Monthly Archives: August 2012

Email and Phone Etiquette

“Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot!”

Clarence Thomas

Email etiquette tips
Britannica Encyclopaedia defines etiquette as the“system of rules and conventions that regulate social and professional behaviour”.

Email Etiquette Tips:

Email etiquette is nothing but the observation of such system of rules pertaining to the emails on the internet. The following are the simple tips to make your emails to look simplified as well as dignified:


1. Subject: The subject of your mail should refer to the body of the mail in a short form. Ex: Resume for the post of Vice President, Marketing or Party at Kumar’s place @ 4 PM etc.

2. Proper addressing of the recipient like Dear Sir/Madam, Hi, Greetings etc should be made depending on the personal or professional relationship with the recipient.

3. The first paragraph should spell out the reason for your mail: for example, “with reference to your letter” “Reference our telecom”, “We would like to introduce ourselves” and “Hi! How are you?” etc.

4. Coming to the matter itself, it should be spelled out in a precise tone, without aggressive tenor, way too many excuses, threatening remarks and the work.

5. Grammatical errors: It is mandatory that you should check your mails for spelling errors and punctuation marks before sending.

6. Keep it precise: Too long a mail, people would get bored, too short, your mail may not convey what you had wanted to, too many enclosures, people would get hassled about and you write too much about yourself, no body bothers to read, except your mom, of course!

7. No Spamming: Do not spam other people’s mail ids. You don’t read the spam mails, do you? Nor do the others.

8. There is no need to add the time and the date in your mails, as by default, the mail will show these details to the receiver.

9. End: At the end of your mail, write your name, your work designation, your complete office address and your phone number, if the mail is official. It would be better if you could fill these details in the signature column in the settings, making the appearance of the details automated.

10. Your personal mail will look nice if you could add a nice quote after your signature at the end of the mail.

11. CapsLock:Typing your mail in ALL CAPS is a criminal offense, unfortunately not recognized by the law, but poses a great strain to the eyes of the reader. That should never be done.

12. Emails should better be used for basic non emotional communication and not for sending the condolence messages, marriage proposals and such important real life details.

13. With today’s technology, it’s easy to copy & paste anything on the mail, thinking that your recipient will enjoy the info. It may not be true. You should control your urge of sharing everything with everyone.

Phone Etiquette Tips:

What you say in between “Hi!” and “Bye” is the most important feature of the phone etiquette

1. Do not bark, repeat, do not bark on the phone if you are upset, irritated or hurt due to some reason.

That is the worst offense as far as the phone etiquette is concerned.Chances are that the person on the other line could turn out to be an important person to you.

2. Do not ever give missed calls on someone’s mobile. If you want to say something to someone, it would be better if YOU call them!

3. Do not repeatedly say the same thing again and again on the phone. Recitation classes are long over in the grown ups world!

4. Try to keep the conversation short and simple. There could be others trying to talk to the person on the other line.

5. Always keep a pen and notepad handy if you may have to note down something on the phone. Keeping the receiver hanging, while you search for the writing instruments may irritate the person on the other end.


1. What should I do if the recipient of my mail does not follow the email etiquette?
You can still be polite and show fine manners hoping that the recipient shall take the hint from you.


2. Sometimes I shall have to shout on the phone to be heard when I am commuting in the crowded areas or I am in the market place.
Sure the person on the other end shall understand if he is told of the reason. We all go to the market and we all commute to work.

Smita’s Advice

Writing is not enough: you should write in the proper manner. Speaking is not enough: you should speak in a well-mannered way.

Like Thomas Sowell says,

“Politeness and consideration for others is like investing pennies and getting dollars back”.

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How to be good parent ?

Your cute son, all of seven comes back home from school and you notice a few differences that you had noticed

How to be a good parentlast week also. For one, he is wearing a cap backward. Two; his cute little cowboy shirt is un-tucked and there is a make belief chain made of silver paper around his neck and his wrist. Last but not the least, his shoes are unlaced.

Oh, yes! His new name is Matt-Dogg and he insists to be called this all times from today, as he wants to be a famous rapper. By the way, I hope that you had not forgotten that last week, the erstwhile Matt-Dogg was Indiana Jones, as he wanted to be an actor.

