My daughter is a bookie

Image courtesy : guardian website
Image courtesy : guardian website

My daughter’s love affair with books and stories began when she was around 8 months old, I guess when my wife gave her one of her sister’s old books which she had won as a kid in school. This ‘almost 20 yr old’ book, Rapunzel, which had been won as a consolation prize at her school ended up being  little R’s inseparable companion for quite a few days continuously.

While I am sure she didn’t understand anything about the story, the fact remains that the way in which her Amma told the story, or the way in which I used to enact the story out to her kept her engrossed with it. It became a bedtime ritual, it accompanied most of her meals, and thus began her love affair with the ‘written word’. I say ‘written word’ in quotes as I am sure it is her obsession with stories more than the words themselves which make her such an avid reader at this age.

My wife and me have always been reasonably avid readers and with the exception of really crazy busy times at office and work pressures, we have both managed to keep up with this habit reasonably well. The long commutes to and from office when I was in Chennai managed to re-‘kindle’ the reading habit in me, more so with my newly acquired Kindle (hence the quotes). And the post delivery break meant that my wife also renewed her love for books. While our tastes in books have slowly started to diverge, the fact remains that both of us do spend some time with our reading, and this is something that little R had probably noticed right from the beginning.

And as the saying goes “Parents are the first teachers of the child” and as if parents were not enough, little R’s grandfather also is an avid reader, although that habit took the backseat for quite a while when we moved down to Bangalore and he didn’t have enough time to spare for books after playing throughout the day with his granddaughter. In any case, she has seen both her grandparents also spending time with their newspapers and books, and I am sure this also made quite an impression on her.

Starting with Rapunzel, moving on to books with alphabets, numbers, colors, vehicles, animals, vegetables, birds, reptiles, insects, you name it and she has devoured all of them with equal gusto. At one point of time, the wife and I were so exhausted with all the book shopping that we just gave up and accepted defeat. And all this when the little one is barely 26 months old now. That being said, both of us are thrilled at her love for books, and sincerely hope she continues to love the written word for the rest of her life for more reasons than one.

Another aspect which probably encouraged her book reading habit was the fact that the television was all but dead at home during the first year of little R. While we had a nice big screen LCD TV with a nice DTH connection, the fact that I wasn’t at home from around 6.30 in the morning till around 7.30 at night, and pretty much asleep at all other times meant that the TV was switched off for most of the day except for around 30 odd minutes. And this I am sure went a long way in not building a TV addiction for little R. Even today, when we hear other parents talk about how their kids eat only when they see Doraemon or some other cartoon on TV, my wife and I look at each other and steal thankful smiles that we are not in the same predicament.

What is even more surprising is the fact that little R, up to a few months ago, was not even interested in toys as well. While she would play with her toys for a maximum of 30 odd mins at a stretch, she would happily sit with her books, staring at them, talking to them, talking about them for longer periods of time. Till date, she doesn’t have her one favorite toy or stuffed doll that she needs to take with her wherever she goes, but she does need to have at least 4 of her books whenever she travels. Now, if that isn’t the true sign of a book lover, what is.

On more than one occasion I have thanked God that we had almost stopped watching movies (another activity which we so love doing together) by the time little R was born, else she would have turned out to be a movie fanatic by now. Now, that is not a bad thing in itself, but it’s just that too much of the audio-visual experience at this age, that too of the movie variety would surely have ended up in some unnecessary complications, wouldn’t it.

I would love to hear what your kids are/were obsessed with when they were around 2 yrs old. Did they love their stuffed toys, cartoons, books, or nursery rhymes, more? Please do let me know by sharing your stories in the comments section.


PS: The little girl in the picture is NOT my daughter 😀 although I am sure that I could take a similar pic of hers in a few years’ time.

Schooling choices – Related considerations

Image courtesy :
Image courtesy :

This post deals with one of the most critical but one of the most under-appreciated and technically difficult topic of choosing the right school for your children. I have dealt with this topic in a bulleted manner, ie, have jotted down my thoughts based on broad categories to be considered when selecting a school for children. Please note that these categories are not prioritized in any manner and are in a random order.

Read the rest of this post here … [Link to post]


Sakshi Nanda, who I personally believe is a wonderful writer/blogger and an even more wonderful human being (evidenced by the topics she posts and the absolutely refreshing honesty and genuineness in all her posts) has been kind enough to publish this guest post of mine on her blog, Between Write and Wrong.

Do hop over and read some of her other posts as well, they make for really interesting reading.

Guest Post : Bringing up children nowadays

This is a guest post from one of my previous managers, somebody who I consider a role model, mentor, guide and friend all rolled into one. Given that he has two daughters aged around 12 and 9 yrs old, his words and views on parenting are precious pearls of wisdom to me.

And his writing skills are second to none as this post proves.


The Parent-Teachers meeting just concluded for both my kids. The school informs us that they are implementing an IT system to display kid’s performance records over the net and we are supposed to log in and track the kids’ performance online. So, no more progress reports and no more meetings… I secretly hope the system crashes and we are back to the good old way of discussing kids’ performance in-person with their teachers.

The school my kids go to is a fairly conservative one with parents from all walks of life. Some of the challenges which the teachers face and report are –

a. Kids talking a lot in class because they have no one to talk to at home.

b. Kids who are hyperactive and who get distracted quite easily.

c. Kids using profane language with other kids and with the teachers.

d. Kids indulging in bullying, damaging school property & other such aggressive behavior

e. Kids who are super-competitive and who do not hesitate to hide other children’s note books during exam time, cheat in exams and will do anything to get a grade.

f. Kids making inappropriate and in some cases very offensive posts in Facebook.

