Oh Shit! I am the Bride!

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Ever since I remember, makeup kit was not my thing. My most prized possession in my teenage was a badminton racket that my dad bought for me on my 10th birthday. The highlights of my summer vacations used to be gully cricket and fist fights. The summer of 2006 is etched in my memory because I learnt to ride a motorbike that year. I was not the quintessential girl ever; however, I did not know I will make such a crackpot bride.

It all started with the idea of getting married. Well! It might sound strange but the idea of marriage came to us (me and my boyfriend) as a remedy for the intermittent bouts of hatred that we used to feel for each other. We were friends. We fell in love. We were friends again. We fell in love again. It was a weird relationship. So, to put our relationship drama to an end for once and for all – we decided to get hitched.

The real drama started when my mom asked me about my choice of the wedding attire. Guess! Guess! I had no idea. So, I decided to do some online research before I made up my mind. Everyday after office, for around 20 days, I followed this routine – start my search from Indian Ethnic Section on some nice shopping portal and by the end of 30 minutes of looking into lehengas and churidars of various kinds, navigate to the Domino’s portal, order Pizza, watch Suits (a Television series), curse God for making Mike (a character in Suits) so hot and sleep talking about Harvey’s and Mike’s next move with my then fiancee (now husband) over phone. 20 days into this routine, my mom intervened. Guess! Guess! I still had no idea, so I suggested buying something in yellow (I love yellow). My mom almost yelled at me for wasting her time with this stupid idea and did not consult me again on what had to be to bought for my trousseau.

The problems, however, did not seem to end. 25 days before my wedding, I reached home with a face full of acne. My mom almost fainted at the airport after looking at me. The weird acne treatment from there on was the most torturous experience of my life so far. But guess that was not the end! My mom made it very clear that with people coming to visit me everyday, my hippy look with shorts and shabby hair was out of question now! I had to be dressed decently. I guess she was just preparing me to survive beyond my comfort zone. The only moments of relief in these 25 days were the moments I spent working on the vendor management spreadsheets  (related to my wedding) with my dad. Number crunching is certainly easier than undergoing acne treatment. I speak from experience here!

However, nothing beats the stupid incidences that happened on the day of my wedding:

  • 2 hours into that makeup room and I was so exhausted that I almost felt like postponing the wedding date (only if I could!).
  • A bride, who was getting ready with me in the same room, asked me I wanted to share a smoke ( I don’t smoke!).
  • The makeup artists applied some light makeup (light, my foot!) on my face and made me look a Voodoo doll – barely recognizable to my own eyes.

The biggest sigh of relief for me was the sight of my fiancee (soon to be husband) on the stage. He looked equally funny (may be funnier!) in a shimmering sherwani. Guess what! I was not the only joker in my wedding! Aha!

The biggest blooper of the day was still to happen.

I heard someone from the photography crew asking the bride to look in to the camera. Nervous as I was on the stage, I looked around to see where the bride was! My husband, the gentleman that he is, elbowed me thrice and then almost yelled at me – “you, idiot, you, look in to the camera”. 

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/

Good and Morning is a contradiction in terms!

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I hate mornings. It is the time when there is no harmony in the universe.  It’s suddenly so bright. It’s suddenly so noisy. All of a sudden everyone is hyperactive. For a gentle soul like me who loves tranquility, mornings are worse than earthquakes. It is the time when fellow mortals on Planet Earth are at their creepiest best. Why would they otherwise greet you with a flashy smile when you are just out of bed and barely in your senses?

The worst morning hour is 8 a.m. I call it the hour of “mystery”. Things start mysteriously disappearing at this hour. Has anybody ever taken out time out of their busy schedules to think – why ID cards, car keys, watches, safety pins, etc. suddenly disappear at this hour and especially when you are running late for work? In a mild hypnotic state, I have seen people creating world records in the lost and found game at this hour every damn morning.

Managing a decent breakfast is as good as hunting. Someone like me, who arrives for breakfast when people are planning for lunch gets leftover crumbles of burnt bread on a lucky day. Most of the days, I am greeted by a clean table without any food. “Good Morning – no food for you today!”, says the table and gives me a creepy smile. I then kick the table and settle down with the “morning newspaper” and three cups of tea in a corner of my house. I, then, read news about political scams, murders, protests, violence, celebrity breakups and so on. Every inch of the newspaper has a shot of caffeine to wake me up to reality. “This is not a good world” is my first thought after partially coming back to senses. “A bright, noisy, polluted, mean, selfish world it is!” my heart echoes the thought.  This is the start of a typical day for me.

Ah! And on those very rare days when I wake up by 7 a.m, my family looks at me with suspicion. The amount of attention I receive by just leaving the bed early can put lesser known celebrities to shame.  I despise this kind of attention.

Well, I anyways have to carry on because:

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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

 

5 things that make me woof woof (uff, uff!)

I love my dogs. Trust me, I do. Nobody appreciates my cooking the way they do. I have never seen a human (read my husband) respond to a humble breakfast of two boiled eggs with so much of enthusiasm and love. When I serve them boiled beans, carrots and chicken for lunch, they wag their tail, do this little gig and look at me with so much of appreciation. They ensure that every single day of my life, they appreciate me for my exceptional culinary skills. They tell me, through all possible gestures, that I boil eggs, beans and carrots tastier than anyone else in the world. Dog swear.