So ladies, welcome to such ironical and many more situations of parenthood, which are guaranteed to stump you every minute of the day. Like the above-mentioned case did. The problem with such a situation is that, you neither know whether to support your child or oppose your child’s ideas and uniqueness.
Saying that striking a balance between both is easy enough. However, implementing the same effectively is rocket science of a different kind. Hence, you ought to know what to do and we are here to help you.
I will clear it outright that there is no hard and fast rule, which will help you to be a good parent. This is not algebra that you can substitute a particular formula and get away with step marking, even if the answer is wrong.


• Free Rope: Smothering your kid with what you have always wanted will never make you a successful parent. It does take considerable technique to embed your ideas and thoughts into your children. Please do not force them to do everything that you think is right. Let them explore and come up with something. Also, try to implant family values and certain rules right from the beginning so that it might someday be implemented successfully.

• Embrace the Difference: If you love your child and do not want them to hide things from you, try to like what they like. If you think that your kid will be a ballet dancer, because you are, or go to Princeton, just because all of your family did will crush your views once you discover that your child is different.

• The Art of Saying No: If you think that saying yes to everything your kid is doing will make you a good parent, now is the time you change that view. Supporting or giving plenty of free rope to your kid does not necessarily mean to let them do whatever they want. Therefore, make sure that you learn to say no on some instances.

• Listen: Hear out to your child’s views because things are tough for them too. Forcing your views upon them would only worsen things.

• Be popular: Try to be popular by mixing with her or his friends and playgroups.

FAQsparenting skills

• When do I know that my kid is a problem child?

When you find yourself tired of negotiating with every little thing that is going on into your child’s life. He is unable to focus on things and behaves very differently, which could be too aggressive or too subdued.

• Sometimes I yell at my kids and they usually end up crying. Is there any way to stop?
The best thing to do would be to practise talking with your child. Ask yourself and try to analyse in a cool mind, what makes you so short tempered or “what made me shout like that?” Take the help of your spouse as well.

• How do I control the temper of my child, when she refuses to listen to me?

Very important is you stay calm. Don’t react. Try to distract her. Look for the reason of her anger. Try talking to her about it, once she has cool down.

Smita’s Advice

Being a parent is not easy and trust me, it will never be easier. What you should try to do is, make sure that you celebrate and reward their successes and punish their extra nosiness. However, overdoing any of them will be bad for both you and your child.

In beautiful words of William D. Tammeus:

“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.”


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Time Management

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller,   Louis Pasteur,   Michelangelo,   Mother Teresa,  Leonardo da Vinci,   Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.”   - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Wikipedia defines Time management as, “the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity? ”.Importance of Time Management

We define time by its short stature. We are always short of time. We mostly end up reaching late to our places of academics, work, meetings, workouts, lunch and stuff like. We fall short of time in case of the completion of the presentation materials and projects.

The short stature of time is easily a curable one. You see, the time is a flexible tool and is easily stretchable, if we can only analyze our own shortfalls and heal our own issues. If we can plan forward and stick to our schedule, time would be an excellent tool in our hands. Easy, isn’t it? It is!!


1.Primary Task : The primary task in the time management is to find out the avenues in which you fritter away your time the most. It could be your sitting in front of the television set for hours, while there are important tasks pending to be tackled by you. There could be a hundred other channels through which you might be wasting your time, while there are projects pending to be completed or tasks waiting to be finalized with. You need to find out your weakness which consumes your important time and should put a cork on it firmly.

2. To Do List : We all have our endless work schedule, home schedule, family schedule and then some more! Note down, “Things to do” and list out all the tasks to be completed that day.

3. Prioritise: “The most important tasks” should conquer the first few places, followed by non-important tasks, followed by the tasks that can be delegated to the others.

4. Take Charge: Focus on completing such tasks yourselves that involves family, tasks that would push your career graph up and tasks that are imperative for your health and well being. The rest shall become easier to handle then.

5. Forbid the distractions: The ringing of your phone(s), a quick tempting glance at the emails, notification from one of your social networking forums, background noise from your television, the chat window which suddenly pops open with a nice “hello”, dragging you into its net… Well, close the doors on the face of all these distractions while you are attending to your most important tasks, period.

6. Procrastination: It is to put off doing a task habitually due to laziness or even carelessness. Of all the enemies of your time management, here is the five star rated villain. So, no procrastination!

7. Get Organised: Clutter, clutter and well, more clutter: Whether it is your actual desktop or your virtual desktop, keep your files, folders and other things in an orderly fashion. Whether it is your home or office, learn to be organized. This shall make it easier for you to locate a tool or an instrument that may be needed at the time of the execution of your tasks.

