I grew up in a very vociferous household. Sharing one’s opinion was naturally encouraged- ask our former neighbors.

I learned very early in life, that if I make stupid choices, my parents would let me see it through (basically).

I decided to pass on the same gift to my daughter- the freedom to form one’s independent opinion after gathering all the relevant information.

She decided to unwrap her gift way too early. She’s 4 now and is a human machine that churns out 150 “why” on a daily basis. Yay to me!


Take a Break- Let Them Watch Cartoons

I know.

The politically correct thing would be to say, “my 4-year-old kid lives in a screen-free household”. But that would also be a blatant lie.

On days when I need a breather of 30-40 minutes, on days when I can do with a power nap, on days when my daughter finds every toy we ever bought for her, “boring”, on days we would rather not spend time in “imagining” or “coloring” or “building” things, on days, when quality time spent only forms a fraction of the quantity of time we need to keep our daughter engaged, we give her the blessed gift of “TV time”.

Sometimes I am in the same room as her, because she wants me to watch cartoons, with her. But sometimes, I want her to be completely engrossed in TV because I need to take bath, make my bed, do laundry or make the house generally look like a place where three human beings are living.

For both the possible scenarios, I have come to one conclusion. I feel much better when the show she is binging on, (because sometimes, it does end up getting more than 30 minutes. I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry) I want her to at least watch a cartoon show which either- teaches her the manners that my husband and I have failed to teach her, or have some plot/story to it- especially on the days when I am supposed to watch the shows with her.

Most of these shows are available on NETFLIX, God bless them. Some of these shows are on AMAZON, as well.

No matter where you gather them from, be rest assured that they are not only parent-tested and child-approved, they are also age-appropriate.

So much better than the videos YOUTUBE shows my child where all they are really teaching her is how to open a box with unrealistic glee and almost perfect articulation.


So. Yeah. (At least she’s not watching this garbage, right? Right? Ok you don’t seem impressed)




Here is my list of go-to videos, for my daughter. I let these shows babysit my 4-year-old daughter from time to time (every afternoon from 3:30 to 4:15 pm).



When push comes to shove, this is one of my favorite shows to watch with my daughter. It’s a story about an elf called, BEN, and a fairy princess called HOLLY. The show also happens to have a wise-cracks provider, NANNY PLUM and sarcastic, WISE-OLD ELF, among other prominent characters. The storyline is fun, creative, entertaining and filled with interesting happenings, and nobody is falling in love with anybody, which I think is always a plus when you are making cartoons for a 4-year-old.




It’s a very popular show amongst kids. Pretty sure you have heard of it. I love the show. It has a proper story, driven by adorable pups. Who wouldn’t love that, right? Did I say it has a story? Which is such a rarity in kids’ shows! Watch it together with your kids, I say!



Another famous and popular kids’ show. It not only has a decent storyline, but it also keeps the kids involved. And the Spanish words they make your kid learn just, by the way, is not a bad fringe benefit either. The show is currently available on Amazon.




Another fun show. Nothing too complicated or hard to grasp, but not made under the assumption that kids just want cute stuff, either. In the show, Justin imagines visiting a new country and kind of accidentally explores its culture along with his imaginary toy turned friend Squidgy (very Calvin and Hobbes) and his neighbour, Olive. The animation is beautiful and stories end up giving your child a sneak-peek into other countries- bite-sized info. Sounds great, right!



Cute animals trying to learn and teach easy words while they splash a lot of pink and pastels on the screen. I may not want to watch it with my daughter. But I would have no problem in letting her watch this clean, entertaining show while I take a power nap or a much-needed bath after 3 days.



Daniel Tiger clearly loves to sing. But the grownups- his parents, his teacher, tend to teach him useful lessons via songs, as well. For instance, my daughter kind of sings this song while going to the bathroom:

“When you have to go potty,

Stop and go right away.

Flush and wash and be on your way”.

And since this wisdom, didn’t come from one of the two evil parents with ulterior motives, it tends to stick. Because Daniel is a cool cat, who sings cool songs. So he got to be right.




