Intensely Angry

I still remember the day clearly as if it happened just yesterday. It was at the third birthday party of my daughter’s second cousin that the incident happened.

The birthday boy, as is the norm with three year olds was running around the small party hall in which the cake cutting was organized. And since the rest of the crowd was yet to arrive, his only playmate at this point in time was my daughter who was just a few weeks of turning three years old herself.

Now both these kids were ‘only children’ in that they didn’t have any siblings to share things with and were pretty much the center of attraction and attention in their respective families. This automatically meant that they were used to getting their wishes fulfilled and although were not ‘spoilt brats’ in the true sense of the word, the honest truth was that there was no competition for them as far as having their way at home. This naturally meant that both of them were quite bossy (for lack of a better term) in their demeanor.

That being said, both of them quickly realized that they were the only kids in the room and therefore adjusted well to playing with each other, generally singing rhymes and running around the room. Slowly however, as the birthday boy’s friends started arriving at the venue, he started getting more and more into his element. Within the next half an hour or so, we had a bunch of 10-15 kids running around, having a fun time in general.

Pretty soon my daughter was the only one there who didn’t know the other kids at all, and she started being left out of the fun and games that the rest of the kids were figuring out on their own. But that did not dampen her enthusiasm to be part of the fun and at every given opportunity she joined in on the fun, laughter and running around with the gang.

angry-faceI still haven’t been able to figure out why, but all of a sudden the birthday boy suddenly started pushing my girl around. Every time she tried to get into the crowd of kids playing, he would make it a point to come over to where she was and physically pushed her away from the game itself, so much so that on more than one occasion he managed to successfully ensure that she lost her footing and fell on her butt.

While my wife and me were quite disturbed by this behavior, the fact remained that it was the boy’s birthday party and both of us knew better than to get involved in a kiddie fight as long as it was not physically dangerous. But, once we noticed that the boy didn’t have any intention of letting it go and let my girl join in on the games, we had to intervene and pull her out for fear of being injured, both physically and to a smaller extent mentally as well.

What got my goat was the fact that neither of the parents of the birthday boy even tried to intervene and ask him to ease up on his bullying of my girl. Yes, it was his birthday and while the intention of not scolding him on that particular day was understandable, the fact remained that he was targeting my girl for unnecessary heckling and that irritated me to no end.

On previous occasions when my daughter had tried bullying other kids elsewhere, both my wife and me had intervened and explained to her as to how it was important for her to share her playthings and allow other kids to join her games. And while she didn’t quite like it at first, she soon understood that this was ‘the rule of the land’ as far as interacting with other kids went. Therefore, when the birthday boy continued his bullying without any intervention from any of the adults present, it ticked me off to no end that nobody was discouraging this behavior in him.

angry-face-clip-artWhile I understand that the kid was probably a little too young to actually understand what he was doing and how it hurt my girl, I was more irritated at the sheer callousness displayed by his parents who ideally should have intervened in this situation up front itself. Just remembering this incident rankles me a lot for more than one reason, not the least among them being parents inculcating good value systems in their children right at a very young age itself.


This post has been written for Project 365: A post a day where the intention is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided. Today’s prompt was to describe the last time I was surprised by the intensity of a feeling I had about something or how strongly I reacted to something that probably wasn’t a big deal.

Murphy and his law … or maybe not

Pineapple-CakePadmini, or Puppy as she was called by all her friends was a nervous wreck today. October 7th this year was quite unlike any of the other years.

Vaishnav, or Vy, as her eight yr. old son was called by everybody had insisted that they celebrate his birthday outdoors in the lawns of the residential complex they stayed in. Puppy was quite surprised at the fact that Vy put his foot down and insisted that his birthday be celebrated the way he wanted to. The silver lining in this whole situation was that for some reason Vy wanted his birthday to be celebrated with very little pomp and preparations, spending as little money as possible and he even volunteered to help his parents with the entire preparations including setting up the table and decorations on the lawns, and he had also promised to help out with serving food to the guests who turned up at the party. His only condition was that Puppy would bake the birthday cake herself.

While Puppy loved the fact that her little one was growing up to be money conscious and loved cakes baked by her, the fact remained that she had never dared to bake a cake as big as was required to feed at least twenty five hungry guests that the invitees would make up. Despite her misgivings, she gave in to Vy’s demands and geared up for a tough baking day on Oct 7th.

However, fate, the universe, the stars and all planetary alignments ended up conspiring against her on that day and despite following the instructions of YouTube chef Sanjay Thumma to the ‘t’, her cake ended up a sorry soggy mess which was barely able to stand upright. The party invite began at 5 in the evening, and here she was at 4.30, ready to burst out into tears. She didn’t have the heart to tell a hyper-excited Vy that she had ended up ruining his favorite pineapple cake, but she didn’t have a choice. She knew that for kids in their ‘tweens’, prestige and their image in front of their peers meant more than anything else, and she didn’t want Vy to cut a sorry figure in front of all his friends at his own birthday party.

