A spoonfull of ‘mommy’ wisdom

My younger one – K is Nine now. I sure miss the days when I could scoop him up in my arms and cuddle him, rubbing my nose against the little hollow at the base of  his throat. It always brought out squeals of joy and shouts of mock anger “mumma let me down” that spurred me to cuddle him even more. He would then wrap his little chubby feet around my waist holding me tight throwing his head back so it hung in the air, waiting for the spin he loved to get . Round we whooshed through the air before collapsing on the bed,  breathless with laughter, dizzy with the spinning and very very happy.

God knows I cant do that to him anymore! (He weighs about 35 kgs now :) )  I sorely miss his baby- hood. Carrying him in my arms, rocking him to sleep in my laps, nuzzling him in the crook of my arm while we sat on a rocking chair reading his favorite book, letting him lie on my stomach as we napped on lazy summer afternoons.

“They grow up too fast, enjoy them while they are young!” I heard that a bit too often in those wonderful ‘baby filled’ days. The wistfulness and the look of longing that accompanied those words of advice did seem genuine. But to me engulfed with baby things of my two almost twin kids (They are a year and few months apart!!!) it never really rang a bell. I am glad to say I did enjoy them – We had countless soapy bubble filled bath sessions, and endless gibberish filled conversations, we had long bumpy pram walks and horribly out of tune singing sessions. It was a mad, fun filled time. But it was not all fun!

There were days i was so tired that I could have slept standing up. Days when the diaper basket was overflowing and all the milk bottles lay used up & dirty and days when the kids wouldn’t stop crying. Days when I fervently  wished to god that I could somehow grow either an extra pair of hands or an extra lap to accommodate both my little ones at the same time and the ability to stay up three days without a wink of sleep.

In retrospect I realize now that the frustrations were caused more because of my ideas of what ‘should’ be. Kids should eat healthy, home cooked elaborate meals with greens and as many other colours as possible. They should drink at  least three glasses of milk – preferably unsweetened. Kids should not watch TV while they ate. They should stay away from mud and dirt and germs that lurk everywhere ready to grab them….The list was endless and it made my ‘new-mommy’ life difficult.

If I knew then what i know now – That kids are strong and buoyant. That as long as they get kindness , small doses of spirituality and a lot of unconditional love they will thrive. That regardless of the hundreds of psychological theories that talk about thousands of ways parents screw up their kids lives forever in reality there is not much that we can do wrong. As long as we understand them and care for them and let them be.

I am glad I have learned my lesson now. I realize with gratitude that nine is still not ‘too old’. That there are many days even now when he throws his still chubby arms around me  and sleeps blissfully using my arm as a makeshift pillow. On days like these, no matter how much my arm hurts I never pull it away. Because I am old now and I have learned my lessons and I know that soon this too will pass. And before it does, before it becomes another of those long list of ‘happy memories’ I want to hold on to it, live it and savor it.

The Reading Child

“Children these days don’t read” is a common complaint nowadays. Teachers, parents and people in general are always complaining about the absence of reading habit amongst today’s children. As a parent of two little bookworms I am often asked what I did to encourage the ‘reading habit’?

“Nothing”, I reply . Or actually nothing that seemed like work to do!

I take pleasure in reading. It is my favorite pass time and so from the day I conceived ‘M’ I began to read to her. I wasn’t doing this as a mission or with an aim to gain something. I began to do it because it was fun.

Just when I discovered I was pregnant, I came across a book from Scholastic called ‘Read To Your Bunny’. It was the cutest picture book ever . It said “Read to your bunny often…it’s twenty minutes of fun… It’s twenty minutes of moonshine and twenty minutes of sun… something , something, something…and ended with …soon your bunny will read to you.”

read to bunny

Each night I read this little ditty out to the tiny one still in my tummy. Looking back it seems a bit crazy. I can now picture how completely idiotic I must have looked to an onlooker. A thirty year old holding a picture book reading out silly ditties to her oversized tummy. Back then in the midst of the new mummyhood bug I didn’t care! It seemed like the most usual thing to do.

After M was born our reading session continued almost without a pause. Regardless of how old or actually how young M was, and whether she was or wasn’t comprehending anything, I kept reading to her. I did it more as a method of bonding. It wasn’t designed to trigger her intelligence or catapult her into the world of geniuses! It was just fun and the only way I really knew to spend quality time with her. I am not big on gibberish talk and coochie cooing so reading provided me a ‘saner’ option for connecting with my little one.

