HindustanTimes Sun,03 Aug 2014

Zara raise your hand and tell me how many of you have ever fought with your parents about not wanting to meet or talk to relatives very often, while they insist that you do. I can suddenly sense a whole lot of teenaged hands up ... regardless of which part of India, or the world, you are in.

When 16-year-old Raunak mailed me about ‘the pressure of having to communicate with relatives’, he challenged that it ranks right up there when it comes to tension points in a family with grown-up kids. Got vigorous nods from my very young team when I asked them if meeting rishtedaars is a stress factor in their lives.

Even though I’d written about this topic long time back, their faces confirmed that an injection of calmness is badly needed. Vaise like most other topics, I’m pretty unqualified to advise on this one, too. I love my relatives, but I have no doubts about them not feeling so kind towards me, because of my sheer unresponsive nature. My family has practically given up even on complaining that I don’t take calls, wish on anniversaries or have Sunday lunches at chacha’s or bua’s or mama’s place. I feel terribly guilty about it but somewhere I know that they know that I don’t need to do this to prove that I’m there for them. Anyway, coming back to the stress, my conversation with a few teenagers and young adults had them utter things like these ... My parents insist that we visit our relatives at least twice a week. I hate it. My mom keeps handing me the phone, asking me to wish relatives on random occasions. I don’t even know what to say in these conversations. I don’t have cousins of my age at my Nani’s place. I get very bored. My mother keeps nudging me, in front of everyone, to greet and talk properly to uncles and aunties. I am EIGHTEEN years old! I love the last one, since I’ve watched a whole generation of ‘beta-namaste-karo’ parents with a lot of amusement, specially in North India. Random, but damn interesting things get said in a Punjabi household — ‘Aunty ko pehchaana? Yeh Ruby aunty ke brother ki padosi thi, jab tum 6 months ke the’.
Or the more common — ‘Bete, uncle se achhe se milo!Vaise, what on earth means ‘achhe se milna’? In today’s context, this instruction can have hilarious, or alarming, connotations but I guess the emphasis here is that the youngster gives due respect to the elder relative. It’s important for parents to, however, realise that no matter how good your intention is, respect can’t be extracted out of a person by making him or her feel embarrassed or awkward in front of others. Just saying. Anyway, here’s what I have to say to Raunak, and anyone who has the stress of a forced yaari with rishtedaari :)

1. Give and take: Healthy interpersonal communication, be it with friends or colleagues or relatives, is all about it being both-ways. You can make a face and crib about a rishtedaar, but remember that the relative might be doing the same about you, or will soon start doing it. No one in this life keeps showering unconditional love even if you don’t respond, except for your parents. At this age, surrounded by friends, it may seem to you that you don’t care. But eventually in life, it never hurts to have a strong bond with the extended family, if possible. And it’s not as tough as it seems. In older generations, with families having 6-7 kids, people had multiple uncles and aunts. Ab toh ya chacha hai, ya bua hai. You either have a mama or a mausi. With more and more couples opting for a single child, your kid is not even going to have those. Why not cherish the bond if you are lucky to have them? Family re-unions are so much fun when you remember to leave your attitude at home.

2. Technology to rescue: Jaao Mark Zuckerberg bhaiya ke charan chhoo ke aao. Thanks to Facebook, it’s so damn easy to wish a happy birthday to Ruby aunty ke bhai ki padosi ki aunty. Or to flaunt updated information about cousins in front of your parents. Now we know more about what’s going on in relatives’ lives than ever before. Like their vacation pic, drop-in a comment, show it to mom, and voila ... all ‘beta namaste karo’ stress is gone! 

3. Talk to your folks: In case you still feel that your parents are overdoing this pressure-on-your-head thing about connecting with relatives, it’s best to have a frank chat with them. Without being disrespectful in any which way, and without losing your cool, tell mom and dad that you feel stressed about it. Unless you make random, generic statements like ‘I hate all relatives’ without a valid reason for disliking a specific person or persons, why wouldn’t your parents listen? Today’s parents are anyway so conscious about not burdening their kids with requests to accompany them anywhere. If unknowingly, they are putting you into an awkward spot by saying certain things or forcing you to interact with a relative who makes you feel uncomfortable, they have a right to know it from you. Trust your parents’ intention about wanting the best for you, and they’ll trust your intuition about what’ll make you uncomfortable. Simple! Really. Sonal Kalra thinks that she had started writing a pro-youngster column but it has turned out to be a pro-parents one. She’s sorry for giving so much gyaan but sometimes it works.

Mail her at or Follow on Twitter @sonalkalra

Recharged Bhajji goes shopping
Sanjjeev K Samyal & Ajay Aggarwal, Hindustan Times
Colombo, September 25, 2012
First Published: 00:34 IST(25/9/2012)
Last Updated: 00:38 IST(25/9/2012)
MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh at ODEL, shopping mall in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Team India will play their next ICC T20 World Cup cricket match on Friday. Ajay Aggarwal/Hindustan Times

Happy that Sunday night's hard work had paid off, the India players, deservedly, decided to put their feet up on Monday. While some of them chose to relax in the comfort of their rooms, others checked out the facilities at their plush Colombo hotel.

However, skipper MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh decided they wanted to spend their leisure time differently by scouring the stores and picking up items of their choice.

Around 2pm, Harbhajan, who was instrumental in mesmerising the clueless England batsmen with his off-spinners, appeared at the hotel entrance. Though he had Dhoni by his side, it was the former who was the cynosure of all eyes.

No sooner had they driven off in a luxury car did Virat and Yuvraj follow suit. Opener Gautam Gambhir also belonged to the shoppers' camp but he chose to comb the stores in the company of wife Natasha.

They made their way separately, but the converging point was ODEL --- Colombo's most famous shopping address.

Once there, the first halt for the quartet of Dhoni, Harbhajan, Yuvraj and Virat was the upscale Japanese restaurant, Nihonbashi.

Known for its lip-smacking menu, the India stars had their fill before they proceeded to check out what was on offer elsewhere.

While Dhoni's interest lay in the adventure sports section, the emphasis being on watches, apparels were what caught the fancy of Virat and Harbhajan. While the former checked out shorts, shirts and shoes, the latter focussed on pullovers and T-shirts.

Job done, Dhoni, Virat and Yuvraj got back to their cars, but were kept waiting by Harbhajan, who took care to choose his stuff. Probably, after his exploits on Sunday, that was his way of rewarding himself.

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t20 fixtures

Match Date Time Teams
1st 19/09/2012 10:00 GMT | 15:30 IST AUS vs IRE
2nd 19/09/2012 14:00 GMT | 19:30 IST AFG vs IND
3rd 20/09/2012 14:00 GMT | 19:30 IST SA vs ZIM
4th 21/09/2012 10:00 GMT | 15:30 IST NZ vs BAN
5th 21/09/2012 14:00 GMT | 19:30 IST AFG vs ENG

t20 standings

Chennai Super Kings 4 2 2 0 0 -0.049 8
Sri Lanka 3 3 0 0 0 +0.998 6
Kolkata Knight Riders 4 1 2 0 1 +0.488 6
Perth Scorchers 4 1 2 0 1 -0.474 6
Auckland Aces 4 1 2 0 1 -0.963 6
Australia 3 2 1 0 0 +0.464 4
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