Everything seemed to be going wrong today, of all the days…

Surprisingly Vy took it quite sportingly when she showed him the 4 Kilo mangled mess that she tried to pass off as his birthday cake. He looked at it thoughtfully for a while, just dipped a finger in the whipped cream on the top and licked it, and then turned around Amma, don’t worry. You have done more than enough to ensure that I have an awesome birthday. Just wait and watch.

He then took her smartphone and started typing away furiously while walking back into his room. Puppy assumed that he was probably messaging his friends on Whatsapp telling them not to expect any cake in the party. But five minutes later, he came out of his room, wearing an old white sweatshirt and his boxer shorts.

Puppy knew that he probably was disappointed and was trying to hide the same earlier, but she didn’t quite expect him to cancel the party itself. Just as she began to apologize and asked for her phone to call up the nearest French Loaf outlet to order a new cake, he looked up at her Amma, I suggest you get into clothes which you don’t mind being dirtied. I have a surprise planned at today’s party.

The entire situation was getting more and more mysterious for Puppy and she wondered what Vy was talking about. In any case, by now, she had decided that she would do anything to compensate for the bad cake and dutifully changed into an old sweatshirt and track pants. In the meantime, JP, her husband had arrived home from office and had also been instructed by Vy to change into something that he didn’t mind dirtying. Being the sport that he was, JP, went ahead and did exactly what his son asked him to.

When the trio went down the elevator, they sure made up for a funny sight in their old clothes with an ‘almost ready to collapse’ soggy cake in hand. And in five minutes when they reached the Events Area where Vy and his friends had decked up a small table and the thirty odd chairs with various streamers and balloons, they saw that all of Vy’s friends and the parents who had accompanied them had all turned up in similar attire. Puppy’s questioning look to Vy was answered only by an all knowing smile.

This was just getting crazier and crazier…

Vy then put the cake on the table and stood in front of it. Friends, aunties and uncles, first of all thank you so much for coming to my birthday party. I will ensure that all of you will remember this party for a long time to come.

As you can see, Amma managed to bake up a storm, quite literally, in the form of this pineapple cake, which by the way has the tastiest whipped cream I have tasted in quite a while. But then, unknowingly, she has given me a wonderful idea to make this party the most memorable one I have ever had.

Saying so, he put his right hand into the cake, scooped up the cream and went up to Puppy

What are you guys waiting for? Attack!!!!

He took the fistful of cream and pasted it all over Puppy’s face, and all his friends followed suit with each of them grabbing fistfuls of cake and pasting it on their parents and on each other. Before the parents could figure out what was happening, they were all doused with the soggy cake. The next three odd minutes saw mayhem with kids, parents and even pet dogs attacking each other with cake in their hands, and as Vy mentioned, it turned out to be the funniest, most memorable birthday party their apartment complex had ever seen.

Puppy couldn’t control her tears; tears of joy which streamed down her cheeks for her wonderful smart little son had managed to convert an unmitigated disaster that her cake was into a fun, laugh riot of a birthday party.


This post has been written for Project 365: A post a day where the idea is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided. Today’s prompt was Tell us about a time when everything seemed to be going wrong – and then suddenly, you knew it would be alright.

Guest Post : How to name your kids


Yet another lovely guest post by my favorite guest author on the blog. This time around he deals with the nuances of how to name our kids keeping in mind the various points to be considered while doing so.

Read on to enjoy this timeless piece of advice.


‘***********chary’ is quite a mouthful. I figured out quite early that if I had to get anywhere in my love-life and work-life, I should have a shorter (& sweeter) name and so I became ‘Nandu’. My paternal grandfather wanted everyone in his clan to have a ‘Swamy’ or ‘Chary’ in their names. Normally, these appellations are given to learned scholars, but my paternal grand-pa took the easy way out. My maternal grandfather wanted his entire clan names to start with the letter ‘V’. The number of hindu names starting with the letter ‘V’ is mind-boggling. I sometime feel I have descended from loonies in both sides of the family tree.

bram2My favorite fantasy these days is listing out all the things that I will do post-retirement. My wife then gently reminds me of my responsibilities – bringing up both our kids, their education, their marriage and then grand-kids, their education and their marriage… I didn’t go through the fine print carefully when I signed-up for marriage and parenthood.

Whether it’s a love marriage or arranged marriage, the true test happens when the baby is born and you are trying to figure out a suitable name. Our family friend has delivered a baby. Though the baby is nearly a month old, they are undecided on the baby’s name. The baby is referred to by them as – ‘The Baby’. Should be tough for the baby, I think…

When my elder one was born, we took the easy way out and she was christened with all the names (about half-a-dozen) that my parents and in-laws came up with. But, my wife and I agreed that we will call her legally as ‘Anjana’ thanks to our fascination with Hanuman. When the younger one was born, Anjana took the responsibility of finding a suitable name and the younger one was duly called as ‘Ananya’. Thanks to her involvement in selecting a name, I think Anjana feels some sense of ownership or responsibility for Ananya!