George Orwell’s Animal Farm did a lot of damage to the image of pigs. Enters, Peppa pig along with mummy pig, daddy pig and her little brother George for damage control. No problem in this world of cartoons is big enough that a little jumping up and down in muddy puddles, cannot solve it. Also, Peppa’s friends, Suzy Sheep, Rebecca Rabbit, Danny dog, Emily Elephant make the show colorful and super-fun with simple storylines & relatable “kid troubles”.


Bye-bye pigs, welcome rabbits! The series is about a kid brother, Max, and his slightly older sister, Ruby. Their parents are precariously always away. However, it gives both of them a chance to solve their own day-to-day problems. You might get bored out of your wits, watching the episodes again and again, but my daughter tends to get all the jokes and chuckles often.




Ok, there’s nothing for parents, here. If you happen to watch it with your kid, good luck! But it’s a sweet little unrealistic world where every bear, cares a lot. Like seriously, what’s up with that! Perfect for kids. I have heard kids shouldn’t be introduced to hard-hitting, realistic cinema before 10, anyway, right! (totally made that one up).


My daughter loves the show, sometimes. I mean it has dancing, singing, colorful and lot of unbelievably happy preteens and teens. But you can tell by her expressions that this show is on its way out by the time she would be 5. Until then, a clean, joyful, sing-song afternoon is guaranteed. All you as a parent need is, to be in another room with earplugs because the wheels of the bus are going round and round, again.


Happy Napping, yapping, drinking, cleaning, sweeping, weeping, for the next 30 or whatever time your conscience allows you to do this “crime of the century”. Plus, no one needs to know. *wink* *wink*


The Palace Of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni: Review in a Nutshell

The Palace Of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


The book is an attempt to revisit the Hindu Epic, Mahabharata from Panchaali’s viewpoint.

The book not only allows the reader a peek in the psyche of one of the most intriguing & complex feminist characters, Draupadi but also while doing so, the author lures us in the saga, with immense beauty of language.

In the end, the re-telling of the saga reminds us, that all of us need to carry the burden of our choices & pain of our character-defining flaws.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin: Review in a Nutshell

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

This lawyer turned writer spent an entire year, focussing on & following things, signs, habits, research & her own intuition to find HAPPINESS and what it means to her.

As Charles Schultz once said, “Happiness is a warm puppy”. For each one of us, happiness can mean different things. This book gives a roadmap to pursue our personal brand of joy & contentment, provided we are eager to actively & shamelessly pursue it.


Animal Farm by George Orwell: Review in a Nutshell

Animal Farm by George Orwell

The novel is an allegory. The story is about a group of farm animals that revolts against its human-master, to take control of the farm, hopeful that this will lead to its betterment.

But soon idealism is replaced by opportunism & greed for power. It’s a political satire & commentary on Russian Revolution and the misplaced romanticism around Russian socialism that existed back in the day.


More specifically it’s critical towards means & methods used by Joseph Stalin.

Generally speaking though, it describes politics & people in power and how they tend to manipulate their loyal but naive followers, with stunning accuracy.

To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History: Review in a Nutshell

To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History: By Lawrence Levy

I have always been fascinated by Pixar.

Their movies like Finding Nemo, Inside Out and Coco have not only amazed me by their top-notch Animation but also the stories they chose to tell.

This book is a rendition of Pixar’s journey by its former CFO, Lawrence Levy- from a struggling company back in the 90s (before Toy Story) to its astronomical success, movie after movie.


The story has been told with so much heart & warmth, that it chokes you up and your eyes well up by the sheer feat a bunch of supremely gifted professionals achieved.

This story is as fantastic as any told by Pixar.


Highly Recommended.



How To Keep The Kids Busy On Long-Haul Flights

Raise your hands if you hate to be seated next to a child, and that too a losing-his-mind, crying-out-loud, noisy, bored child, on an airplane?

Now imagine that you are the parent in this scenario and you don’t get to change your seats, or casually complain or simply put on your earphones and immerse yourself in the in-flight entertainment.

I know enough and more people (single friends or married without kids friends) who have unabashedly complained about reckless kids and careless parents whom they had to endure during their otherwise wonderful flight.