I am not sure if it was this early exposure to books that made ‘M’ a bookworm. Maybe she would have loved books even if she hadn’t seen one till she was five!I know of some friends’ children who have been bitten by the reading bug after having led a ‘book-less’ life till they were much older and some who have been surrounded by books but haven’t picked up the reading habit. So like anything else it is pretty much a gamble! A gamble in which the stakes seem to be high. Teachers across the board seem to agree that children who are readers tend to be able to focus better, grasp more and have a stronger hold on language.

My own experience is that children who are ‘readers’ know more about the world. They understand situations and emotional dilemmas better. The right kind of books can help make kids more capable of dealing with challenging situations and making mature decisions. Most importantly I know from experience that a child who loves books is never without a friend. I am glad that my children read because it keeps them aware and sharp. But most of all I am happy they read because I know that no matter where they are, with a book by their side they will never be alone.

Life is full of challenges. Books provide not only escape and relief from these challenges but sometimes powerful insight and wisdom based on others experiences and thoughts. And I hope that when faced with choices that require them to make difficult decisions, books will provide my children the extra leverage they need to make the right decision. I also pray that no matter how harsh life’s realities get my kids will always have at their beck and call a world of fantasy and comic relief that makes every trouble of theirs appear small.

Books have been my friends and guides in times when no one was and I am relieved to see them extend the same hand of friendship to my little ones. My kids and me are truly blessed.

 This post was written for Parentous . Parentous is the fastest growing parenting community in India. You must head to their amazing site for many more interesting articles on all aspects of parenting.

Welcoming ‘Books, Coco and me’ to the blogging community


Most of my friends in the blogosphere know ‘M’, my daughter. Many of you may also remember from my various posts about her that she is an avid reader. She has loved books since the time she was a teensie weensie baby!

At the ‘ripe’ age of nine M told me that she wanted a blog of her own. “Ok” I replied, a bit amused “But what will it be about?” “About Books!” Came the prompt reply. “What about books” I asked, wanting further explanation. “Book Reviews” M said. It seemed ‘M’ had really thought this through. M believes that even though there is a lot of literature for children, there are not enough reviews of children’s literature by children. “When adults write reviews of children’s books, they don’t do it right”, M lamented.

Over the next few months M wrote several reviews of books she had read and left them on my desk to transcribe. I am ashamed to say I never got around to doing it. Partly because I was afraid that the ‘editor’ in me would ‘corrupt’ her words with my adult sensibilities. I wanted her posts to be completely her own – her words, her style… all her!

The larger more mundane reason was lack of time. Somehow there was never time to write any of my own blog posts and hers definitely got relegated to the undefined future.

In the meanwhile M acquired a ‘second’ love! She and her brother were gifted a puppy by their doting grandparents. ‘M’s’ still mythical blog thus changed from ‘Books, Muffin and Me’ – ‘(Muffin being our pet name for ‘K’ her younger brother) to ‘Books, Coco and Me’ (Poor ‘K’- he is not happy by the way he has been bumped out of her blog!That too by a dog!.)

This time when M came home for the holidays (She has recently joined a boarding school). She practiced her typing skills and managed to feed in two blog posts. Starting a blog is a long somewhat tedious process for anyone. For a ‘just turned ten’ years old, with a life full of distractions and an endless list of stuff she wants to do, it becomes a lesson in patience. M has learned to be patient. With help from an aunt she has found a theme, designed the format and published two posts! Whew!

Sharing them here with you all. We hope you will visit ‘Books, coco and me’ and shower it with some blogosphere love. So next time M is at home for her holidays she can enjoy reading your comments just like I enjoy reading mine!

Meet coco my puggy pup

Fifteen books every little girl should read

thea stilton       malory towermiles to go miley cirus bear for felicia anne of green gablescocorainbow magicwishawozzawriter

Railway children

She is going away…

She is going away…

I didn’t want to write about this since I already wrote about this last month. But since the last few days it’s all I think about. The thought I sleep with and the dull ache I wake up with. And it is impossible to write about anything else.

