The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary
Email This Page
Cold feet & us


It’s not unusual for brides- or grooms-to-be to walk to the altar with cold feet. Or not walk to it at all because the feet are frozen. Couples still somehow manage to drag their feet through the ceremony and live to tell the tale — recalling it as a happy occasion! Arup Banerjee, married for a month, recalls the nightmare of the night before his wedding. “I was tense about how the day would go. I even lost my phone. Now I realise why people have bachelors’ parties the day before the wedding. There was none for me, so there was nothing to ease my tension and I ended up with cold feet!” laughs Arup.

But some use the feet to run. Remember Julia Roberts’s flight from the wedding aisle in Runaway Bride? Remember Hugh Grant spewing a stream of unprintable stuff in church to feel better after begging forgiveness of God just before he is to wed old Duckface in Four Weddings and a Funeral? Pooja Bhatt in Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin?

Even pre-marriage tete-a-tetes with in-laws and their barrage of questions can bury your feet in snow. “It felt really weird meeting my girlfriend’s parents for the first time. I was stiff and spoke of irrelevant things. They probably thought I was crazy,” cries Saugata Mitra, 29.


First dates can be a tad scary and no matter how much you might have longed to be out with that cutie pie alone, don’t be surprised if you end up surrounding yourself with a horde of friends to ease your nerves. Rajesh Pillai, 24, wonders if it “really gets that cold or is it just me?” whenever out on a date. But he is quick to add that it doesn’t take long for the tables to turn. He transmits it. “I get so jittery that I probably give my date cold feet,” he smiles cheekily.

But a distraught Sunita Chakraborty finds her hands trembling and her face breaking into a sweat whenever she has to go out with a suitable boy her parents have zoomed in on. “My job makes me meet a dozen new people every day, but whenever I’m introduced to a prospective husband, I go bonkers. I stutter and force myself into a conversation. The thought of it gives me sleepless nights,” says media professional Sunita. What to talk about or for how long can be terrifying unknowns that one has to battle with on the first date.


While some shudder at oral examinations, for some those moments of waiting till you’ve been handed your question paper can be killing. Chhavi Kakkar finds herself talking faster than usual during a viva examination. “Oral exams are a horrible thing. I’d prefer to write a 100 pages than face the examiner’s piercing gaze!” says Chhavi. For 27-year-old Paromita Roy, written examinations were always an ordeal. “It takes five long minutes for the first question to register before I can ever get started with the answers,” says Paromita.

Interviews and appraisals

Paromita’s fear of exams has now extended to interviews. “Whenever I walk in for an interview and find a bunch of people waiting their turn, I instantly get cold feet. The grim atmosphere and the tension on their faces add to mine. It takes a lot of will-power to resist my urge to run away,” says Paromita. Debjit Dey’s stomach does strange things and his mind goes blank when it’s time for the annual appraisal. Like many, he dreads having an appraisal in the fear of being judged. “The same seniors who I work with calmly all through the year give me cold feet during appraisal time. I’m highly tense, I lose sleep and am very conscious of anything I say,” says Debjit. Some even feel jittery to make eye-contact with the boss in the corridor during this time of the year.


Men seem to be the worst-affected when it comes to shopping. They’d rather lock themselves in the loo, feign toothache or work overtime than go shop hopping. Pritam Gupta hits the panic button if anyone utters “shopping”. “Images of a dozen shops start floating into my head. The thought of queuing up before the trial room and then the billing counter… it gives me cold feet!” he exclaims. Shormi Sen, a schoolteacher, loves new clothes but when it comes to going shopping she cringes. The fear of not fitting into the right size or discovering her expanding waistline keeps her away from malls and markets. “I end up window-shopping more than actually trying out new clothes. I feel very tense about going into the trial room and realising that the clothes don’t fit. It’s too nerve-racking,” she confesses.

Doctor’s chamber

A visit to a doctor can be quite a harrowing experience for some who would rather lie in bed and go into denial, also known as white coat anxiety. Saugata panics at the thought of an appointment with a doctor. “My hands get cold and I feel extremely nervous when visiting the doc. Once during a regular check up, the doctor said he needed to do my ECG. On hearing that my heart began to beat so fast that the doctor had to give me medicines to normalise the heartbeat,” complains Saugata.

Stage performance

Being hauled up before an enthused crowd that refuses to let go of you until you’ve sung a song, danced, recited or displayed some feat of skill can put the strongest of souls under pressure. “I was forced to learn the Hawaiian guitar but what was worse was being asked to play tunes every time there’d be guests in the house. I’d feel like a nervous wreck which I’m absolutely not!” sighs 24-year-old Raja Bose.

Raja’s not alone. The best of musicians can suffer from performance anxiety, better defined as stage fright, minutes before a show. No matter how hard he may practise, tune his strings or learn the chords, taking the stage on D-day gives Arup, bassist for a band called Circle, cold feet. “I continue to be in a jittery state till the first song is over. I keep worrying. I can’t look at the crowd till I gradually calm down,” he says.

Mrinalini Menon doesn’t mind singing as long as she knows there’s no one watching. “I’ve been on stage from a very early age. I never had stage fright for I could never see anyone in the audience. But ask me to sing in front of anyone and I start to shiver even if it’s my parents,” she confesses.

What gives you cold feet? Tell

Email This Page