A few months ago, my family, which comprises of my husband, my easily bored 4-year-old daughter and myself were traveling to London. It was supposed to be an 8-hour flight. The longest non-stop flight we had ever boarded with our child.

We were quite aware of the challenges that it can throw at us, specifically in keeping my daughter occupied for all those 8 hours.

Also, we hate it when we are forced to feed her videos after videos to keep her engaged and out of our hair. Our guilt eats us up from within. Also, in this case, it wasn’t practical either. So we researched, asked a few friends with kids in similar age-group and decided to be prepared to best of our abilities.

Surprisingly, this flight experience turned out to be the best we’ve ever had! No tantrums, no boredom, no rolling of eyes, no irritation. And that’s just my husband. My daughter was an equal delight, as well.

So here are a few things that you can carry for your child on the next long-haul flight if videos and movies and games on the phone are not something that you like to encourage either.



Our daughter is in that phase where she loves to color. I would recommend carrying a new coloring book along with new set of colors so that your kid is not already “bored” by the book. The coloring books keep them reasonably occupied and pretty much independent.



Again, a supremely self-sufficient activity for the kids. They may need a bit of direction and mild-involvement, at times. As long as, they are not annoyed by the long travel and terribly tiny economy-class seats, it’s great!



Don’t know why, but kids love stickers, they can spend so many quiet minutes with them, that the stickers are almost the cheapest and most affordable nannies, ever! As long as you can ensure, that they don’t end up sticking these things on the seats or on the tray table, it’s one of the best options for in-flight, non-screen entertainment.



My daughter loves the story-telling time, at home. It’s part of her bedtime ritual. The trick is to pick storybooks that comprise of your child’s favorite characters, preferably- something they love reading again and again or something new that can capture their attention because it’s new.





Kids just like adults, love to show off their knowledge. Also, they love to involve their parents in most of their activities, if they can help it. Picking books that require them to look for specific things in pictures, asking them questions with specific answers are some of the things that they would deeply enjoy.



Whenever they are on a parent-chosen mission, a certain irritation kicks-in, by default in kids. As they grow up and learn to share their opinion, they will let you know that they don’t approve of this plan, entirely. In those moments of “genuine misery” and “heart-felt hopelessness”, their favorite action figures remind them of home and all things familiar. Left alone with the toys, they can come up with detailed storylines to keep them truly occupied.




Whether it’s hand-puppet or stamp set or similar things, they would require some sort of imagination from parent’s side as well. But it’s usually worth it. This will ensure at least 20 minutes of screen-free and guilt-free fun, if not more so!



There is something exciting and quite engaging about creating something physical, colorful and pretty. I have spent a lot of time playing with my daughter with building blocks and legos and making fun shapes with clay etc. As a parent, I have to admit, it’s mildly entertaining for me too. Win-Win, I say!



I don’t know why, but my daughter loves to comb my hair, decorate it with her pretty pink clips, and in general loves to pretend as if she’s my mom, getting me ready for school. Lately, we have come up with another activity- pretend make-up, where we take one of my make up brushes and use it to doll each-other up, without the actual make-up products, of course. If everything fails, this should suffice, for sure.


I hope these ideas help you to take the plunge and feel less scared about the long-haul flights.

It’s always good to carry a backup of downloaded videos of your child’s favorite shows, of course.

Also, very important, DO NOT let them know, about your inventory, right away. Let everything be a tiny surprise, one after the other. Full disclosure in this case, can be detrimental to your plan.


Happy traveling!

I Wish I Could Tell You

I wish I knew a way to always protect her.

From an unsavory comment by her classmate.

From a casual neglect by a teacher.

From a small accident at recess time.

From my own well-meaning but faulty parenting.

When I look at her, I know she deserves nothing but the best.

But what is the best?

Is it to protect her from every possible, probable hurt?

Or is it to let her be- even if it means, she experiences a mild let-down, from her family and friends, at times?

I wish I could tell her, all that I have learned about the real world….that no amount of self-improvement will impress that one bully who dresses up as a friend.

I wish I could tell her that, her humor lights up a room.

