just sit with a bucket of ice-cream and speak your heart out to your dog. I do that more often that I should.

  • I: Isn’t that nonsense?
  • Pluto: Ice-cream, please!
  • I: Isn’t she an idiot?
  • Pluto: Ice-cream, please!
  • I: I wish I can kill them all.
  • Pluto: Will you give them ice-cream before you kill them?
  • I: You dog!
  • Pluto: As if you humans are better! Ice-cream, please!
  • I: :O
  • Pluto: Ice-cream, please!
  • I: Profound!

The ‘phone’ of contention

I feel pretty old writing this article because this makes me realize that I was born in a generation where landline phones were fashionable. I remember my boyfriend, now my husband, chasing me for 2 days after school hours to get my ‘phone number’ so that he can discuss the ‘seating arrangements’ for the exams with me (and we discussed everything else instead!). Anyways! I am that old! I belong to a generation that lived without SMSes and WhatsApp messages and still managed to make friends in school.  And, yes, before I hit 30, I can happily claim to have lived more than half of my life without a mobile phone.

Going by the standards of my generation, I was privileged to get an old and discarded Motorola mobile phone of my dad very early in life. But mind you, I was given a mobile phone with a strict warning that it has to be used only in the case of emergency. All that mobile phone allowed me to do was make calls & send, if I remember correctly, 142 characters messages. Sending multi-media messages were unaffordable for a kid like me whose monthly allowances were less than the cost of popcorn in PVRs today.

Anyways, coming back to the point, yes, a mobile phone, about a decade back, was a commodity all of us could live without.  But today, mobile phones are more than mobiles phones and that confuses an old-school-er like me. The society has defined a whole new way of measuring people’s amicability quotient by simply calculating the number of calls a person makes to his/her friends, family and acquaintances in a stipulated time frame.

Here is how the new social charter works:

  • You don’t pick up someone’s call once, you are deliberately ignoring the person.
  • You don’t pick up the call more than twice, you are annoyed with the person.
  • You pick up the call and tell you are busy, you are acting pricey.
  • You forget to charge your mobile’s battery, you are careless.
  • You don’t call someone often, you don’t like the person.
  • You don’t do useless, small talks on festivals, anniversaries and birthdays, you are defying family values and bringing bad name to the family.
  • You don’t talk to far, unknown relatives (mind you who you might have as met a toddler or never met at all), you are not interested in carrying forward the relationships your family nurtured over decades.
  • You don’t contact a person who you met socially on WhatsApp or over a call after the meeting, you are rude.   

In short, mobile phones have become the yardsticks of how much you value your relationships! Whoa! We have reached another level of social evolution with the invention of mobile technology.

For someone like me who has to be online on Instant Messengers for business day in and day out, putting away my mobile phone is a luxury. It’s actually relaxing to be not talking to people who can’t understand your pauses and tiredness (and I say that in the personal as well as professional context). And, oh yes! This reminds me of another point that should go up the list:

  • You don’t sound enthusiastic over the phone, you were not happy talking to the person on the line!

The relationships, the camaraderie, the love – everything now is simply calculated by the talk time spent your mobile phone or the success with which you emote (or pretend) over this virtual medium of communication.

I, sometimes, wonder if there is a quantifiable metric to categorize people based on their monthly mobile expenses or availability to attend mobile calls. For example, someone who spends Rs.2500 and/or 1000 minutes talking over the mobile phone in 30 days is an Amicable Person (Level 2)!

I won’t be surprised if you tell me a metric like this is already in place!  I am ‘socially’ less connected, you see!