My little girl M is stepping out into the BIG BAD WORLD. All on her own. In the nine years eleven months she has been in my life (not counting the nine months she spent in my tummy). I have experienced the best and worst, the happiest and the saddest, the proudest and the most  anxious minutes of my existence. And on the cusp of her day of departure for a  residential school, they play out like a video tape in front of my teary eyes.

The happiest day of my life: The day I had M. The pictures show the tiny tiny M lying in the arms of  a smiling beaming me. There is not a sign of the pain and tiredness I know I felt. Holding my little ‘cookie’ wiped it all away. As soon as M was born I asked the doctor (a dear friend), “How  is she?” “How do you know it’s a she?” she asked. “I just know ” I mumbled without a trace of doubt.

I had miscarried twins before conceiving M and thus she had become even more precious to me. “She has to be the most ‘sonographed’ foetus in the world!” my sister in-laws joked as I rushed to my doctor friend each time I imagined I didn’t feel her move or move enough. I was an anxious mom to be. But the only thing I wanted to know was whether my baby lived. I was determined to not lose her. That it was a ‘her’ was never a question I needed an answer for. That, I just knew.

The other thing I knew was that M was going to be a book lover just like me. From the early stages of pregnancy I read to her. I read aloud short little stories that spoke of happy cuddly things, little mushy poems that rhymed and meant nothing and I knew that even as a baby M enjoyed them. Our reading time together became a tradition that’s been with us till now. It has been a joy to see M graduate from listening wide-eyed to classic fairy tales (Her favorite was Goldilocks! ) to lying next to me absorbed in a copy of “I am Malala” . These days she prefers to read on her own while I lie next to her and catch up on my own reading. But our reading time together is still the most enjoyable part of our day. Ten years of ‘reading time’ with M will always be the  most cherished moments of my life.

The proudest moment of my life: M was a fast learner, speaking fluently before she was even one. But having no other yardstick to compare her progress by I never attached much significance to that.  It was only after she started going to school and I started getting her progress cards that it dawned on me that M was quite special. Her school has a beautiful concept of writing short character sketches along with children’s report cards. These are short notes that the class teachers write about each child in their care. M’s notes always spoke about  her willingness to share, to resolve differences, help and adjust. But they almost always also mentioned her shyness and her tendency to prefer to remain in her own zone.

I was thus very apprehensive when she was chosen to be sent to Delhi to represent her school for an inter house quiz competition. The teacher said ” We have never taken such a small child before, do you think she will be able to cope?” Barely Eight, would she be able to travel overnight with a group of senior boys and girls ? Would she know how to sleep in a train without rolling off the narrow seat, use the awkward loos, change into her uniform all by herself? Wouldn’t  she be nervous to stand up on the stage and face strange crowds? M is a fussy eater, What kind of food would she get? I was nervous like hell  as I accompanied her to the railway station. M must have been apprehensive too, I could see it in the way she clutched tightly to her small suitcase. But as the train blew its whistle ready to roll off she put on a brave smile and waved me off – whispering in my ears “Don’t worry mumma, I will be okay.” That day as I saw her standing  on the doorstep of the train bogey, trying to be confident. I was proud of my little girl. She was facing a challenge unlike any she had ever faced before but instead of giving in to doubts she chose to treat it like an adventure. Two days later when I collected her from the station again, she was grimy and tired but bright-eyed with her first taste of victory. On reaching home she ate like a starved puppy and then snuggled into a long deep sleep. To this day , the trophy on her mantlepiece stands in my mind not for her general knowledge but for her ability to put aside her doubts and take on life’s challenges by the horns.

The saddest day, in my parenting memory unfolded when M was three months shy of  two. We had welcomed K her younger brother a couple of months earlier into our family. It had been a hectic time for us. K was born in the peak of winters and had suffered from severe cold since the first day. Between tending to a sickly new-born and taking care of the needs of a toddler I was perpetually tired and haggard. That evening as I sat M in my laps for her nightly story and asked her about her day. She began to stammer. My chirpy bird who had been talking fluently since she was eleven months old and had hardly even lisped was stammering! It broke my heart. The next day the stammer was still there and the next and next… Was this genetic? I had a close relative in the family with a stammer. Will my little girl have to face the jokes and sniggers that I had seen my relative suffer? Would it be assumed that she is ‘slow’ in her mind because she is ‘slow’ in expressing herself? Was this a passing phase? My husband and I googled and read every single article we found on stammering. Finding no answers in our small town, we headed to Delhi. The doctors and speech therapists we met were not very encouraging. They counseled us on how to deal with the condition but could give us no clue about the reason for its onset or prognosis. To the best of their understanding the stammer was here to stay.