8. Take a Short Break: As you are not a robot, you should take a break for ten minutes in between your ‘accomplished’ tasks. Stretch your legs and go for a small walk, have some more coffee and be back at the desk exactly in ten minutes or whatever the short break time that would be suitable for you.

9. Completing is Important: Its fine even if you work on a slow pace and as long as you work according to your prioritized list, being slow should not be an issue.

10. Incentive: Have you completed your scheduled tasks well on time? Patter on your back and give a small incentive to yourself. It’s always good to feel good!


1. Why organizing your home, office or desktop is important for time management?time management skills

While you are working on a project or trying to complete a task, if you are going to search for an email out of hundreds in your inbox, search for gem clips, paper clips or a punching machine when you need one in a hurry, you will be wasting tens and tons of minutes every single time. Keeping things organized shall help you in reaching out to the right thing having kept at the right place in a jiffy, thereby saving your precious time.

2. I need a break in between work and hence, I need the distractions. Is there any harm in listening to music or glancing at the mails or saying hi! to the chat window?

There is no harm in listening to music or glancing mail. But, saying Hi! over chat will be distraction, because it won’t stop there and will take your lot of time Your work shall get delayed. You shall take a break “after completing” the task and not while you are on your task.

3. I spend lot of time in commuting. Can you suggest how can I use that time productively? I commute by bus.

You don’t need to waste time and twiddle your thumbs. Always take something to do with you, book to read or just a blank pad of paper that you can use to plan your meeting or write your next days To Do list . Technology has made things easier, your cell phone have lot of features which you can use to make your commute productive.

Smita’s Advice

Time Management shall be easier if you plan well, execute well and shall reap the benefits accordingly.

 Just look at what Earl of Chesterfield had said:

“I recommend you take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves”.

You do and it does!

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Solving puzzles and riddles


“The problems of puzzles are very near the problems of life, our whole life is solving puzzles. If you are hungry, you have to find something to eat. But every day problems are very mixed – they’re not clear. problem depends just on you. You can solve it independently.  But to find happiness in life, you’re not independent. That’s the only big difference”

•Santiz Erno Rubik 

brain teasers

Puzzles and riddles have always intrigued us for ages. There is always this wonderful inquisitiveness, an eager to search for the final destination, a hundred ways and means of reaching out to the solution and looking in awe at the person who had solved the puzzle well before us!

Just like we do physical exercise to keep our body fit, the puzzles and riddles helps us to keep our mind healthy. They are the means of our mental exercise, to keep us alert, awake and aware of the various combination of the solution, similar to our reaching real solutions to our multiple problems in our real life. They help us to improve on our memory, sharpen our brain and reduce the chances of our developing diseases like Alzheimer, dementia etc.

Games like Cross words, jigsaw puzzles, Chess, Sudoku, Rubik’s Cube etc. are our own brain bashers and brain teasers. They throw challenge to us and teach us lesson of life. They teach us to think before we make a move in life, possible outcomes, keeping a time count, staying flexible etc.

Now, how to improve on our capability to solve the puzzles and riddles?


  On Puzzles:-

 1. Refer to websites: There are thousands of puzzle based websites available on the net: practice playing on the net, trying to solve the puzzles and thereby, getting a knack of developing your ingenious ways and means of solving them.

2. Discuss with the other players: A lot of puzzle based web sites have got their members forums for discussions on the various issues and problems relating to the solutions for the puzzles. Make use of them. Ask questions and understand the logic behind the various combinations of the puzzles.

3. Don’t loose heart: After trying just for a few minutes or sometime, don’t loose patient and don’t turn to the answer page. You are worth more and should be able to try and crack open the puzzle and draw out a solution from it. There are no ready made answers for your real life issues and you do solve them somehow, isn’t it? Apply the same psychology here!

4. Take help from the inanimate objects: You may need the help of a dictionary, a thesaurus book, a pencil to note down your reasoning as well.

5. Patterns and Logic: You should look for patterns and use your logic to locate the missing piece in the pattern.

 On Riddles -

     “A riddle is a statement or question or phrase having a double or veiled meaning, put forth as a puzzle to be solved. Riddles are of two types: enigmas, which are problems generally expressed  in metaphorical or allegorical language that require ingenuity and careful thinking for their solution, and conundrums, which are questions relying for their effects on punning in either the question or the answer.

- Wikipedia, the free Encyclopaedia.

1. Types of Riddles: As Wiki says there are two types of riddles and you should be able to understand what you are dealing with before you even start working on your riddle. That’s the primary requirement of any riddle.

