Category Archives: Uncategorized

I am changing the world

I am changing the world, making it a better place

I save lives each day, give hope where there’s none

I am a doctor

I haven’t spoken to my father in the last 5 years

I am changing the world, making it a better place

I guide CEOs on their investment decisions

I am a Banker

I don’t know which grade my daughter is in or who she is dating

I am changing the world, making it a better place

I nurture young minds on how to develop their free thought

I am a teacher

I don’t have time to heed to the idiosyncrasies of my Mother in law

I am changing the world, making it a better place

I work with the under privileged, being there for those who don’t have anyone else

I am a social worker

My mother killed her self out of depression

I am changing the world, making it a better place

I guide my team to become better versions of themselves

I am a leader

My child is a drug addict

I am changing the world, making it a better place

I really hope someone,out there, is working on helping my world too

Criminal Child Labor is closer to home than you think

Children who do not score well in exams, spend on an average 7 hours in school. To help them improve academically, school puts extra classes adding another hour of study time.

Parents also want to help so they either teach the child or put tuitions for the child, adding another few hours of study time for the child. On an average, an academically weak child (a child that scores less marks) is studying more than 9 hours in a day. This is more than adult working hours. To top this statistic, here’s another one. These children are not even 10 years old right now.

Don’t we as parents, teachers or the society ever stop to think, why, inspite of so much effort in the same area is the child still weak in that area? Will we ever stop and analyse what are the strengths of the child and how we can help strengthen them further? Will we ever consider that maybe there was something else the child was born to do?

Just by forcing a child to do the same thing over and over again will not make them better at it. Even if it does make them better, it will never make them love the task. Quite the contrary is more likely to happen.

As parents, we need to stop and think why our child is not scoring good marks before we pack them off to another extra class. We need to stop and think, what our child was born to do and are academic scores really needed for that?

To be packed for 9 hours in back to back classes at less than 10 years of age is nothing short of criminal child labour. Anyone who is a party to this process should be tried like a criminal. Stop and think, are you being a party to the crime?

Are Parenting Books Helpful

I was an illiterate first time parent. I was brought up in an age where we were not even taught about nuances of sex, leave alone conceiving babies and bringing them to life. I thank my eldest sister, Sidney Sheldon and Mills & Boons equally for the little sex education I had. In the first year of marriage, my husband and I used to look up books on pregnancy and child birth even when we were not planning a child. Simply because, we both had a lot to learn about the process.

Needless to say, when we did get pregnant, I started to read in detail about pregnancy, child birth and child care. This was in 2004 and Google was not as popular as it is now. If we had a question, we still used to refer to books. In spite of all the research, I had a stressful pregnancy and a nightmarish delivery of my first child. I joined work as soon as maternity leave got over. While I always performed well at work, I constantly felt lagging behind in being a good Mom. This lead me to constantly read more on the subject. I was part of parenting groups, online communities and sleeping with parenting books all the time. I also used to eavesdrop on other parent conversations to catch tricks on how to be a better mom. I honestly feel that I was no different than most first time parents of my generation. We have all done our fair bit of research on being good moms.

Today, thirteen years after my first delivery, I somehow got around to organizing some books in our family book shelf. It was then that I stumbled upon a book on parenting. Hmmm, I thought, “I am sure there are more books on this subject lying here. Let me put them all together.” So I started getting them all together. Voila, before I knew it, I had this big pile of books on parenting before me. Wow! I thought. Really! Did I buy so many books to learn how to be a good parent? Man! I surely was f**ked up! To top the list, I know there are at least 5 more books not in this pile because I either lent them to other well meaning parents or I have read (or rather listened) to their audio versions. Plus I have two more books on parenting currently lying under my night light. I was honestly shocked myself. My daughter passed by and looked at the pile equally surprised. She said aloud, “Mama, are these all yours? Did you know nothing about parenting before I was born?” I mutely shook my head. Looking at this pile in front of me, I was also thinking the same. She then laughed aloud and said, “Mama, now I have proof that you are the Worst Mom ever!” With that we both burst out laughing. She eventually helped me click this picture of books for this blog. She of course doesn’t know about the books that are not part of the above pile. We went on with the evening digesting this fact and laughing about it at the same time.

I am pretty sure that I don’t remember 90% of the content from 90% of the books I have read. If you ask me to recommend/review any of the books, I just can’t, because I am not sure what I learnt from them. One thing that I am sure of is that each book lent it’s hand in making me the parent that I am today. But more important than books, I am sure it has been my constant passion to understand my children and their world that has made me the best parent for my children. I am sure, I learnt a lot of things from these books, but my biggest learning on being a parent have come from my children themselves. I could not have been the parent that I am, without having both of them in my life.