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So, you must be wondering with so much of love and appreciation, what are the 5 things that make me woof woof (with red eyes) at them in return.

#1 Morning Love

Every single day when the clock strikes 6 A.M., they fall head-over-heels in the love with me.They lick my face. They lick my head. Get inside my blanket. 10 minutes of all this and they are hungry and then, they pull my hair, jump on me and bite each other. There is no way I can ignore them beyond 6:20 A.M.  This happens even on Saturdays and Sundays.

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#2 After-play hours 

The play time never ends. I take out time to play fetch with them every day for one hour. But after the play hour ends, the after-play hours begin. And the after-play hours include games such as bite-bite, I-cut-your-mobile-charger, I-chew-your-chappal, I-tear-your-pillow and I-pee-on-the-door. I stare at them. They stare at me. Love.

#3 No home-alone 

I can’t leave them alone for even 15 minutes. I have done that twice and the results have not been very pleasant. Both the times, I went down to get groceries and when I returned, I saw my neighbors standing at my door, trying to frantically call me because my dogs were howling and knocking the door making them worried about my safety. Well, I have guaranteed, there are no home-alones after these incidents.

#4 Hygiene 

Pluto, my indie, is in love with the bathroom mug. He adores it. He carries that mug with him almost everywhere in the house – sometimes even on my bed!!! I ask Pluto to get down from the bed, he follows the command like a gentleman, but I throw the mug down from the bed, he barks like a mad man. I got him a new mug – same color, same size. It’s still the bathroom mug he loves. Did you say “hygiene”? I choose to ignore the “h” word now.

#5 Poop means protest

It’s all good till we three, Mars, Pluto and I, are cordial in the house. But dare I get annoyed and raise my voice. My stern voice is reciprocated with poop in all corners of the house. You should look at their happy faces when I am wiping off their shit. They almost say: “You can shout, we can poop, woof, woof.”

 

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10 English Phrases and their ‘Real’ Meanings!

“We don’t always say what we “mean” to say and we don’t always “mean” what we say.”

To prove my point, here is a collection of 10 English Phrases we often use to politely convey feelings which would otherwise sound downright rude:

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Phrase 1: That must be interesting! 

Real meaning: SHUT UP. You have bored me enough with your bullshit. It’s high time you stop. And now that exhibit no signs to stop, I must interfere – just so that you SHUT UP!

Phrase 2: I will look into it.

Real meaning: Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn! I have already forgotten what we are talking about and I am secretly praying that you never follow up with me about this task!

Phrase 3: I have no idea!

Real meaning: I am an expert in the shit that you are still trying to figure out. However, you know, there are days when I don’t believe in social niceties. Please solve your issues on your own, nincompoop!

Phrase 4: Good for you.

Real meaning: What you are doing is downright dumb. However, I am too busy to lecture you right now.

Phrase 5: Such a cute baby!

Real meaning: Oh holy! It moves. It pisses. It poops. I CAN handle it! I can! I can!

Phrase 6: I was trying to be nice to him/her.

Real meaning: I have made all efforts from my end to be extremely mean. If this doesn’t spoil the relationship, I will have to resort to criminal tactics. You see.

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Phase 7: You guys make a very cute couple. 

Real meaning: 7.125 billion people in the world and this is who you got for your wedding portrait!

Phase 8: You know what, “Relax”!

Real meaning: You are doomed and I can’t do much! Now for God’s sake, please stop hyperventilating; you are consuming my share of oxygen as well!

Phase 9: I am almost done. 

Real meaning: Thank you for reminding me. I’ll get started immediately!

Phase 10: I understand!

Real meaning: Excuse moi! I have no idea what you are talking about!

P.S. I am a nice person!
 

The quarter-life enlightenment

Everything that I have to say is summed up in this meme, but I will still go ahead and share the only 20 things that I have learnt in the 25-plus-something years of my life:

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  1. There are no weird people in this world. Yes, not even you!
  2. A confused teenager is probably a genius in making.
  3. Love is not an everlasting feeling.
  4. You are boring. You don’t remember your past life.
  5. 99 (the 100-1 regret) in your high school mathematics exam, doesn’t matter!
  6. Your best friend can’t read your head, nor can your boyfriend.
  7. If you land up in a job which you don’t like, it’s a result of your indecisiveness.
  8. Peer pressure is bullshit. If you take shit, you get shit.
  9. You can hate people. Strong. Intense. Bad.
  10. Your people skills matter more than your CGPA.
  11. Patriotism is not just about loving your country. Elections matter.
  12. You don’t need a picturesque location to fall in love.
  13. You might be a smart head. There are many like you in this world. Learn to repackage narcissism.
  14. Dreams and goals are two completely different things. Prefer the later.
  15. Your time management skills have serious impact on your fate.
  16. It’s fine not to be the best human being on this planet.
  17. Sometimes it’s fine be stupid and lost. Winning all battles in life will not take you to heaven anyways!
  18. Religion is just a sentiment. It’s good to respect popular sentiments.
  19. You can live with loads of guilt in your heart.
  20. Your parents love you.