Struggle of Mental Health in South Asian Families

There is so much advice dished out to kids, everyone has a wise word without a thought to it’s impact on a child’s mental health. This is specially true in South Asian families like mine.  One of the best pieces of advice given to me by my father is  people treat you with contempt often to hide their own insecurities”.

Mostly, I have recalled this whenever I cannot understand someone being mean without a reason. There are people you know fleetingly, and their bad behaviour can be discounted as a flaw in their own selves.

Then there are those, who are closer to you and have a repeated negative pattern in their behaviour. It affects your mental health and brings to mind the pertinent questions

  1. Is this mental abuse?
  2. Have we been normalizing mental abuse in the name of bad behaviour?

People have been facing so many demons lately, the pandemic taking toll on mental well-being and an uncertain future.  When something so devastating is unfolding, important issues like children’s mental health tend to slip through the cracks.

With stay-at-home orders and lock downs in place, many people including kids, are forced to live their reality of abuse without means to escape.

In a toxic situation, physical abuse is like a writing on the wall – it can be seen or felt and as a result there is a better chance of addressing it. Whereas, mental abuse being equally damaging, hides behind better layers.

Even though mental abuse directly impacts a person’s mental health – leaving deeper and often lasting wounds. The abuse might go unnoticed, not just by the world but also by the person enduring it.


When mental health is discussed, often children are considered immune to these issues.

There is a basic difference between “I’m good enough” and “I’m better than others”. One is an assertion of one’s own worth, other is a degradation of another’s worth and needs to be checked . We have to teach kids to not oscillate between the two. Rather than over-confident or self-doubting kids, we need to raise our children believing in their own worth.

Now where does family come in when talking about mental abuse? It does and many with mental health issues will vouch for it. At times, family is your first stop to a child’s damaged self-esteem and low trust issues.

Coming from a culture of extended families, I can affirm for the number of times a child can feel stifled and worthless. Often in our family system, judgement and criticism are overlooked in the name of loving care.

Most families work on the concept “children do not get insulted or feel insulted.” Figure this. In our part of the world children are cared for, fed and educated but mental health is a non-issue.

What a child might feel can best be described as “living under a microscope”. Growing up over-critical of self and others. This scrutiny varies between children depending on their gender too, but that is a topic for another day.


If anyone is belittled or forced to feel bad about themselves by way of behaviour or words, it accounts for mental abuse. This is a simplified definition and how I perceive it owing to my experiences.
It might not feel as bad as physical abuse with no visible scars, but the effects are lasting and at times worse.

A parent abuses a child, verbally or otherwise, and makes the child believe it to be his/her own fault, by making the parent mad. This is a classic example of mental abuse resulting in the child’s self-confidence taking a major hit. The repercussions are lifelong – anything that goes wrong in life is accompanied by self-guilt.

In a household, an abusive partner blames the other partner for anything being wrong in the relationship. Anybody using emotional blackmail and playing mental tricks to control the other person in the name of love.
This is all mental abuse in its day to day form and children notice and remember. They might normalize all this in their future relationships.

mental health south asian families


I’m talking here about taking steps and trying to break the chain. I might not have identified mental abuse as a child but I can do better for my kid.

Any child being subjected to mental abuse directly or indirectly (witnessing it) is bound to be affected by it. So we need to “break the chain”.

First, identify it. If you are in a position where you feel degraded or belittled constantly, question it. Ask yourself “Is this normal?”

“Do I deserve to be disrespected?”

If you don’t like the answers, think about “What can I do to change this?”

Look for help, ask for it. If you feel safe talking to the person responsible, approach them or go to people you can trust. Take some action because if you have children witnessing, you are preparing them to accept a life of mental abuse.

As for children. We as parents might snap at times when the child is just being a child and I do not fault any parent for it. What I insist on is, if you feel you are in the wrong – apologize.
Talk to the child about your situation and how they must be feeling. Make them understand the concept “it’s just a bad day not a bad life.”

Creating a loving environment might just not be enough. A child needs a safe space where they can be themselves and have a voice. Without the fear of being judged, they should be allowed to make mistakes and learn.

Do not be censorious with children, not on their physical attributes nor on their mental strength. Don’t be quick to comment on other people’s sexual orientation in front of children, as they might feel compelled to hide their own identity.

Comparison between kids is never constructive criticism. It never helps.

All of the above may feel as small day to day slip ups but have lasting affect on mental health.

You can question my authority on the subject of mental health. I have none in the professional capacity but I’m sharing this as a parent and someone ready to work for improvement. I’m sure all the fellow parents out there will have something to add to this.

Do let us know your thoughts on the subject so we can try to work towards better mental health collectively, not just ours but all the families that surround us.


