• 13 Feb
    Oyindrila Basu

    I was not expecting to celebrate valentine day this year


    Support your love
    I was heading towards the kitchen to find out what more should I buy for really cooking up, when I found him seating at the corner of the studio, near the verandah, his laptop in-front of him, but he, himself playing some stupid game.


    I was really worried now. He was there, never moved a while since morning as early as 7.00 AM, and now it was 1.00 PM in the afternoon. Not a single movement. I had given him his coffee in the morning, and that was too, only half finished. Whenever I passed by in between, he was there, in the same position, either staring out of the glass door, or at the tablet. Now I suddenly felt, have I failed? Was it the wrong way I tried? Am I so useless to do anything? He is still there……


    (8th October, 2015)

    “Sanjay, what is it that is constantly troubling you? Please let me know, I am here to help you”, to this, what he replied (though after a long ignorant silence, interposed with some ‘hmm’ and ‘hunh’, when I insisted too much) just left me even more curious, and despaired-

    “Everything is just finishing slowly, I am doing some bad work, they will no longer entertain this bullshit…the entire industry will just collapse…we will no longer be happy together…. this life is no longer worth it…………..what silly things you are asking me as what you will cook………..please do what you feel like, don’t bother me, as food will soon go in the drain………..Chinmaya, I need to call Chinmaya………….the customer will blow us off…I am a bullshit….I am just wasting my time……………”

    He was uttering a series of incoherent ideas, which just portrayed one thing, i.e. negativity.

    He suddenly raised from his work couch, and bashed himself into the bed, covering his face, saying that his head was paining, and he wanted sleep, when I knew, that his working hours (from home) were still on.


    (10th November, 2015)

    It was my garbage disposal day, and I was about taking up every bit and piece of scratches from the entire house, when I found screwed up pieces of empty paper lying outside his room (and they were many in number). Well, as I have always been a conservative sort of a person, I rushed in saying, “why are you wasting these papers, wasting wasting all the time”, and to my surprise, he never fought back with agitation or vehemence against this……just kept quiet, looking out of the window panes…. “what are you staring at? I am talking to you”, I said, only to hear a “hmm” from him.

    I was really agitated, I wondered whether, all these IT workers are equally unmindful, I kept mumbling things, so that he could overhear them, I felt he was ignoring me, just not listening, not bothering to answer, just rubbish!


    (13th November, 2015)

    “what kind of coffee is this??? Can’t you even make a decent coffee for me???”, Sanjay, picked up the cup and bashed it on the floor, in retaliation of a small argument we were having on a character in the TV serial. He pushed aside and was heading towards the door to just exit the house, when I constantly trying to block his way, so he just went inside and put himself inside bed, with his head covered.

    This was very strange, Sanjay has never been an angry person, he never reacted harsh even at the worst fights. I used to shout during arguments, but he always kept calm, but since sometime now, I was seeing a different side in his personality, and I was afraid, the symptoms were identifiable, since I have been through the same, during a certain period of my life.


    (14th November, 2015)

    ‘……. depression makes a person lethargic, you don’t wish to wake up, you don’t wish to do anything constructive………. a person either eats too much or quits food……….. sudden motions of crying can occur…….’, I had psychology as my 2nd minor subject in my graduation syllabus, and I had an un-defining interest towards the theories. Today I am going through the lessons again. 2008-2010 had been the period of depression in my life, during which my life was reduced to half, I never wished to wake up, I never wished to move from a place, I spoke rudely, as rudely as I could with my mom, my mind was blank, except for one fixative thought, that I was helpless, everything was over. And now, I was seeing the same things happening with my dear husband. I could analyse that Sanjay is suffering from a lack of self-worth. He feels that he is wasting his time, not doing his job properly, not doing any constructive study (though it had nothing to do with his office performance, he got appreciated every day for his leading abilities), but it is his thought, that whatever he is doing is useless, and this is leading to depression. And because he does not want to face anything, he prefers sleeping most of the time in the day. Small discussions often lead to a big fight now. He keeps venting out his frustrations and agitations in these heated discussions. I want to help him.


    (16th November, 2015)

    “Sanjay, wake up darling, look outside, such a beautiful sunny morning today, let’s go out, take a walk”. Sanjay was unwilling though, but I insisted him with a steaming cup of beaten coffee.

    We went out, we walked for a while near the riverbank which is trodden by the maple ducks, behind our condominium.

    “Dear, I know you are worried these days, but you know something, whatever I may say, when I am angry, but I believe in my heart, that you are the best man, the best husband on earth… Sanjay, I love you, you are important to me, your life is important to me, I am learning from you every day…..”