2. Misleading Riddles: Riddles are meant to mislead you into thinking a response which may not be true. The only way to solve the riddle is to think from outside the box and not to take into account the obvious answer.

3. Multiple Meanings: Every word has multiple meanings. Take into account all the meanings and then, try to fit the right one into the riddle.

4. Use what’s available: There is nothing wrong in using the hints, cheats, tips and tricks that are available all over the net. You can also take the help from the friendly riddle forums for solutions.


Q Though I like to play the games of puzzles and riddles,I just can’t continue if I don’t get it right in a short while.I simply refer to the solutions page. How to go about it?

 Rubik’s Cube

Turning to the solutions page is the most natural thing to do in case of the puzzles and riddles for a lot of people.However, as these games are of entirely different genre, they need a lot of patience, time, logical thinking, some mathematical skills and the works. You may even need to take the help of thesaurus, dictionary etc.The only solution to your problem is to do the impossible whenever you can. The more you play such games, the more you will learn the skills and your brain will start getting used to solving them. Above all, your brain will become sharp, more active; can draw multiple solutions for any issue and shall get a boost to your thought-process.

Q Can riddle solving be helpful in academic sphere?

Today’s corporate world aims at analysing more of an individual’s common sense and outlook to complex problems. Hence it is been observed that most competitive exams and entrance tests, such as GMAT, CAT, SAT etc  have incorporated riddles and application based problems.

Smita’s Advice

In a way, puzzles and riddles are an extension of our real life complications. They challenge us to solve their mystery and we are enthralled into taking up their mighty challenge too!

“Life is a puzzle. Sometimes it makes us laugh. Sometimes it makes us cry.”

There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.

-Deepak Chopra


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“…dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
       - William W. Purkey

 There was this amazing, yet so simple, rhythmic and spectacular dance sequence in the rain, in which Gene Kelly (Singing in the Rain, Title Song, 1952) was dancing accompanied simply by an umbrella and raindrops.”.”.salsa dancing

What a joy, bliss and happiness his body language and his face are expressing? How can anyone ever depict the beauty of love and dancing this spectacular, without using the pen and paper, the paint brush and the camera?

I am sure the song should have become an instant rage at that point of time and should have touched the heart of even those people who could never dance and has got what they say as two left foots.

Great dancers are not necessarily be born; dancing can be learned like any other skill set.

Whether it is casual dancing, salsa dancing, club dancing, lap dancing, slow dancing, swing dancing, ballroom dancing or for that matter, any type of dancing, the following general tips shall be of some use to you:


1. Warm up Exercises: Before the actual dance, it is highly important to warm up and stretch your muscles; otherwise, you may get your muscles strained unnecessarily.

2. Prepare in coordination with the Mind: Dancing involves the complete co-ordination of mind, body and the movements. Mental preparation is as much importance as the physical preparation and dance practices. The films and the net are full of dance videos. Watch them and observe the dancers’ movements. Read the techniques in the dance magazines and practice under a good dance master. Be mentally prepared to dance in front of a whole lot of people. Visualize yourself to be on top of the world as far as your dance appearance is concerned.

3. Practice styles: Sitting Asian style and lying straight on the floor shall help a dancer immensely; practice sitting cross legged on the floor would help a dancer to practice in the steady flow of her hand movements; lying down shall help in finding out the basic body alignment. Any shortage in the right body alignment can then be remedied through exercise, diet and the works!

4. Facial expression and the Eyes! :An amazing smile and dazzling eyes can compensate even for a couple of wrong steps. Hence, be smiling both with your eyes and lips.

5. Hair Style: Hair style should be done in such a way that your hair should not fall all over your face and obstruct your observation of your partner’s dance movements. It’s better to keep your hair tied upwards or into a ponytail, so that you can dance in complete co-ordination with your partner.

6. Wearing suitable dress: Wearing attire completely suitable for your type of dance is important to feel comfortable, relaxed and stretchable; this would help in the fluid body movements. Too tight costume or quite loose costume shall hinder while dancing and you will be limited in your style and circles. Hence wear the costume which would give you the comfort feeling both from inside your heart and from outside on your body.

7. Dancing is a learning process: It’s rather a never ending learning process. Though no one can master all the dancing movements, you can earn a good name for being an amazingly natural dancer. Never feel unnerved about the steps yet to be learned, but be happy about the level you had reached in your dancing style.