We are talking about kids who are in primary or who are pre-teens! Teachers report that though these numbers are less, they are growing these days.

My most anxious moments are seeing my kids off to school and waiting for them to come back safely. I don’t claim to have figured out all about parenting. It is still very much work in progress! Some pointers from my journey so far –

1. Girls are as difficult to bring up as boys. In fact, things tend to be difficult with girls as they tend to cry very quickly!

2. Grandparents are good care-givers but very poor role models for the children. My kids return with a lot of currency notes every time they visit their grandfather. Their grandmother cooks whatever the kids want. So what if it is Maggi everyday!

3. Parents in IT industry beware! Many of the problems I have listed above are from families in the IT industry. We folks in this industry are generally awash in liquidity, foreign holidays happen like clock-work and frequent shopping visits are the norm. I am sorry to say this, but our kids know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

4. Put a budget or an upper limit on everything – dress bought for Diwali, a sleepover at a friend’s place, buying a new toy or game. Don’t make it obvious that you are earning so much!

5. Some parent tend to ask their children to mix with their own social class. Merc owning families with Merc owning families only! As long as your kids friends seem to be good kids, their background should not matter to you.

6. Too much of religion and fantasy is also a bad thing. My younger one had sleepless nights when she read too many stories about gods and goblins.

7. Avoid watching TV serials (especially Tamil soaps!) with your kids. After watching one such episode my elder one wanted to know if I have a second wife. (Managing one is good enough!) Families depicted in such serials don’t exist in real life.

Life @ office is a lot easier. Our company buses run on time, food in canteen is bland but safe, our promotion processes are slow but predictable and there is a method to everything. Life outside is a lot more chaotic!

When my kids grow up and raise families of their own, I will put my feet up and I will then write a book on parenting.


Missing School Days

I am sure that all of us would agree that school days remain among the best days of our lives, and for whatever reason remain fresh in our memories as if they happened just yesterday, don’t they. All of us long for those wonderful days when innocence was in plenty and life was much simpler, don’t we.

Ok, now that I have managed to get your attention to this post, let me come straight to the topic. Just like the rest of you, I also miss the good old school days, the only difference being that at this point in time I am not missing my own school days, but the school days of my little daughter, who is at home full time since October 2nd, courtesy the puja holidays at her play home.

When R was younger, both my wife and me used to read out stories to her, talk to her and make her reply to our questions, show her different things and help her identify them, play with colors and teach her the various shapes and sounds, used to read out her animal books, vegetable books, fruit books, and teach her various things. Little did we realize that keeping my daughter engaged for a good portion of her day would end up backfiring in such a crazy manner.

Since R joined playschool in June, my wife has been enjoying her three hours of peace in the morning, after which R comes home, has her lunch and naps for a good two hours. So all in all, my wife had a good five hours at her disposal during which time she used to complete the cooking, house work and also have some time to pursue her hobbies which includes reading, putting up posts on my blog and other assorted things. However, as all good things come to an end, so did this. Come October 2nd, and after spending one full day with my daughter, both of us realized that we were in trouble for the time that her school remained closed.

She has developed into this relatively hyperactive kid who cannot sit still for even a small period of time. She needs to continuously be given stimuli to her brain in the form of books, crayons, shapes, colors, physical games, conversations, questions, answers to her questions, the list goes on. And to add fuel to this fire is the fact that nowadays she is not tired by the time it is her usual nap time. And this means that she has a very light nap in the afternoons which is invariably disturbed by some courier delivery person who picks the wrong doorbell to ring and hits the switch which has the weird song which always wakes little R up.

My parents, my wife and me have all had enough of reading out the same books to her again and again, we have all had enough of playing the same games with her. My wife and me have had enough of taking her to the park and hoisting her up the platform from where she slides down. For whatever reason, she refuses to climb the steps up the platform and insists on being physically hoisted up by either of us. All in all, our levels of patience are severely depleted, and we are now turning to divine assistance to help us get through the 10 odd days more before her play school reopens.

While we truly appreciate the fact that the little one is not at all interested in television viewing of any kind for a duration of more than 5 mins at a stretch, at times we end up praying that she watches a little more TV to reduce the hyper-activity that surrounds her when she is in the same room.

To be really honest, I have never really missed school so much until the last week or so, when I have truly wished and prayed that it reopened soon.

I would love to hear your viewpoints on how you tackle hyper activity in your two year old children. Any tips and suggestions will be rewarded in the form of inclusions in our daily thanksgiving to the Almighty.

Projecting parental expectations

I love my Michael Jackson songs, McDonalds French Fries and lounging around in my boxer shorts at home. I hate rap songs with explicit racy music videos, self help books and people who spit in public places. The above is a small subset of my likes and dislikes and how I perceive the world. But the question is should my little two year old daughter also share the same likes and dislikes as me?

To find out my thoughts on this topic, please visit this blog where my guest post has been put up today [Link to post].


Sakshi Nanda, who I personally believe is a wonderful writer/blogger and an even more wonderful human being (evidenced by the topics she posts and the absolutely refreshing honesty and genuineness in all her poets) has been kind enough to post a guest post of mine on her blog, Between Write and Wrong. Do read her “About me” portion of her blog here and you will realize that she is not a person to be messed around with given her stint with English literature and publishing houses.

I sure hope that I am leaning more towards the “Write” side of her blog rather than the “Wrong” side 😀

Thanks once again Sakshi for hosting my post on your wonderful blog. Truly appreciate it.