Must Watch Hindi movies from 2020

I’m sure we have all discussed, to death, what a year 2020 was.  For a change I will discuss Hindi movies from 2020. While everything was locked up for better part of the year, we had a tsunami of online content. With so much to indulge in there was no filtration to separate the good from the bad and the passable.

So, I picked a few gems from the vast sea of content, gems that somehow might have gotten lost in the labyrinth of crime thrillers and fast paced entertainment.

These few movies are for all. Watch them with your kids and trust me these are feel good.

The same warning as from my last movie articles: we are the Hindi cinema and we tend to go over the top at times, without even meaning too.


From the moment I finished watching this movie its name to me sounds like poetry. I present to you the movie, I personally think is the most precious gem from the 2020 basket..

A movie is a story in the visual form so that you can feel what it has to say and this one does it with only goodness at its heart. The best thing about the movie is its honesty. It tells you things as they are.

As the name states it means “I DANCE”. Set in a small north Indian village this is the story of a young girl, who upon losing her mother expresses her desire to learn the Indian traditional dance form “Bharatanatyam”. A beautiful father daughter bond warms the heart as we see the father make a sincere effort towards his daughter’s education and love for dance.

That is until the societal norms become the stumbling block. Now what can be wrong with a dance form? Apparently dance has a religion. It belongs to a certain faith and is against the belief system of another.

So began the tussle to quash a little girl’s dream to dance. As the story unfolds fluidly it brings forth a father’s determination to face it all with dignity and not give up on his daughter’s happiness. Feminism is not just women standing up and demanding their due, it is also fathers who stand against a whole society for their daughter’s hopes and dreams.

For those of you who have not encountered small town India, this issue might seem a bit of stretch but this movie has its heart in the right place. A story told without frills as it might happen. One thing this movie is not, it is not about religion.


As the name says it means an exam or a test. The story is about a poor rickshaw driver, Bucchi, who dreams for his son the best education that the Indian education system has to offer. An education that he cannot afford by any means.

This man desires his son to rise from the lower echelons of society and secure a better life. He knows education is the weapon that will help his boy conquer all life’s battles. To realize this dream Bucchi embarks on a journey to secure an admission and later to sustain the expenditures.

As he sees his dream within grasp, he struggles to keep afloat. After backbreaking labour as he finds his son’s future slipping away for want of money, Bucchi turns to crime. One small misstep leads to another sending him spiralling down the criminal path. Until he gets caught and jeopardizes his son’s future.

Bucchi’s story crosses path with the story on an Indian police services officer. While serving in the force he coaches underprivileged kids. In his free time he helps them prepare for exams to get into top Indian institutes. As this father serves his punishment the officer comes to his son’s aid.

The movie although based on real life events explores the flaws in our education system. It tries to tackle the lack of accessibility of quality education for everyone.

It speaks of dreams and how far is far enough to realize those dreams.


This one is an entertainer, witty and lovable. As the name says it means English medium, education in a system where English is the main mode of instruction.

The two main characters are a daughter, Tarika, who dreams of a London education. A father, who is a single parent to this teenage daughter and has always struggled with the English language. This man is all heart and sweetness, with a huge extended family that bickers non-stop about the rights to the family business.

Despite all their in-fighting there is no lack of love and care. After passing out high school the girl expresses her desire to go to college in London and what ensues is nothing short of a comedy of errors. While watching the movie you can feel the sweet effervescence of an amazing father-daughter bond.

Some might find the movie a bit over the top at times, but it can be excused owing to the fun element. For the Indian audience this movie is special in many ways, it being the last movie of one of our very beloved actors, Irrfan Khan. Even while not being in the best of health he gave us a memorable performance.

All the three movies have in various ways explored the parent child bond. Talked about how situations bring out different parenting styles and how socio-economic ratios change the outlook.

To top it off you get to see stellar performances by some of Indian cinemas finest artists.

If you do get around to watching any of these movies, we would love to hear your take.


Importance of Teaching Kids about Minimalism

Have you read ‘Confessions of a shopaholic’ or watched the movie, maybe?  This book is not only entertaining but to me it provided the assurance that I’m not a shopaholic. As someone who started handling shopping since my early teens, I often reflect on my retail habits and wonder if I have crossed into the obsessive shopper zone.

I was brought up in a family that believes in the minimalist approach to life, mostly. One of the first lessons that was imbibed in me is “don’t waste food” and you will not find on my plate more than I can finish. While growing up “buying what you can consume” was the mantra most people lived by. Then came the retail boom and shopping was the next best thing after cricket in India.

Why do I want to talk about this in the middle of a pandemic? 2020 has been a year of many firsts. This year has literally stopped the world in it’s tracks and made us question ourselves “how much do we ACTUALLY need?”  A balance of needs and wants.