8. Communication with your dancing partner: It is advisable to have a mutual understanding and personal communication with your partner on the steps, the rhythm, on the circles and curves, spins, lifts, timings and momentum, so that the flow of dance would move through both of you to the dance floor, reach the ceiling, cut across the space, thereby reaching your audience smoothly.

9. It’s OK to make mistakes: While dancing, if you make a mistake like stepping on your partner’s shoes, simply move on with your next steps; if you are going to hesitate for making a mistake, it will be noticed more by people, than if you have continued dancing with confidence as though nothing has happened.


1. It is important to follow the tricks and techniques being taught by your trainer. Dancing is a laborious process and wouldn’t

Folk dancing be possible to master in a short duration of time. Hence, instead of trying to rush in, take the required time to learn.

2. Practice, practice and well, more practice: Dancing, like music and public speaking, needs a lot of practising. So go ahead and practice whenever possible.

3. Exercise and diet is a couple of other important factors to implement in order to have an abundant energy that is required to keep up with the practice and the actual dancing sessions. Getting tired or getting disheartened is not the characteristics of a good dancer.

4. Instead of thinking that you have selected to be a dancer, think that dancing had generously selected you to be a part of it; how humbling a feeling that could be!

5. The other tips can be referred to as for the regular dancers.


Q Alone, I can dance very well; however, I am terrified of an audience and am sure to make mistakes and become

 ethnic dancenervous in front of them. How to get into the confident frame of mind?

All the performers invariably feel the pressure of performing in the public. The secret of a good dancer lies in her self confidence, great posture, and understanding with her partner on the dance moves, a lot of practice coupled with a relaxed frame of mind.

Q I tend to forget my steps easily which I learn in my dance class. What do I do to remember them?

If you practice your steps once or twice after coming back home, it will register in your mind. And keep doing it regularly. Practice will give finesse to your movements and you won’t forget them very easily.

Smita’s Advice

Dancing is an expression from the soul using the body as an instrument to reach across the tide of humanity. So go ahead and practice movements, practice self-confidence, practice relaxed mind frame and practice to match the movements with your partner.


“Dance is the hidden language of the soul”
                                              - Martha Graham

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Good Conversation


A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That’s why there are so few good 

conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.
Truman Capote

good conversationIn the series “The Undercover Boss USA”, (BBC Entertainment), if you would

have noticed, the CEO (the undercover boss)
of the companies makes it a point to ask about the families of their staff. You may also observe that the moment you ask about someone’s family, one’s face lights up like a 100 watt bulb and there is a lingering smile at the corners of one’s mouth.

People love to talk about themselves. Listen to them. A good conservationist should listen patiently to the others and then talk. A good conversation starts from there. When you listen to someone, then that someone will readily listen to you too


1. Conversation is like using grammar: Metaphorically speaking, your conversation should be grammatically correct, just like your writing is. When someone interrupts while you are talking, you should put a comma on your talk and should listen to him. When you complete your sentence, insert a period and listen to the other person’s response and so on.

2. Listening within a limit: Conversation should not mean listening to someone indefinitely: Some people just need a chance to open up and you will never see an end to their talks. If the conversation is not a two way street, you may as well square off the meet nicely and move on.

3. Compliment people: One of my friends always starts her conversation with, “You look nice”, this lipstick looks great on you”, “you have a lovely bag” etc. She always finds something to compliment about the other person, before starting the conversation. She has the knack of getting into a person’s heart and the other person is won over, hands down by her technique. Anything she says after that is always being listened to carefully. Compliment people!

4. Conversation with strangers(How to start a conversation): If you are in an art gallery, an exhibition, the museum or any such public places, you may always start talking about the art, the exhibition and museum pieces and the works. If you are in a party, the host can be of the subject of interest apart from the nice food, good atmosphere, great coffee, a mutual friend etc. However, a woman should always be careful on her conversation with the strangers. She should know when to stop and move on out of that place.

5. Body Language: In most of the office meets, people start fidgeting after a couple of hours, may be even before so. While a lengthy presentation is going on, some people yarn, some people engage themselves in an animated conversation with their colleagues, some people will be looking everywhere except on the podium etc. This makes the presenter to feel uncomfortable. Your body language depicts your interests, your focus, your involvement, your carelessness and your disrespect to the person who is trying to talk to you. Pay attention to the person on the other side of your conversation, so that he shall pay attention to you when you would be talking.