I wish I could tell her that even though I get upset about her covering her bedroom walls with colors and stickers, never in a million years do I want her to stop being silly, or stop being a child.

I wish I could tell her in a way she can comprehend that her kindness and wise words fill my heart with so much love and genuine respect for her.

I wish I could stop “fine-tuning” her already fascinating personality.

I wish I could tell her that every time I held her hand too tight while crossing a road, or appear too paranoid while she makes her 50th jump from the sofa on to the floor, I am as much trying to protect her as I am trying to manage my untamable fears.

I wish I could tell her that a mother’s heart and mind are scary places. That no person should ever be exposed to that kind of frantic and fearsome worrying. The constant worrying about possible scenarios in which their child can get hurt.

But mostly, I wish I could tell her every day, that she is perfect. That she is loved. That she is worthy of everything that comes her way.

Stiff: My Parenting Poetry

Deeply inspired by Kipling’s poem ‘if’, I have titled it ‘stiff’ which is what my neck is right now. Dedicated to all parents.

If you can keep your head when your baby is hitting his by going towards the same sofa corner again and again…
If you can trust yourself when all family members doubt you about changing the diaper of your constantly in motion baby…
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting so that the baby finishes his bottle…
If you can dream – and not need sleep time for it…
If you can make one heap of all your baby’s toys
And risk it on one surprisingly strong punch of your baby’s tiny fist
And see them scatter, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your annoyance…
If you can talk with crowds and still keep your baby busy,
Or walk with stains and not feel awkward about it…
If you hate your sleep as much as your baby hates your sleep…
Yours is the Bedroom floor and everything that’s on it needs to be picked up and cleaned..
And – which is more – you’ll be doing it tomorrow again…

5 Things I No Longer Say

Motherhood, among other things, is a sobering and humbling experience. All your lofty ideas about ideal parenting are finally put to sleep as you struggle day in and day out, to get your act together. Which is why I no longer say the following things:

1. That kid is such a spoilt brat: I always used to feel, that for a kid to lie on the floor and bang his hands and feet had to be his parents’ fault. Because, of course, they must have set a bad precedent and the kid now believes that he can get his way every time he breaks into that routine, in public. My daughter has recently started using this tactic at home and in public places. I don’t know, how it started. I don’t know how I can curb it, but I know this, it wasn’t me who encouraged this behavior.

2. How can they let their baby cry: Here’s a fun fact- kids are like grownups…They like drama, and they cry- to get attention, to get their way, because they are bored, because they can’t sleep even though they are terribly tired, because they are hungry but don’t like their meal and for many reasons that parents have no idea about (at least in that moment). I always thought, that if a baby is crying profusely, and his parents are walking ahead without consoling him, cajoling him, or comforting him, they must be a really bad set of parents. I have come to realize that, every time a baby cries, it doesn’t always have to be real, serious or even something remotely important. My daughter cries, if I take away the shoe, she was so gleefully chewing on, 3 seconds ago. She then again cries, if she accidentally, gets her tiny, oh-so-cute hands on one of my lipsticks and literally decides to ‘paint the town red’ with it. She then cries again, if she discovers our dustbin has some thrown away food in it and wants to munch on it and I clearly being the villain, stop her from another of her ‘innocent’ indulgences. Sometimes, we have no choice, but to allow our children, to get over themselves, because we just cannot give in to their temporary ideas of happiness!

3. Bad parenting sign #3– did he just hit another child: I thought, that if the home environment is ‘nurturing’, ‘healthy’, ‘happy’, ‘non-violent’, a baby will never hit another baby, until the day, my baby girl, hit me and when I expressed my pain, she started laughing. I have to admit, that her laughter was so cute and adorable, that I almost got ready to be hit by her again. The ‘responsible’ parent in me, however, tried telling her that one must not slap, push or hit another person. But she is too young. I would be fooling myself if I hope, that any idea I intend to plant, will hold roots anytime soon. Until that happens, I am that embarrassed mother, in a social gathering, who apologizes, every time my baby plays her little game and hits another baby (tinier than her) and then appears shocked when the baby starts crying; all this while wondering that she was just being friendly.