We returned from that  trip heavy-hearted and dejected. Each time M spoke our eyes filled with tears. But we were determined to not give up. We were not going to lose this battle. And we came up with our own theory. We decided that the arrival of the baby had something to do with the affliction. And even though the doctors insisted that ‘insecurity’ due to a sibling did not manifest into stammering at such a young age, we believed otherwise. My mom in law – M’s dadi stepped in and took over the daily care of the baby. K was brought to me only to be fed and bathed, spending the rest of his time with his dadi and dad. A month or two later the stammering stopped. Just as suddenly as it had creeped into our lives, it left us for good. For a year or two we watched anxiously. Wondering if it would claim our little girl again but thankfully it never did.

K and M have had their share of sibling rivalry. But slowly over the years we were able to convey to them that they were both cherished and loved and that in some crazy way our love instead of dividing between the two of them, multiplies and grows manifold to encompass them both. Today, K and M are inseparable. Being just a year apart they understand each others thoughts and feelings better than we ever will. They snigger together about classmates, swap jokes only they find funny and share secrets, that we have no access to. And if there is one person who is going to miss M more than us her parents,  it is K her baby brother.

Her going away is a test for all of us. And like all important tests this one too is difficult. But if we pass it and we hope we will, the fruits will sweeten our lives forever.

This post was written for Parentous – a parenting forum. For more interesting stories and posts related to parenting and children do visit us there.








Considering buying some puppy love? – Five reasons you should not get a pup and One reason you should! Advice from a Pet Loving Mom

You think it is just a pet. You think it only needs to be given food thrice a day and to be walked once maybe twice. You think “I can do that much”. Sorry! Pal. You are way off the mark. You need to think again! The ‘wagging tail-ed darling’ who’s licking your hands right now will not let you think straight. So my advice… step out of that pet shop, now! Away from the mesmerizing hold of those innocent ‘doggy eyes’ and hear me out. Take what I say seriously, because I made the mistake you are about to make, three months back and I am still paying for it! (

5 Reasons Why Not To Own A Pet - Advice From A ‘Pet Loving Mom'

Here are the five reasons that would make even the staunchest ‘dog lovers’ reconsider buying themselves some ‘puppy love’ :

Reason no. 1

You have to begin toilet training all over again: Remember the time your kids were two-year olds? The constant obsession with whether they had ‘pee-d’ and ‘poo-ed’? Always trying to anticipate when they may need to ‘go‘ next? A new pup in the house takes you back to the same time in your parenting life only minus the joyful lisping chatter that a two-year old human baby is capable of. If you are still enthusiastic about that little ball of fluff, let me tell you this. “They have still not discovered puppy diapers” Atleast not in India!!!

Reason no. 2
They give you sleepless nights: Like babies, pups are demanding. They want to be cuddled and petted all the time. And like babies their desires are not controlled by the clock! Whether you watched a late night movie or had an assignment to submit and stayed up till midnight. Does the puppy care? No! If it feels like whining for some ‘human mommy time’ it will. Between mid night ‘petting sessions’ and early morning ‘bladder relief’ visits to the garden. It will be a while before you start getting your eight hours of beauty sleep again.

Reason no. 3

They shed their hair everywhere: There is a reason humans are the superior race to dogs. And it’s not the brain! It is that we do not have a coat of fur that covers almost every inch of our bodies! Just think about all the grief we face because of the hair on our heads. Now multiply that by a hundred! Do not be fooled by the small size or short length of some of those ‘cuties’. The dog dander will coat everything in your house. Your clothes, armchairs, bed linen… even the smart black jacket you reserve for special occasions! And the brushing is easier said than done. Try getting the ‘small round ball of liveliness’ you just adopted to sit still for a second.