    He looked at me with admiration and started… “you know, I don’t know, what is happening to me these days, I feel I am wasting everything, I am not studying new things, in our industry, this lag can cost us enormously, I am not updating myself, and that is a crime.. but I do not even feel the urge to do it, I feel everything is finished within me”.

    I listened to him calmly, he spoke for one and half hours at a stretch, after a long long time, sitting on a bench near the brook, ducks quacking sometimes, in the otherwise silent area. He was speaking his mind, and I was happy.

    A person in depression needs to be listened. I knew, if I had to help him, I need to be a blank wall first, on which he will project his mind. A depressed person wants to share, needs to be heard, and when he gets a small support from a loved one, he wants to speak. This surge of emotions is very important for a depressed person, because, if the negativity is not let out the thoughts, it might become a serious problem, and turn the person towards suicidal attempts.


    (25th November 2015)

    I have started spending more time with him, he sometimes, doesn’t want to reply, but I insist that he speaks with me, I speak with him on good things, about his childhood stories in school, or mine. We have started watching movies together oftener, he loves the sci-fi thrillers in English, and I try to enjoy them with him.

    Sometimes he bursts out at me, disturbed, but I do not react back, for I know, I cannot take his words personally. He needs to be cured, it is his depression, not him.


    (25th December, 2015)

    “Let’s call our friends for dinner tonight”, I proposed. I was shocked and amazed, that he agreed, because since long, he preferred to be left alone, but today it was different. He really enjoyed being with friends in the past, I knew it, and a get together on Christmas could be a moment of celebration, which could make him happy and lively.

    It is important to create more celebrating events, to engage people who are suffering from depression.

    After the lovely dinner, and hilarious discussions, I felt that Sanjay was really laughing, it’s been a century as if, that I have seen him cheering (he had always been a humorous person though), I felt happy. That night, before going to bed, I said, “dear, I am always there with you, never feel yourself alone.”


    (25th January 2016)

    There is no point, consoling a person in depression with words like “look on the bright side”, “count your blessings” etc. these “muft ka gyaan”, never helps. Even the Deepika Padukone videos won’t help a depressed person rejuvenate with the assurance, that if a celebrity can be depressed, I can be depressed too, rather, it will pass off more negativity into the depressed person, because depression is contagious too. :/


    (13th Feb., 2016)

    ………. While I was about to give up hope, Sanjay came up to me, with a smile he said, “I want my Valentine gift in advance, what is there for me this year?”… “yes I know I have spoilt your surprise, but that is how I am, you know”, he was once again speaking like before, I felt happy. “you have been through my tough time, you took all the bad words from my side with patience, and today I have learnt to appreciate myself…”, Sanjay was saying these words, and I was feeling in my mind ‘yes yes of course, I am great you know‘ because the sense of joy that was ongoing in me, was beyond explanation.Then he surprised me with a bouquet of flowers, my best valentine day gift ever.

    It is very important to be patient with a loved one who is in depression. At times, maybe we can’t really help, but trying is important before it turns very serious. During this phase, I have also realized, that it is important to keep yourself strong, and firm in your intention, because the sense of depression in your partner can also pull you down. If you find you cannot cure him/her, convince him for medical therapy from a specialist.

  • 09 Feb
    Oyindrila Basu

    A Clean India, free from taboos, stigmas and misconceptions


    Clean India is Happy India
    “Nanhi, was dancing across the fields of daffodil, singing ‘phulon ke mele’, in clear voice, and as she comes across a group of little children (slightly younger than her), she recites out long verses of nature poems in perfect eloquent pattern. A speech which could not be clearer, sharper, and more attractive to a group, at the same time, the voice so melodious, happy, that it sang and spoke…….. suddenly there was a ringing…………triinnnnnnnnnnngg!!!!!!!!!!.................  Nanhi woke up, hastily crawled out of her bed, with her head constantly shaking to the right….. her mother came in and asked, ‘Have you brushed your teeth, child?’ to which she replied ‘nnnnnn no mmmm mum, I’llll, jjj just dddooo it.’ Agitated with her own neurological problems and stammering, she spitted her morning miff into the wash basin…” (experience of a 9-years old child from Punjab, named Nanhi..)

    We all know thatBharat Humko Jaan Se Pyaara hai, but can just missions like #SwachhBharat, really clean up India and make it perfect for our habitation?


    It's time, that we, Indians take some therapy for our mental health. This is the need of the hour.


    It's time that children like Nanhi, does not dream of a perfection, but actually feel perfect and happy in the Indian society. It's time, that more like her, need not sing and recite in the dream, as to cover up the speech problems they have in actuality, because nobody is bothering to accept and treat them, rather, is mocking them and putting them to a corner with the tag, ‘mentally challenged’, or ‘special child’ and these days, may be, some better words.