6. Conversation startersWeather of course is the major conversation starter. For a woman, a conversation starter could depend upon the familiarity of the person to whom she is talking. If he is quite known to her, she can starts and ends with any subject like work place, family, friends, TV serials, movies, sports etc. Conversation with less familiar people should be kept at that; less familiar, till the time she is sure of the person’s behaviour, character, the reliability factor and the reference of a friend or of the family.


Q Some people are uninteresting and are also so dumb that they don’t ever understand when I give one excuse after the other, to cut short their conversation and move on. I can’t be rude on their face. How to go about this?

Conversation starters

To share a secret with you, a lot of us find ourselves in such a situation. People are the same everywhere. When you see such person from a distance, try calling someone on your mobile and start talking; say a few pleasantries while crossing your would be tormentor and continue to walk; you should show a serious expression on your face. This is one of the tricks that work for me every time.


Q Sometimes I meet people who answer in Monosyllabic language.Its difficult to converse with them after a point. how do you keep a conversation going?

The best way to deal with this problem is to ask open-ended questions. Like, if a women whom you are conversing with is fond of cooking, then you can ask her recipe of her favourite dish or request her to give you some quick tips on cooking. These common interest questions help a person to be at ease and to speak more.

Smita’s Advice

Conversation is not about your talking with others, it is mainly about your listening to the others.

Conversation should be like juggling; up goes the balls and plates, up and over, in and out, good solid objects that glitter in the footlights and fall with a bang if you miss them.”
Evelyn Waugh.

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Handling Peer Pressure

What is peer pressure ? defines peer pressures as the, “social pressure by members of one’s peer group to take a certain action, adopt certain values, or otherwise, conform in order to be accepted”  handling peer pressure

Peer pressure is the ‘in thing’ to do what others are doing in a group, a class, an organization or at a social event. Why to oppose when it is easy to agree with and remain a part of the group or the class or the work place?

The positive peer pressure is good for us all. Anyone or a group of friends encourage us to come up in life, persuade us to stand first in the class, and the colleagues who are happy when we get promoted are some of the samples of the positive peer pressure.

Peer pressure, especially the negative one, is omnipotentomnipresent and omniscient and can be found all across the society: the social networking sites, the share market, the advertisement and marketing world, the school, the college, the work place and some more. Most of us upload our photos to social networking sites not because we would like to do so, but because our friends would like us to do so; people sell shares in panic because others are doing so, things are advertised in the visual media by youngsters, compelling other youngsters to buy them…there’s no end to the negative peer pressure in the outside world.

 Some positive tips to counter the negative effects of the peer pressure:-


1.Acceptance: “What others will think of me” is the basic cause for the peer pressure. It happens when you long to get accepted by the others in the group and you are ready to do what your peers want you to do, whether it is for your good or otherwise. So obviously, breaking the pattern of thinking on acceptance by the others should be the first step in avoiding the peer pressure trap.

2.Negative to Positive: The world is full of people. You may slowly withdraw from the negative group and gradually become a part of a positive group that would encourage you to do things that are good for your future, career and relationship.

3.Distract: Sometimes, it’s not easy to switch groups or put your foot down on the negative peer pressure. In that case, while there is a discussion on your doing something against your wishes, you change the subject and draw their interest into an another interesting subject, dial a number and while on the phone, take leave from your group and walk away from there.

4.Self-Confidence: Show self-confidence and be assertive if it is your known group. If it is a new group of people, in a party or social gathering, you better leave quickly with a valid excuse.

5.Don’t Condemn: Do not condemn others if they force you to do something which you don’t want to do. It may turn out to be an unpleasant scene. Use humour and common sense, use one liners to distract their attention and walk off in a short while.

6.Understand your childrenBe a friend and a good listener to your children. Even if they feel neglected by their group for having said no to cigars, drugs and alcohol, or for any other wrong doings, they will turn towards you for comfort.

7.Open Doors: Encourage your children to bring in their close friends for study, play and or to watch TV at your home. They wouldn’t dare to do something wrong at your home, nor will they encourage your children to do anything wrong.

8.Become Approachable: Form a group of your own with your family and indulge in a variety of activities, like picnicking, trekking, watching movies, shopping, having dinners at restaurants, watching opera or visiting museums etc. which will bound them to you and will make them feel comfortable to talk to you on their problems and issues.

9.Family Time: Make the dinner time for sharing about the happenings in your day. When you open up to your family and share with them your details, they will be encouraged to do so on their own. You shall be able to guide them on any wrong turns.