Some Dos and Don’ts when choosing names

a. Most schools sort lists on the basis of alphabetical order. Kids with names that figure early in the attendance list generally catch attention from the teachers.

b. The flip side is if the kids are too ahead in the alphabetical order (like mine are), they get called out for surprise quizzes and recitations without time for preparation.

c. Don’t try to name your baby after your ex-flame. Your wife will soon find out.

d. Naming your baby after a relation or an ancestor is a nice gesture. But, do bear in mind that some of those names are really old fashioned and can be hard on the baby.

bram3e. Beware of quirks in local pronunciations. Vidya becomes Bidya in Kolkata. Ramya becomes Remya in Kerala. Shruti becomes Suruthi in Tamil Nadu.

f. Should you consult a numerologist or an astrologer to name your baby? I think there is no harm if you think an extra alphabet will give an extra edge to your baby. Why leave things un-tried?

g. Don’t name your baby after any cine-star or celebrity. Sooner or later these folks will do something silly and you will regret your choice.

The elder one writes ‘Anjana *****’ in various fonts and styles and admires her creations. While I watch her with a smile, I realize that in some time, ‘*****’ will be replaced by a ‘XYZ’ when she finds her love.

That’s when I feel like freezing time, stop my children from growing up and holding on to them forever. At these times I how I used to tease my wife (she has no siblings) when her parents used to come visiting her almost every day when we were newly married. Life takes time but makes sure that you learn your lessons the hard way.

The younger one says she should have a more glamorous name like Barbie or Dora perhaps. Then I take her into my arms and tell her a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. 🙂


Didn’t I tell that this post contains timeless nuggets of information which would prove invaluable when naming your kids. While the rest of the post was awesome, that last line simply tugged at my heart strings, am sure you also felt warm and fuzzy when reading it, didn’t you 😀


All images used in this post are courtesy Google Image search results.

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.

Guest Post : The Parenting Black-Box

Yet another guest post from my ex-manager and good friend of mine. This time around he tries to assuage some of the constant fear that all parents have as to whether their parenting techniques and methods are good enough for their children.


Image courtesy:
Image courtesy:

Those days have gone when my college buddies and I used to talk about whose career is zooming and who is making how much money. These days we exchange notes about which school is better and how CBSE’s trimester pattern sucks. Wisdom dawns when we realize that at some point we need to take our foot off the ‘career’ pedal and we start to look at other stuff at home that requires our attention.

Both my kids have a similar upbringing. Both go to the same school. My financial position has not changed dramatically over the last few years (Hope my boss is reading this and is picking up a hint!). We haven’t even changed our residence in the last 11 years. Yet, both of the kids are as different as chalk and cheese. This Diwali, the elder one hated bursting crackers while the younger one wanted to do it all by herself. The elder one is quieter & more reserved while the younger one is gregarious and usually makes friends easily. The elder one needs variety in the lunch box while the younger one wants only curd rice. Till recently, we used to blend curd rice in a mixie as the younger one wants it to the exact consistency! The elder one fancies Siddharth while the younger one has a crush on Madhavan.

In Software Testing, we expect similar inputs to lead to similar outcomes. We place a lot of importance to consistency and predictability. I wish parenting was that easy! The truth is while bringing up kids, all parameters are not in our control. we sometime don’t even know all the parameters in play. While this is reassuring to parents who think they are responsible for everything, it is also scary because despite our best efforts, due to some unforeseen influence, the kids turn into someone that we don’t even recognize.

So what do we do? Just relax and do your best. Parenting is a journey with delayed gratification. You avoid buying a flashy car and you postpone buying the Tissot that you always wanted. You use the money to enroll you child in an expensive school. You realize that you will know the results of your sacrifices and compromises only later. Sometimes these sacrifices are in vain. Sometimes we make mistakes in the process. You hope and pray that your mistakes are forgiven and that your mistakes have no consequences.

Money cannot buy good parenting and I am not tired of repeating it. Mukesh Ambani rolls in money. But, I am sure Mukesh & Nita Ambani had worrisome moments with their child’s weight related health issues. They are no different than us in dealing with children.

You know the best part of parenting? Your goals become lot more realistic. Did the baby burp? Did the kid have a good day at school? No complaints about the kid in the PTA? Great! You have had a great day.

Last night, as I was reading Devdutt Pattanaik’s book – ‘SITA’; the elder one curled up to me with Harry Potter’s Goblet of Fire and seeing us, the younger one brought the Ramakrishna Mission’s Illustrated Ramayana and all of us spent a quiet hour reading our own books. It was a magical moment simply because it was ordinary. I now realize that life will take my kids through different paths. As long as they love and cherish each other’s company, I am fine with that.

As I write this post, my driver is checking with me about enrolling his Std. III son in the British Council Library. All parents are similar. We want our kids to have better opportunities than we do.

Do you know what is every father’s nightmare? It is that his grown-up daughter will bring home someone like Dhanush or Simbu as their spouse.


Absolutely wonderful post, wouldn’t you say. You seriously have to love the way he breaks down all these so called issues right down to the basics, and then, when they are objectively viewed, they don’t seem like issues at all 😀  Do share your nuggets of parenting advice in the comments below. I would love to hear about what techniques work for you 😀

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