    It’s important for India, to work towards developing sensitivity for human race in general, rather than working on improved vocabulary, to tag them.


    There are several notions that India, and its people need to understand for mental wellness of each other.


    It is important to note that people who are struggling with some disability, be it physical or mental, are some like us, but slightly unfortunate, because they may not have the gift of gab to sweep everyone off their feet, or may not be able to actually shake their belly to #HipsDontLie.


    But it is important for them to assess their self-worth and reconstruct themselves in a new way, in which they can reflect their creativity better.


    But when India, still bears the stigma on issues like virginity and rape, how can mental health be promoted among  individuals of the nation, especially the victims of such incidents, who are fighting to regain mental stability?


    It is essential, that taboos, and misconceptions be removed from society, so that victims, who have suffered a trauma, do not have to go through a greater trauma again, while trying to breathe properly in this society. Programs should be promoted to help people understand the problems and pain of #VictimsOfTrauma.


    Prejudice and misconception is a global problem.

    People struggling with some kind of fear and anxiety should be approached sensitively. Sometimes, the person in anxiety can utter misconstrued ideas, or haphazard words. Generally, people avoid them with an attitude of rejection, calling them ‘mad’ or ‘eccentric’. Basically, any behaviour, which does not match with the majority, is tabooed as abnormal.


    On this ground, a person who is more able intellectually and can frame up ideas, yet not cultivated, are also ‘mad’, for e.g. Einstein was also mad as according to general people.


    A person who is against social customs, and likes to lead life individually is also ‘mad’.


    But this kind of rejection or prejudice, can have deep impacts on the mental health of an individual. It is important to acknowledge each other’s strength and understands the weaknesses, in order to be in good mental health. Making someone feel small, weak or retarded cannot prove us stronger. In fact, it portrays the poor understanding and mental ability that we possess, which urges us to stigmatize someone, in order to establish ourselves and our behaviour, as normal and better.


    Only education can enlighten nations. Prejudice and self-constructed ideas, flow down like an epidemic disease. Removing it, is a great task. Education and awareness about mental health is very important.


    Even today, many in India, feel that counselling is for mad fellows. Anyone suffering from mental illness should visit the temples, because someone might have performed some witchcraft.


    "Most of the time you would have parents or teachers saying it doesn't happen here. It happens to somebody with a lot of problems, and we don't face that. When it comes to anything of mental illness, it would be a big no-no... it would be hidden," Kandayparker says, who is a child psychologist in South India.


    Each school should include psychology or mental wellness as a subject in the curriculum, as they do moral science. The function of the both are quite similar, but more emphasis should be given to understanding the mind so that we can address each other’s problems and try to help solve them. A podium should be created for open discussions on mental problems in educational sectors.


    Different kinds of behavioural weaknesses should be discussed, like stammering, OCD, phobia etc. so that the root cause of each is known, and we can be more sensible the next time we find someone who says ‘don’t’ as ‘ddd do do do donnn’t’, or who is writing ‘b’ as ‘d’.


    Colleges should focus more on rational learning with logical analysis because change should come within us. Generally, people have a tendency to laugh at anyone who is different from them. If a person falls over banana skin, we laugh, and not help him stand up. If someone is wearing tacky clothes, we laugh or criticize. If someone is getting his/her sums wrong, we laugh. Basically we laugh at other’s inability. To change this attitude, we need to learn how to appreciate other’s ability. Trainings should be given from young age, as to how we can understand the causative of a particular event, so that instead of laughing, we can find a solution.

    Then, Rohits will no longer require #Jadoo to gain mental prowess.  The society itself can do the #Magic.

    Our economic departments should also make this field an employable area, so that people can develop an interest towards learning about mental health and rationality.

     #Ishan and #Antara have been portraying the pain of mentally disabled children on TV and big screen, and their stories have touched our hearts, but it is unfortunate, that even today, parents are upset if child does not start singing hymns, right after 8 months of age. Parents in India, still force their children to match up in the rat race for highest grades, even if their intellect prefers to do something else. Appreciating a good film is very different from understanding what mental wellness is. India, as well as the world in general should appreciate the special qualities of an individual, rather than comparing him/her to the mass.


    DIANE VAN DEREN, suffered from epilepsy, undergoing grand mal seizures for years. She is a proficient athlete and her determination towards sports is so indomitable, that she decided to undergo a brain surgery in 1997, which meant further risk of permanent brain damage, or dying. But she kept up her spirit, as she wanted mental health restored, and symptoms of epilepsy relieved.