So what’s the point? Should we read/follow books or should we follow gut instincts while bringing up our children? My recommendation is double fold on this. In my estimate, parenting is 10% science and 90% art. We all need to learn the science of it, like how babies grow inside the womb and what food are safe for the infant in the first six months. This is where books/online research comes in handy. But more than the science, parenting is an art. Art is best done when you completely love doing what you are doing and simply follow your heart. When parents are completely relaxed and joyful, children thrive in their own learning and development. The more we force our children to fit the pattern mentioned in a book, the more we kill the intrinsic learning of each child. My philosophy is to allow each child enough time and space to grow at their own pace, in their own beautiful environment without following a strict curriculum. This is why I have chosen to home school my children. And yes! I have already ready two books on homeschooling and there are more on their way. Plus, when all this is over, I plan to publish my own book on homeschooling! Hence, I have a personal interest in making sure all moms continue to read a lot. 🙂

This article was first published on Momspresso.

What is Poor

We are riding on a scooter. Yog suddenly asks,”Why that girl has a tent?”. I immediately decide that this conversation is soon going to transform into, “Why don’t we have a tent in our house?” So I tried to act ignorant. “I didn’t see any tent. Which tent are you talking about?” This was true. I wondered how Yog managed to see a tent inside someone’s house while we were on the scooter.

But Yog insisted. “That tent on the road! You didn’t see?” (Implying- How can you drive without seeing??) It struck me then. There indeed was a make shift tent on the road. A lady lived there.

I felt guilty for doubting Yogs intention. This time I tried to explain in detail.

Me: Some people stay in tents because they are poor.

Yog: What is poor?

Me: Poor means when someone doesn’t have any money

Yog: They don’t even have cards? (Like credit cards)

Me (choking my laughter) : No, they don’t have cards also

Yog: Then how do they buy food to eat?

Me: They buy little food which is not expensive

Yog: Then we should give them food?

Me: Yes! We should

Yog: We should also give them money

Me ( in a dilemma) : no we shouldn’t give money. We should help them so that they can earn their money.

Yog: How do you have so many cards?

Me (explaining how banks work)

The conversation struck a chord and I wanted to record it to remind myself how quickly we adults jump to conclusions. I has mistakenly interpreted Yogs simple inquisition based on humanity as a selfish demand and tried to avoid it.

Moral of the Story – if only we hear what children have to say without interpretation, we will probably see the beauty in the world as they see it.

Beautiful Life

There is so much beauty around us, inside us. Most of us miss seeing it, feeling it cause we are rushing to earn more, save more. Hoping that one day we will have enough saved to go find this beauty outside of us.

My day starts with the beauty of rolling out kids from their cozy blankets

Spilled milk on table tops

Poo poo just in time for school bus

Books left behind

Extended debates on the latest news (ignoring the breakfast and the clock ticking on)

The peace and quite of the empty house

Life is beautiful, spilled milk or not.

Life is beautiful, completed homeworks or not

It was always meant to be beautiful. It will always be beautiful. Question is – are you absorbing the beauty or are you still searching for it?

Do you Blame Life

Some days life throws shit at us and we let that shit stink our clothes, body and souls.

And then, there are days when life throws shit at us. We not only neatly catch it, but we also make dung cakes, package them and sell them at 100% profitability to those whom life has not gifted as much shit.

Given these two scenarios, can we blame life in any way?

First published on Facebook on October 25, 2014.

Happy Teachers Day to my Children

As soon as I got home from office yesterday, Toyna ran to me, hugged me and said “Advance Happy Teachers Day!” I was surprised to hear this. Sensing my hesitancy to accept the title of a “Teacher”, she quickly exclaimed, “You taught me how to walk, how to say my first words. You still teach me how to eat food properly. ” She then paused, waiting for my reaction. I was not totally convinced, so she quickly added to her argument, “Our family is always our first school.”

I smiled at this and my heart warmed up. I accepted the wishes with a “Thank You Toyna!!” and a big hug.

Though I accepted the title of a teacher from Toyna, I honestly don’t consider myself a teacher for either Toyna or Yog. Maybe, my definition of a teacher is different, or maybe I don’t think I am as mature a person to handle the role of Teacher. In my heart, I so wish that she comes home one day and wishes me Happy Friendships day! I would love to be a friend that she loves spending time with, a friend whom she can confide her biggest fears with, and a friend with whom she has spent some of her most fun times.

Coming to being a teacher, I actually think, that both of them teach me a lot more about life, than I can ever teach them. Yes, I have taught them to walk, read and eat. But on the other hand, they are the ones who have taught me to live without any fears, to laugh like no one is watching and to smile till tears line up your eyes.

So I guess, if Toyna was kind enough to think I was her teacher, I should return the same favor to her and wish her the same.

Dear Toyna, a very Happy Teachers Day to you! You don’t know it now, but someday, when you read this, you will realize, how much Mamma learnt from you!

First published on 5th September 2014. Still remains as true.

Feed, Love, Pray

The relationship between Food and Love runs very deep in India. If you love someone, you take them out to fancy restaurants. When you want to make up for a fight, you cook something special for your love. When you want to pamper yourself, you binge on food you love (not necessarily food which is good for you). Food is such an important part of our lifestyle that I sometimes wonder about the adage, “We live to eat or we eat to live”.