Reason no. 4

You can bid goodbye to all your fancy shoes and socks: Actually you can cut out the ‘fancy’! By the time the gnawing, munching, chewing ‘charmer’ is done with you there will be no ‘hole – less’ socks or ‘teeth–bite-less’ sandals left in your shoe shelves. No matter how many rubbery bones or leathery balls you buy it. The teething needs of ‘new baby’ of the house will be satisfied by only that golden strapped high heel you paid a bomb for!

Reason no. 5

You can never ever leave home again without worrying about who will feed, pet and care for the ‘little angel’: Goodbye month-long vacations in Europe. Goodbye the week-long holiday in the hills. You can even say goodbye to the impromptu weekend at the new resort that just opened a hundred kilometers away. Your little ‘bundle of joy’ is not welcome on trains, buses or air planes. And no, even if you limit your holiday options to the places you can drive to you will discover that no hotel or resort or guest house worth staying in will have ‘your best friend’ aboard. Why? You ask exasperated. Refer to reason no. 3.

Post Note:

Before you give up on the idea of getting a pup,  stop looking at the pet shop windows longingly as you drive past them and relegate that book about ‘ Finding the perfect breed for your family’  to the topmost shelf of your book cupboard forever… STOP!!! I have still to share with you the one reason that would still  make you adopt that ‘ coochie poo’

As I write this my “doggy munchkin” is lying at my feet. I stroke his soft fur with my ‘un-socked’ foot. It is five ‘o’ clock on a Saturday morning and the household is still asleep. But the minute I wake up my ‘ tail wagging bundle of joy’ comes leaping up to me. He licks my toes, my hands, my face and whatever else he can find to tell me how much he loves me. Next he snuggles into my arms rubbing his sniffing wet nose into my night-clothes. “I love you too” I say as we step out into the open. Under the still star covered sky, I watch as the ‘baby’ does his ‘business’. Our alone time together is short.

Soon the children will be up and my ‘lively rolling bundle of fur’ will run away to romp with them. They will squeal with delight as he jumps on them, wetting them with his puppy drool. They will fight with each other to cuddle him first. Beg me to let him accompany us in the car to drop them to school. And make sure that he will be the first one to greet them when they return from their ‘five – hours- of – education’.

Yes the puppy is a lot of trouble but when I look at the joy on the faces of my ‘two adorable human munchkins’. I am sure he is really worth it.

The original article was published at Parentous- An Indian parenting forum.Those among you, interested in reading about children/ parenting/ schooling  or family life in general must visit the site for some amazing articles/ stories/ anecdotes and wise advice!

To Send or Not to send – Dilemmas of being a Boarding school parent

My little girl M is going away. No she is not 16 and moving to college. Neither is she 26 and getting married. She is not taking off on a holiday or a camp! My little girl is 9 and come April 1st. she is heading to a boarding school.

To Send Or Not To Send – Dilemmas of Being a Boarding School Parent

Boarding school, where gaggles of girls sleep in long bunk bedded dormitories and have gaggles of fun (my daughter’s viewpoint)! Boarding schools where busy parents who can not or do not wish to spend time on their children send them away (The critical view point), (remember taare zameen par!) Boarding school where children learn to be independent and self driven (viewpoint of hopeful parents like me).

The truth as in most cases lies somewhere in between. Having lived in a boarding myself (Fifteen years no less!!) I always thought when the time to send my own children to a boarding school would arrive, I would be able to do so easily. Instead, I discovered that fifteen years of experience in some of the best boarding schools of India (At least they used to be) made the decision even more difficult for me to take. I had too much information (aka experience). Not all of it good from my own time at the hostel.

Read More

Reinventing Festivals

As some of you know I write bimonthly for a parenting forum “parentous” . Since I haven’t been able to take out much time for blogging these days. I thought I will share with you an article I wrote for them recently. Just as a way of keeping in touch.  Its about Raksha bandhan, one of the most beautiful festivals we celebrate here in India. Consider it my way of saying HELLO!

As a little girl growing up in Rajasthan I was surrounded with festivals – Diwali, Holi, Rakhi, Sankrant, Teej, Gangaur,… the list became even longer since the boarding school I went to observed even Parsi , Sindhi, Christian and Islamic festivals.