    Now she is 52, and Van Deren finished the 1,000-mile Mountain to Sea Trail in North Carolina on Saturday, June 2, 2012. Her 22-day run set a record for the course, which had never been accomplished in less than 24 days before. Van Deren says she is now through with 1,000-mile races, but will continue in 50- and 100-mile events.


    Such inspiring stories always charge us up. It is our duty to pass down this positivity to others who are struggling with some weakness or shortcoming. NGOs can function towards the notion, or even we can use the social media to convey our message to the society, where not only a sufferer, but also a normal individual can understand the essence of promoting mental wellness.


    When each of us lends a hand forward for making others happy, the world will be a different place, India will be a new India

     A CleanIndia, free from taboos, stigmas and misconceptions,

    An educated India, (where growing up, doesn’t mean throwing up your old values, rather applying what you learn in school)

    An aware India, more sensitive and sensible India.

    Image source

  • 08 Feb
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Why listening to sad tunes makes you feel good

    girl listening sad tune

    Have you ever felt that listening to sad tunes or music makes you feel good?

    well, you are not alone! Majority of people who listen to sad music feel pleasant and ambivalent emotions connected to it, but they definitely do not feel sadder after listening to it. 


    Why does this happen?

    When you are sad, you do not go ahead and eat food. You do not like or visit places. You would rather not go anywhere or eat anything, or eat what you like and go where you like.


    Why does this phenomenon change around music?

    In fact, you even listen to sad music when you are not sad too. So, what’s happening?

    In a study done in Tokyo, it was found that sad music has both sad emotion and romantic emotion. Even though songs of a sad nature may talk about separating or splitting of a couple, you still tend to see the love of one or both parties as a positive, strong emotion.


    Secondly, when listening to sad music, you think of it as a performance. The sad events in the song are happening to someone else and not us, therefore, you can view it from a distance and not get highly affected by it. Watching it from a distance gives us a kind of perspective that you may not have when viewing problems up close, when they happen to us in our life.


    Another important and interesting finding of the study is that this finding was maintained regardless of the musical experience of the person. Therefore, a trained musician and a layman felt similar emotions after a sad song, so, this has nothing to do with how musically oriented you are.

    The researchers of this study feel that listening to sad songs and gaining perspective can help you alleviate the negative emotions you feel in real life. You think that, as music has a somewhat unconscious impact as well, you may learn to deal with the negative emotion in your life without actively approaching it.

    This could be beneficial for many people who are in denial about a lot of aspects, like the loss of a loved one. This could be an indirect way for them to get better.

    Therefore, there are implications here for the therapeutic value of music. Just like children can be taught a lot of things through games, because they feel the game is happening to its characters and not to them, they do not feel the threat of a negative consequence and will learn better. Similarly, even adults can gain to learn a lot and process a lot of grief and sadness through sad music, which they cannot solve directly because of the heaviness of the grief.

    This is perhaps why a lot of classical Indian ragas also have very intense, sad notes, in order for the audience to subconsciously sort their negative and sad emotions and to emerge with pleasant emotions in the process.

    References: 1 2 3


    Responses 1

    • Anjali Khurana
      Anjali Khurana   Sep 04, 2016 09:05 PM

      When you listen sad song you feel like someone else is also in same situation like you and you are not alone. Some people also feel happy to think that the person who sang this song can understand their emotions, so it's like finding someone who understand you. This feeling makes you little better, also it helps you to deal with the negative emotion in your life without actively approaching it. Having said that some sad songs can have negative impact as well on some people. This is not a proven method for treatment. This article is more of an analysis how sad songs can steer someone's thought process for some time.

  • 08 Feb
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    10 reasons why you should follow your passion to avoid burnout

    Follow your passion


    We do say casually that following one’s passion is good, but we never follow through. Why does this happen? Perhaps the real benefits of following your passion, which has tangible outcomes, are not known to you.



    Some benefits you would see when you follow your passion are given below. We also explain for each point why it helps to avoid burnout.


    Brain chemicals: When you do things that you like, your brain secretes hormones like dopamine which makes you feel good, and makes you want to continue the work. It battles the stress you would feel and thus prevents burn out. Therefore, following passion helps to avoid burnout.


    Immunity: When you are stressed, you tend to activate your sympathetic nervous system, which affects your immunity in the long run. This happens when you do something you don’t like, day in and day out.


    Meaningfulness: The human mind searches for meaningfulness. When you do something that bores us, that you do not enjoy, it slowly fatigues the brain over time and makes you feel highly stressed. When you follow your passions, the opposite happens. You find it meaningful and therefore, your brain feels active.