10.Learn to Distinguish: “Having fun” or “Being cool” does not mean doing reckless things or things that may ruin your future just because your friends or group would like you to do so. Always be on the alert on the pitfalls of groupies or friendship. You may get any number of friends; it may take you a long time to get your life back on the rails if you do something reckless with your life, career, relationship or the works.


Q Sometimes, what my friends want me to do is not agreeable to me, but still I do it, just to satisfy them or just to make them to feel good. But, I am not happy under such circumstances. What should I do?

This is precisely what the peer pressure is all about. Instead of thinking about satisfying your friendship, you should start thinking about satisfying your needs, maintaining your self esteem, growth factor in your future and the right turn in your life.

Q How negative peer pressure will affect my life?

The decisions you take in your life, whether willingly or under pressure, has got a way of affecting your entire life. At some point of time in your life, you should start thinking about what works good for you, rather than what works good for your friends or group. Show self confidence, don’t do something which you don’t want to do and take the support of your family and good friends who had always stood by you.

Smita’s Advice 

Peer pressure is nothing but the knack of sailing with the wind and not turning against the wind. It’s time we should know how to curtail the advancement of others on our psyche. For everything, there is a new beginning and let your beginning be now!

It’s better to take guidance from what Steve Maraboli says:

“At any given point you can release your greatest self. Don’t let anyone hold you back. Don’t let anyone dilute you. Don’t be peer pressured into being less than you are. People willing to dilute themselves for the sake of others are one of the great tragedies of our time. Stop letting others define and set the pace for your life. Get out there and be your best. Do your best. Live your best. Make every day count and you’ll see how exponentially more exciting, thrilling, successful, happy and full your life will be.”

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luggage, Packing list, packing tips, traveling alone, what is packing

Packing when traveling


In most cases, all around the world, women are hardly known for their packing skills.

When traveling, packing light is a concept most women are completely strangers to, even in the 21st Century.

Packing Bag However, I would advise all of you to stop being fussy and learn to embrace packing and traveling the practical way. If you really think, ‘some stranger’ is going to ‘save’ you when you walk around with luggage you can barely lift, maybe you should try and build a time machine and travel back in time instead of traveling in another country or continent

Too many bags attract attention. Secondly, your safety might be a problem, you might be mugged. In addition, packing unnecessary things will make you puzzled once you get to the place and realize that you packed everything, except your panty.


Packing tips :-

• Pack Light: This particular tip simply cannot be stressed upon enough. Please stop bundling your already full bag with more stuff. God knows, at one point of time it might actually tear and you will be thrown into trouble gathering them all.

• Make a list (Packing list): Before you start packing, make sure that you make a list of all the things you need and stick to it.

• Carry your own medicine: This applies for both women who are healthy and who are ailing from something. Many nations may not have the kind of medicines you might take or give you without proper doctor’s medical prescription. Therefore, it is better to make sure that you have medicines, which you require. Also, remember to pack general medicines like for your stomach, head and sleep, small cuts just in case.

• Check temperatures and events at your destination: Only pack what corresponds—do not bring “just in case” clothes.
• Know your folds: Make sure that you fold your stuff in such a manner that there is some space for incidental shopping and accidental inclusions to your luggage.

• Space for documents: Be very careful to carry and preserve your documents in a safe place but they should be easily reachable. You see, at any point of time, your identity card is your identity. In addition, particulars like tickets and vouchers must be kept very carefully.

• Toppers: Be very particular at what you keep at the top of your luggage. Make sure essentials like your toothbrush, creams and some loose change should be right at the top, because that is what you need first.

• Wash it out: If you’re traveling for more than a week, plan on washing clothes instead of bringing more. If you’re in a country with a good exchange rate, or aren’t on a tight budget, use hotel laundry service or dry cleaning. Otherwise, bring individual packets of detergent.

• Miniature toiletries: Small size versions of toiletries: Buy sachets of your favourite products  If you can’t find miniatures, buy small plastic bottles and decant from larger products.
• Wear your heaviest shoes, sweater, and jacket: That way, you don’t have to pack them.


Q. Where to keep cash?packing light

Apart from some loose change and few bills, make sure that you keep your cash well hidden and in a safe place. The same thing goes for your plastic cards. Another thing to remember is that; make sure that you do not keep a lot of cash in the same place.

Q. What other things should I consider?

Just packing your stuff is not the only challenge you will face. Make sure that you choose your luggage bags wisely.