Reinventing Festivals - Indian Festivals And Their Significance

Every festival held its own charm. Shivratri meant fasting all day to get special late night dinner, Janmashtmi meant panjiri and late night bhajan singing sessions, Basant Panchmi meant a trip to the elegantly decked up in white jasmine flowers Music Room to sing “Aeyyy Shardey maa” at the top of our childish voices. Festivals added colour to our ‘uniformed’ blue and maroon life and were easily the high points of our existence in the hostel.


Two years in a Social work college though dimmed the rosy hue around the same festivals. Seen through gender, equity and environmental lenses most festivals lost their shine revealing their unstated biases, unequal consumption and unfair assumptions. Was it right, for instance, to burst crackers knowing many firework factories employed nimble fingered children? What about the pollution? What about Teej? Was it really a celebration of womanhood? Or another symbol of the gold polished shackles that bound us tightly to our patriarchal society? But the festival that I felt let down most by was Rakhi. The soft silk bands that I proudly hand wove for my troop of brothers throughout girlhood began to smack of gender bias.

Kiss me goodnight – A mother’s five favorite things to do at bedtime

Even when my kids were young I looked forward to their bed time. My children  have never slept during the day. Not even when they were toddlers.  So, after a long day chock-a-block with chores  that ensued from being a mom to two wonderful but energetic bundles of joy. I welcomed their bed time like a third grader welcomes the bell announcing the end of school for the day. With relief and a whoop of joy.

Six years later, I still welcome bed time. The reasons though are different. They are still energetic and the day is still long. But now most of it is spent outside the purview of my home. School, sports, friends, hobbies, keep my babies away and occupied.

Thus, bed time has now become “our connecting time”. It is the time I hold them tightly in my arms and tell them how precious they are to me. The time to hug them and kiss them. Sometimes a hundred times each and tell them how proud they make us. Not because they aced the math exam or got that coveted music trophy but just because they are ours. It is my time to hear about their day. Not only hearing what they say but also listening to what they leave unsaid. I have realized that it’s also the best time to motivate, set goals, assess progress and draw lessons. Safely ensconced in my arms,  examples don’t seem like comparisons, corrections don’t become criticism. I find them more open to suggestion, more willing to introspect and reflect on the world around them.

But what is bed time if not story time? Many parents and grand parents are great story tellers. I remember the long nights I spent in my grandmother’s bed listening to her tales about talking birds and mimicking monkeys. I had my favorites that I could hear again and again. But each time I asked for a new story, she brought out one like magic from what seemed like an inexhaustible supply. When I had my children I realized I was not a great storyteller. I do not have the memory to remember stories or the knack of  making up new ones. So I devised my own alternatives.

Here are five of my favorite things to do with my children at bed time:

Tell them stories from your own lives and the lives of those around you: Children are fascinated by stories from their parents younger days.  That papa as a little boy rode his bike to school, climbed mango trees or that mumma had a favorite doll that she took with her everywhere she went, not only amuses little children greatly. It also helps them feel closer to the adults in their world. By giving them a peep into your childhood you help them relate to you better. I also believe personal stories from grand parents and parents lives give young ones a sense of history and pride.  Those among us, who have worked hard and struggled to attain  comfortable lives today  can ensure that our children learn to respect and value what they have by sharing with them anecdotes from our past.

Exchange Notes:  Most parents , specially of teenage children complain that their children never tell them anything. All queries about school, classes and friends draws unsatisfactory monosyllabic answers. Life today has become very hectic. Make your children’s bedtime the time to tune off from the world. Put that phone on silent mode, switch off that TV, turn down the laptop screen and talk. Tell your children how you spent your day. Who you met, what you saw, what you read. If you can, speak to them about the dilemmas you faced during the day, the sights that touched you  – like the beggar you saw on the road. Share with them,  If you saw or heard something that reminded you of them. Once your children are used to listening to you describe your day soon enough they will be telling you about their days too. And hopefully the habit will stick through those turbulent teen years.

Share your dreams: Not only is night-time a good time  to introduce your children to your past, it is also the best time to speak about the future. Letting your children in on your dreams and aspirations can have the added benefit of teaching them by example to have their own goals too.

Share with them their babyhood: This is my children’s favorite part. The nights that begin with ‘When you were a baby……..” are the biggest hits. Children are self focused and love to hear about themselves. It fills them with wonder to know who held them at the hospital for the first time, or about the time they did something indescribably funny  like curled off and went to sleep in the dog’s basket.