4. Eww…please grab a tissue & clean your baby’s face:…and while you are at it, maybe change her dirty clothes as well? I used to be extremely judgmental about the parents, who would what it appeared to be at that time ‘turn a blind eye’ to their child’s obvious shabbiness. Here’s the thing, they can see it, but just can’t help it, sometimes. My husband and I just recently celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and since it was right in the middle of the work week, we decided that nothing flashy or elaborate is possible and that we will try and go to a ‘nice’ place for an early dinner. I bathed my baby girl, dressed her up in one of her new party outfits, matching everything, with everything. Then quickly got ready and off we went to the ‘nice’ place for our ‘somewhat’ romantic dinner. While we were on our way, our daughter demanded a biscuit and we gave her the one, she is currently fond of, a chocolate cream biscuit. By the time we reached the restaurant, her face, tiny little fingers were smeared with chocolate. She had some stuck in her hair too. I promptly took out one of the wipes, but since she was already irritated with the fact that she was again made to sit in her pram, she refused to be touched, especially her precious face. So we entered the fine dining restaurant with my baby looking like she just got into a street fight with another baby for a toy dump in the dirt. So yeah. Maybe nobody noticed, but I did and it was one of the many reminders, that no matter how perfect, you want things to be for your baby, you need to realize that sometimes there will be tiny little things (no matter how annoying) that will be out of your hands.

5. Please stop using your baby as ‘show and tell’ toy: My parents used to do it very often. Every time, a guest would visit our house, they would ask me to recite a very difficult poem that I had learned and had previously recited on tv. This went on for a while. Things they wanted to showcase kept changing with time, but their knack for asking me to recite/sing/act something specific, didn’t. While growing up, I saw other parents, doing the exact same thing to their kids. Now that my baby is old enough to mutter some simple words like ‘mumma’, ‘puppa’, ‘no’ etc, I not only tell my colleagues on a daily basis my account of all her mumblings, but I also try and make her say some words when they are around. I am sure, I will shamelessly ask her to recite some random poem when she gets to that age. I do it because I am extremely proud of my baby girl’s little achievements and I want to share it with my circle of friends. I no longer think it’s awkward, or weird, or plain stupid. I guess, now that I am on the other side of parenthood and not a mere onlooker, I have realized that things that used to appear vague and non-consequential have some kind of fondness, tenderness attached to it.

In short, I no longer believe, I have grown up to become a perfect parent, which I thought I would be. I have left myself, in the tiny hands of my daughter and truly trust her ways to mold me into a parent, who would be tailor-made for her.

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Imperfect Parenting and why its ok

Note: This is one of my older blogs.

When my parents used to tell me, “you will understand our actions, only after you become a parent”, I thought they have found a way to say “whatever”; ie disagreeing without giving any logical explanation!

But they were right!

I can finally understand my parents’ or for that matter any parent’s predicament.

The fact that they are supposed to discipline their children and still manage to make them understand that it’s coming from a place of love is very difficult.

My daughter is just 20 months old right now, and when I try to discipline her, try to, not give-in, into every of her little and many times unreasonable demands, she gives me the look, as if, I am letting her down as a loved one.

At this very tender age, she has already understood, that I am the emotionally weaker parent. As a result of which, my husband can say no and she’d probably not try after a point, but if I refuse something, her negotiations- smiling cutely, howling profusely, and giving me a silent treatment continue up until the time, I finally agree to do as she pleases.

Now a lot of parents, would immediately jump in and say, that’s the entire problem- you give in too quickly. And they might be half-right.

But frankly speaking, I find it really hard to let down, that tiny creature, who looks at me, as if I am her whole world, who will follow me around the entire house, will sit with me in the kitchen- whether I am washing her bottles, or cooking a meal. I am unable to tell her, in actions and/or in words, that hey, I cannot fulfill, this one very innocent demand, because I have this uncomfortable responsibility of disciplining you as well.

For the record, I am getting better at the discipline front, but, what I am trying to say here is, I am unable to get the guilt out of my system, while I do it.

Much of it stems from the fact that I have a job and I am away from my daughter for good 8 hours a day. Which is why, when I come back home, I want to spend “happy time” with her, give the entire “quality time” a big high-five and please her (for the lack of a better word).