This love for food or rather the love to feed can be observed at its peak in a mother and child relationship. I agree that during pregnancy and the first year of infancy, weight gain of the child is one of the important parameters tracked by doctors and parents alike. Consistent body weight gain indicates that the child is growing well. Since food is an important contributor to weight gain, mothers take extra attention on what they eat (during pregnancy) and they feed the child (post birth). After the first year, body weight as a parameter of wellness loses its significance. But Indian mothers do not seem to know this. We continue to focus on weight gain of the child till the child allows us to do so.

In one of the recent visits to my sons pediatrician, I tried to ask him casually, “Do you think Yogs weight is appropriate for his age? He has not gained any weight for the last 3 months.” The doctor, one of the most respected pediatricians in town, let out a sigh and looked at me straight in the eye, “You know you are just like my mother. I weigh 98 kgs today. But my mother worries that I have not gained any weight in the last one year.” I quickly averted my gaze in embarrassment. I knew he was right with his blunt remark. I knew my sons weight is fine (if not slightly over), but I needed an assurance from the doctor to tell me that my son was fine. I needed an assurance from the doctor that I was a good mom. I needed that assurance to believe that I was doing well in the most important job, I held.

As urban parents, I honestly think, we should be more worried about obesity as a serious problem for our children in place of undernourishment. When I see parents fussing over food with children who are already close to being obese, I want to step in and caution them. But, I don’t. In my heart, I know that I fuss over my children and my husband’s food habits, more than I should. No matter how hard I try, I too believe that ensuring good food on the table is a way of showering love on them.

The only thing I avoid, since that conversation with the pediatrician,  is measuring the height and weight of my children. As long as they are active and free from infections, I take it as a sign that I am good mom. The only person who uses the weighing machine in our house, is me. Again, like most women out there, I want to ensure my relationship with weight gain continues, but in the reverse order. 😊

P.S. I do not have significant data points on this aspect from other regions outside of India. Does this apply to most countries?

Lessons Learnt Walking Together on a Dark Road

Hold your light at an angle which helps you see best. Never copy the angle at which others are holding their light. What works for them, need not necessarily work for you.

When you are on a dark road, the best way to guide someone is to illuminate the light from behind them, not in front of them.

Life gets dark sometimes, even when you are walking with the ones you love. Find your light first, before you try and help other around you.

Sharing the Things that Count

christmaslights

The moment I stepped in for lunch at home, my six year old niece, Sia, came running, scanning me from head to toe. With a slightly worried, curious look she asked, “You are wearing my Mothers shirt!?!” The look on her face suggested  that she was worried about me infringing into her mother’s wardrobe. Without thinking twice I remarked, “Yes I am! Did you know that you are wearing Yog’s (my son) shirt. And Yog is wearing his cousin brothers shirt.” Both Sia and Yog’s heads dropped instantly to scan their respective shirts. I kneeled down to look Sia in the eye and said, “Isn’t it fun to share clothes?” For a moment, she was at a loss of words. The look on her face said it all. She did not feel lucky wearing a boys shirt which was a size smaller for her. I honestly could not blame her for not sharing my sentiment. I remember, as a child, I too felt like the unluckiest person in the whole world who got to wear second hand(often third hand) clothes passed on from her sisters.

How time flies and we completely change perspectives as an adult. Now, I feel blessed to have a large family consisting of mothers, sisters, brothers, and children. A family, which passes around pretty much everything on this planet. All women in my family have the same body size, so it is but natural that we have clothes, shoes, and accessories floating around among 4/5 different households. With the grace of God, we also have children who are younger/elder to each other only by a few years. Therefore, it is obvious that clothes, toys, books and even utensils keep getting handed down from one child to another. This sharing and passing around creates such a feeling of abundance, not only from a materialistic point of view, but more importantly from an emotional point. Wearing my sister in laws clothes who is now 8000 miles away from me, reminds me of her and the bond that we share. By covering myself with a garment which once belonged to her, takes me a tiny step closer to her life. In a way, it helps me feel her warm hug even when she is not around me.

As an adult, I would have life no other way. If I were to imagine a different world, where each toy had one life with one child only. As the child outgrew the toy, the toys life came to an end. In that world, the lovely Benarasi saree that I purchased for 25,000 had only one life with me, in which I could have worn it for maximum 3 occasions. Such a world would be so boring, not to mention so expensive. I believe in letting the Benarasi saree travel the world to be a part of different celebrations with different households; always getting centre stage attention cause it is so beautiful and was purchased and shared with so much love. I believe all good things in life were meant to be shared. Sharing, by default, multiplies the life span of things that count.

As we close this year and start a new one, I can only thank God for gifting me a family which happily shares their life with me. In the coming years, I hope we can continue to share our celebrations, sorrows and more importantly our love even when all of us are physically miles away from each other.

Here’s wishing a very Happy New Year to you and your families!