Q. What should I focus upon when making that list?

Make sure that you pack clothes according to the weather you are travelling to.

Smita’s Advice

It is very important to remember that we are perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves as well as others. So, make sure to carry yourself and your stuff around in a confident fashion. Do not go overboard with your dresses. Avoid attracting unnecessary attention and all of you will be fine. If taking kids along, make sure to teach them the value of practicality beforehand.

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Self Defence


…when a woman is assaulted she may not stoop to think in terms of himsa or ahimsa.

Her primary duty is self-protection. She is at liberty to employ every method or means that come to her mind in order to defend her honour. God has given her nails and teeth. She must use them with all her strength and, if need be, die in the effort…”
-Mahatma Gandhi

Every woman should understand the value of such an advice. Not just the message, but the ways and means of defending themselves too. Remember, when you are on self defence you have every right to defend yourself.self defence technique

Prevention of danger is also a form of self defence:

1.Do not take the risk of walking alone after dark.

2.Let somebody walk you to your car after dark, whether it is at work or after a party etc.

3.Your car should always be parked in light or in well lit areas.

4.Have a look at your surroundings and be alert both mentally and physically.

5.Always be in touch with your family, inform them of your whereabouts, when your office timings are over, when you start your car, when you will visit someone’s place, when you are at shopping etc.

6.Do not venture out into the bad neighbourhood areas alone.

7.Do not use devices with headphones (walkman, iPod, etc..) When you are in remote areas.

Here are some of the best self defense tips for women:



•Just Shout: The first thing you should do when someone attacks you is to shout with all your strength or shout “Police” to attract the attention of the others.

•Change anything into a weapon: Like Mahatma Gandhi said use your teeth and nail to save yourself from the attacker; rather anything you carry with you should become your weapon, like your handbag, your lunch box, your shoes, your hair pin, your bangles, your umbrella, your books, just anything!

Pepper Spray: Always keep a pepper spray in your bag or even deodorants. You can spray this directly into the Peper Sprayaggressor’s eyes, temporarily blinding them. This will give you enough time to get away and hide somewhere. The use of pepper spray is also legal in a lot of countries.

•The moment of attack: The first few minutes of the attack are the most important time to save yourself. The attacker will never expect you to be brave enough to fight him. He would expect you to get paralyzed with fear and would obey him frightened. Just do the opposite. Fight with all your might and hurt him however you may.

•Self defence tactics: Learn the self defence tactics and learn martial arts if you may. Use all the tactics you know against the attacker.

•Knowledge of Location: Understand the general map of your city, locality or of any place you may visit. It would always be helpful when in need.

•Note the registration Number: If you shall have to take a taxi or an auto after dark, jot down the registration number of the vehicle and sms to your family.

•At Home:If a stranger tries to attack you when you are alone in your house, run into the kitchen.You alone know where the chili power and turmeric are kept. And where the knives and plates are. All these can be turned into deadly weapons.

•In Lift: If you need to reach the 13th floor, press all or alternate buttons up to your destination. No one will dare attack you in a lift that stops on every floor.

•When Dating: If you are dating someone for the first time, trust your instincts about him. Observe your date and be alert on his negative body language. If you feel uneasy or uncomfortable with him, get out from there giving some excuses. Even a visit to the restroom would be an adequate statement


Q. My work involves a lot of travelling within the city and meeting new people on self defence equipment business and reaching home at quite late hours. How to safeguard myself?

1.Enrol yourself in a self defence course, if not already done so. Martial art course, if your time permits.
2.Buy a couple of safety gadgets like cell phone stun gun, pepper spray, personal alarm etc and always keep them handy in your bag.
3.Be a professional and once the meet is over, take leave of your prospective clients immediately, especially after dark.
4.Take the help of your trustworthy colleague to drop you at your car, after dark.
5.Keep in touch with your family from time to time and if not, with a trusted friend.
6.Above all, exercise your common sense on the troubled spot and ESCAPE.

 Q. What if the taxi or Auto driver takes a turns into a street he is not supposed to – and you feel you are entering a danger zone?

Use the handle of your purse or your stole to wrap around his neck and pull him back. Within seconds, he will feel choked and helpless. Don’t have a purse or a stole? Just pull him back by his collar. The top button of his shirt would then do the same trick.

Smita’s Advice

“Defend yourself under the trying circumstances when your honour and self esteem is in danger”. This the most important message every parent should give to one’s daughter(s).

Self-defence is not about fighting but about protecting yourself.


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