Read a Book: This time-tested  bed time ritual needs no further  explanation. My kids and I have read together every single day since they were born. To begin with, pick up something short and light. When my kids were two or three the pepper series was a favorite, as they grew they began to love Noddy, then came Roald Dahl and now at seven and nine we have Sudha Murthy’s short stories , Tintins and Malory towers by our bedside. I have found that reading at bedtime from an early age is the best way to inculcate the reading habit.

One of the things we traded off when we entered the ‘digital age’ as a human race was long drawn, idyllic childhoods. There is just too much to learn and too much to do. M and K are nine and seven now. Just children still. But not for long.  Adolescence will arrive soon. Their lives will only get busier. But I plan on clinging to bed time as long as I can.

We need to talk about Kevin 

I recently read “we need to talk about Kevin”. It’s neither a particularly gripping book, nor very exciting and yet I found myself squeezing out time from my hectic schedule to finish it. For Parentous this fortnight I speak about ‘Kevin’, and the questions it poses to us, the parents of today! Check out the link at

We Need To Talk About Kevin - Role Of Parents In Moulding Children

I would love to know your views!

Does ‘Education’ Worry You?

These days from the moment I wake up till the second I sleep (and probably while I sleep too:)) the one question that I worry about is whether or not to enroll M (my almost 9 years old daughter) in boarding school next year. Though ‘next year’ hardly sounds pressing, the decision is urgent since forms for the next academic session are accepted only till May, this year!

I am myself a boarding school product. having spent 17 years in the boarding, I had assumed, this was one decision I was never going to agonize over. But then, I was never a mother before. Mothers agonize over everything. And since education is one of the most  ‘respectable’ issues to agonize about, it has been on my mind. And it should be on your mind too If you are a parent or plan on being a parent ever

Consider this

A child who is five years old today will retire in 2068. Who the hell knows what the world will be like then?

Or this

What makes a school good? Are all ‘good’ schools actually good?


What are the philosophies behind learning and education?


Is the new experiential system of teaching really better than the traditional system that most of us as Indian children experienced? If the traditional system has worked for them shouldn’t it work for us?

or this really scary thought

What if fifteen years down the line, educationists realise that rote learning wasn’t so bad really?That it is good to introduce children to competitions from the beginning. That ranking a child actually gives them concrete goals and helps them be practical. As it lets them know exactly where they stand. Sort of grounding them in the real world as opposed to living in a fantasy world where everyone is a winner.

To mull over this and other stuff like this Visit me at Parentous.com

Here is an excerpt from what I’ve written

Most of us who are parents today have been educated in the traditional way. In our times rote learning was acceptable and even desirable. It was not uncommon for our generation to be made to rattle off long English poems or tables of 18 and 19 to every guest who came home, while our parents beamed at us proudly. “Rattafication” was emphasized upon.

Teachers still gave punishments and homework wasn’t confined to weekends. Sports were something you did for fun, not for overall development. Science was the only option for boys , commerce was acceptable if you were really struggling with academics and allowing one’s son to opt for arts meant acknowledging he was a ‘lost case’.

By the time we grew up and stepped into parenthood the whole educational philosophy had turned inside out. Suddenly, ‘Education’ became a tool for encouraging creativity, increasing curiosity and experiential learning (At least on paper and in principal’s opening addresses!).

No wonder we feel lost in this new rhetorical maze. When I went to collect my daughter’s first report card, I discovered it is no longer fashionable to ask what your child ‘ranks’ in the class. I was foxed by the O’s, A’s, B’s on the colorful greeting card like thing the teacher handed out to me.

After five-minute conversation, about how neatly my child ate, how quiet she was, how she was the star of the class and other such niceties, when the teacher still didn’t say anything about my daughter’s academic performance. I asked her, “But how has she done?” “She has done well”, I was informed. “What does well mean?” I asked. I had observed another parent, before me, being reprimanded for asking his son’s rank in class. So I refrained from using the word. Instead I said “How has she done in relation to other children?” “She has done well”, was the prompt reply.

Bye! See you…….. I am leaving for an exceptionally long family vacation on May 15th. I am hoping I will have more time to write then.  I can hear you ‘tut tut’. I know! vacations are not the best time to write. But there is never any harm in hoping! It keeps me going! Hope !