Good morning! Yawns are infectious, one person yawns and, one by one, the whole room, the whole bus, the whole area, will follow suit. And, if there’s one thing that’s equally communicable, it is checking one’s mobile phones. Yeah, it’s called ‘phone yawns’; it’s one of the newly formed terms. It means that if one person checks her phone, everyone else in the vicinity will quickly pull out phones to check if their phones are still working or if they’re still loved…

What else is infectious?

Smile, laughter, happiness, appreciation — all these are infectious, but try giving compliments to a supercilious dandy (irrespective of the gender) and you’d wish you’d kept your mouth shut. The most likely response to something like, “You’re looking nice” would be a twitch of an eyebrow and a disdainful, “Oh! I always do.” On the contrary appreciate a nerd and he or she will typically look into the air, go into a silent mode and make you feel like a moron.

Well! Just like it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to appreciate, it’s not a piece of cake to accept appreciation too… Giving compliments requires ‘large heartedness’ and receiving compliments needs ‘grace and dignity’.

Today, I have interesting queries. Varsha, a reader, has asked me to ex-plain the following two phrases:

– Strange bedfellows


– Pushing the envelope

‘Strange’ bedfellows’ is a phrase that is believed to have been used by Shakespeare for the first time in his play ‘Tempest’: “My best way is to creep under his gabardine; there is no other shelter hereabout: misery ac-quaints a man with strange bedfellows. I will here shroud till the dregs of the storm be past.”

It means unlikely companions or friends. To make it simpler, when two people who are not very fond of each other or are quite the opposite of each other, have to work together for a common cause make into ‘strange bedfellows’, which means that they are together not by choice but by the demands of the situation.


– True! Adversity makes strange bedfellows; why else would the two neighbours who, until yesterday, couldn’t stand the sight of each other are today helping each other construct the houses.

– Look at them, smiling at each other so cordially as if they’re so fond of each other. Really, politics does make strange bedfellows.

‘Pushing the envelope’ means to exceed the existing boundaries and to do something ground-breaking or to do something more than what you thought you were capable of.


– Expecting him to secure the top position, when he’s always been a me-diocre student would be pushing the envelope too far.

– Even if it means pushing the envelope, I shall wait for him to return.

The second query comes from Jhalak:

She says, “I heard my friend say that she had bought a pair of shades. What are shades?”

Jhalak, sunglasses are also known as ‘shades’.


– He looked cool in his new shades.

The third query comes from Adnan. He wants to know the meaning of ‘panda eyes’.

Adnan, panda (a kind of bear found in China) has dark circles under its eyes. Thus, a person who has dark circles, mainly due to lack of sleep is called ‘panda eyes’. So, fellows, sleep well and avoid ‘panda eyes’.

This is it for today.

Keep smiling…

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