My mother went through the same grueling internal turmoil for years. She dedicated her entire life to taking care of her family while working full time. Her times were much harder though. We had a maid, yes, but not a full-time maid or a cook, or even the luxury to order food, whenever, she “didn’t feel like cooking”. Those were the times, when restaurant outings, were reserved for special occasions only. She let many career opportunities slide, to keep her family together, because taking that opportunity would have meant, staying in a different city and meeting after long gaps.

My parents managed to raise, two very independent, self-assured human beings. Thanks to them, I was introduced to music and movies, and poetry- something that I continue to seek as a form of meditation of sorts.

There were times, I wasn’t allowed to go on school trips and I resented them for that. Then there were times when I was asked to not spend “so much time” with a certain boy and I felt misunderstood. They took those difficult and unpopular decisions because they could see, what I couldn’t, yet. I finally saw the logic behind all of it, only after I became a mother.

Can you imagine the kind of regret I feel, for giving my parents such a hard time for doing the “right thing”?

Now I live in a different country. I have a family of my own. My own set of responsibilities. I make short trips to my home. Short, hurried, blurry trips to my parents’ home.

I want to tell them, that I am sorry for being such a difficult child. Such a temperamental human being, who sometimes questioned things, just for the heck of it. I am sorry for letting you down, so many times. And thank you for always supporting me, even when I didn’t deserve it, at all. I am sorry for those hurtful words I said, and the superficial judgment calls I took, on your parenting style. In the hindsight, feeling a little stupid.

No wonder, our parents, insist on becoming grandparents soon after we get married. They sell us all kinds of ideas from “we’ll take care of the baby”, “don’t get us started on the biological clock”, “as you get older, it gets more and more difficult to take care of babies, have them now” to the insane ones like, “we are retired and bored, why don’t you plan a baby”. They finally feel free from the torrid task of disciplining children. Now, all they have to do is be popular, by allowing their grandchild, everything he/she wished to do. Cakewalk.

Not just that, they also know (I think) that as soon as the grandchild would arrive, their own thankless, oblivious, “self-assured” child will get the taste of their own medicine- the pill that we have to gulp down when we see our own child, disliking us, disagreeing with us, disappointed in us, even in small ways, even when we know we are doing the right thing. Boy! that hurts!

As a child, I remember telling my mom, with all the conviction a 10-year-old, that I will not work, after I have my kids. Indirectly taunting my mom, for making an obvious wrong life choice.

12 years later, I am almost the mirror image of my mother, as far as our daily routines are concerned.

I have come to know, that kids feel smarter than they really are, only because, they have no idea of what’s coming next. Knowledge makes you humble.

When recently, one of my colleagues, said that the same thing that she’s going to stop working for at least the first 3-4 years after her baby is born, I just quietly smiled and told her, don’t stress too much on the decision right now, take that call when you get there.

There can be multiple reasons, why you couldn’t alter your life, the way, ideally you would have wanted to do, after your child’s arrival- maybe you need the money, maybe you need the independence, maybe you cannot imagine yourself to stay at home and tend to household chores and the baby-related responsibilities, maybe, you changed your mind. Trust me, you are allowed to. You will find a way to raise your special little one, in the best possible way, that you can.

My mom was not always around to pamper me, or discipline me because she was also working full time. She managed to instill independence in me, not just by letting me take responsibility for my own actions but also and more importantly by her own example. She and my father taught me and my sister a very simple yet significant lesson, that if you are ready to work hard in your life, things, comforts, luxuries would follow. Yes, luck will play a part in it, but that is something which is out of our hands for sure.

My child has allowed me to look at my parents in a different light altogether. She has also helped me to not only see my flaws but also to rectify them and if that’s not possible at times, then allowing me to go easy on myself.

In the meantime, all I have to do is manage my time, my energy according to her time and energy. I guess it’s a very small price to pay for the kind of lessons she teaches me about relationships and about being human. Because that’s another thing, the moment you become a parent, you become more accepting and forgiving of other people’s shortcomings, since you have finally seen yours.