    Growth: Be it career related growth or personal growth, it will not happen if you do something you do not like or find boring. Growth will only happen if you feel invested in the task. Therefore, you should follow your passion and see yourself grown over time.


    Skills: You would have heard of the countless cases when parents tried to put children in hobby classes that the child did not like, and nothing came out of. If a child likes music, he would really learn a lot of skills from the same guitar class which another child hates to the core. Therefore, you learn skills only when your mind feels invested in the task you are doing. Learning skills means accomplishing more than you could before, in lesser time. Therefore, you get more efficient at what you are doing, and this prevents burnout.


    People: If you love what you do, you tend to be open-minded and learn from other people around us. You want to absorb as much as you can from others and improve our skills. You also have better relationships when you are doing something you like. Think about it, is a fight more likely after you feel you have wasted your time, or after you have enjoyed your time at work?


    Happiness: Perhaps the core reason why following your passion prevents burnout is because it makes you happy. When you are happy, you feel less pain and misery and get easily energized. As opposed to when you are not doing things you like, you feel more annoyed and irritated. A 75-year study from Harvard found that even if happy people fall ill, they feel less pain and can bear it easily, as compared to unhappy people!


    Money: The big question is of course, about money. Will I earn well if I follow my passion? well, why not? Did you know, recently, thousands of engineers in India, applied for the post of peons? Our herd mentality crowded all the engineering colleges, and now we have way too many engineers and few jobs. Therefore, it’s not necessary that one particular career has money. The rise may be slow or fast, but if you follow your passion and get better than the rest, money will also follow.


    Breaks: your mind is unconsciously working even when you take breaks. If you like the task you are doing, the breaks will not only bring you break refreshed, but you may solve some hurdles via your unconscious thinking while on the break!


    Uniqueness: This is a very important factor. your passion helps you to build your uniqueness. When you hone and sharpen this uniqueness, you will feel very confident of yourselves, and at the same time, will have a good market value for your unique skills too!



  • 07 Feb
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    11 tips help you to negotiate a salary

    job interview and negotiation skill

    Job interviews can be anxiety provoking at times and it can be difficult to say your bit. However, research shows that being able to negotiate means you may get a better job role and higher salary, among other perks.

    When going for a job interview, the interviewers are obviously the party with more power. So, let them do their bit first, which means let them get done with their questions. When they are done, they would inform you of the role, salary and other aspects of the job. This is where you negotiate, but don’t rush. Hear them out.


    Then, start with, “If I understand you right..” and recapture a summary of what they say. It is also a good place to seek clarification of what you did not understand. This will ensure them that you heard them, are interested and also that you do respect whatever they said.


    Then, while mentioning their points of comfort, add yours too. For example, saying,

    “I agree that I am a fresher and that maybe a concern to you, but I have done excellent work in my academic projects and can easily translate that to work. Can you let me know what benefits I would have of being a fruitful employee?”

    If you observe closely, the framing of this sentence is such that you have talked as if you assumed both that you WILL be a fruitful employee and that you WILL get benefits, but are just asking what and how much. They may say something vague, like ‘let’s take it as it goes’. To which, you could say, “Oh, so you mean appraisals? Could you tell me when the first appraisal would be?”

    Therefore, the trick is not to let them get away with something vague but to give you some level of commitment. Even if you cannot get a salary hike then and there, perks, or a sure-shot appraisal is also a good deal.


    Communication experts suggest the following points in order to persuade and negotiate well:

    • Listen carefully to the arguments of the other party and assess the logic of their reasoning
    • Clarify issues you are not clear about by asking how, why, where, when and what questions.
    • List all the issues which are important to both sides and identify the key issues.
    • Identify any personal agendas. Question generalisations and challenge assumptions.
    • Identify any areas of common ground.
    • Understand any outside forces that may be affecting the problem.
    • Keep calm and use assertive rather than aggressive behaviour.
    • Use tact and diplomacy to diffuse tensions.
    • Remember :NO is a little word with big power!
    • Use both verbal and non-verbal persuasion skills.
    • Use open, encouraging body language such as mirroring, not defensive or closed.
    • Know when to compromise. Offer concessions where necessary, but minor ones at first.
    • Distinguish between needs: important points on which you can't compromise
    • and interests where you can concede ground.
    • Allow the other party to save face if necessary via small concessions.
    • Make sure there is an agreed deadline for resolution
    • Decide on a course of action and come to an agreement.
    • The final agreement needs to be summarised and written down at the conclusion of the negotiations.
    • Plan for alternative outcomes if you can't reach agreement.

    References: 1 2 3




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