In simple terms a person/s who do not go beyond their needs and keep their spending to a minimum is a minimalist. A simple lifestyle of many minimums.

If you realize you don’t need a horde of clothes and repeating your outfits or shoes is responsible behaviour, then you might qualify for the term.

A few days back, I came across a documentary on waste management. The presenter climbed a hill of rubbish, consisting of all kinds of items that get discarded, used and even unused. He questioned “how would you feel if I tell you that on an average you produce this quantity of waste on a yearly basis?”  I felt bad.

Imagine, if one person can produce that much waste, a big percentage of it not getting recycled, what can a planet full of people produce? At the rate we are going, the ramifications will be huge!

I’m not a minimalist, far from it. Even though having never been a part of the “not-cool-to-repeat-outfits” movement, I too have been guilty of consumerism at times. Clothes still waiting to be worn, shoes never broken into. Episodes of impulsive buying are the major contributors to that hill of rubbish. I still believe in Gap Kids but now with some self-restraint.

Some might mock a minimalist as being a miser, but there is a huge difference between the two. A person who does not believe in wastage is not a miser.



It’s the very first step. If you have not worn it in the last six months you will not wear it, this is the honest truth. Donate what you can, it has many benefits. You make room, you help people without spending more and the mental satisfaction is huge.

Make kids a part of it because when kids donate they learn to let go and get rid of useless clutter, which might be of use to someone in need. The attributes of kindness and help strengthen their moral fiber. Children perceive material needs by what they observe. Being more mindful of our consumption habits teaches them to be more responsible.

Further, the minimalist way of spending goes a long way to help in general. Who are we helping? Practically everybody. First, you save your own money and sometimes the guilt of spending more than you intent to. You help those with less spending power than you. As we know it is all supply and demand, the more I spend the more demand I create and prices surge.

The most important are the environmental implications. Less waste is generated as you use what you buy, to it’s full potential. Most of what is produced impacts the planet in varying degrees, be it air pollution or killing the water bodies.

Even after trying our best there are some indulgences we can still be accused of. For me, it’s the gadgets that are my connection to the world. But now when I upgrade, I recycle the used ones responsibly or donate to those who really need them.

I collect books and never have the heart to donate those, as many to me are like old friends I keep revisiting. Though, I try to buy mostly at garden sales but a better solution is needed.

While shopping something never to be compromised on is nutrition. Healthy and fresh food should always be on the top of your priority list. You don’t have to eat fancy but always eat well.

In all honesty, even the pandemic has not deterred the shopping spirit, the mode is now online. To cut back here is an idea, add items you want to the shopping cart and sit on it for 24 hours. A day mostly cures you of the love for unnecessary pretty things and then buy what you need. Also we need to stop falling for the “it’s on sale” gimmick and not bulk buy. It might be on sale but it is still costing.

We cannot renounce all our habits at once but we can try to gain some middle ground. Minimalist or not our planet deserves a more cautious approach in terms of material consumption and waste generation. One small step at a time, if we try to cut back those hills of rubbish might get smaller.

Share with us the steps that you can take towards the minimalist approach?










Your Kids Are Lying – How to Instill the Value of Truth in Children

Since the time my kids can understand words I have been emphasizing to them the importance of being truthful. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have cited to them by various examples and stories how it is very bad to lie. But what do you do when you find your kids lying?

Still the fact remains, we all lie, most of us anyway.

Before any of us say on oath they don’t lie I would like to remind of all the number of times you have assured people “I’m on my way”, all the while lounging  on your couch. See what I mean.

Now comes the question of how to instill in kids the value of truth. How to distinguish between “fibbing” and “lying”.

Noteworthy is the difference between the two. Upon observation I feel for kids there seem to be a line between the two which blurs and disappear as they grow up. The innocent things like “I’m not sleepy”, “I did not fight” all fall under the “fibbing” heading. Kids start telling these lies as soon as they are old enough to comprehend not being truthful is an option too.

“Lying”  is the more serious version that can actually cause harm to themselves and others. Something kids try to perfect so that a parent or guardian might not see through it. When a droopy two year old says they are not sleepy at all, it is cute.

On the other hand when I confronted my six year old about some fighting in school, she innocently asked me “May I please lie today?”. When I asked why she wants to lie she replied she doesn’t want to tell the truth and get scolded.

In her innocence she gave herself away but it is just a matter of time when she will decide for herself. Truth or not.

This brings us to the issue of ingraining in our kids’ value system the significance of truth. This is one of the essential ways to help them build on happiness.


As enticing and as easy lying can be, it still cannot replace the truth.

What do you do when you find kids lying? How do you help them?

I will back this up by an example, a personal experience. Something that made me question “How much honesty is actually enough?” I have stood up for people who meant a lot to me. Gave them information that was to protect them but in the end those same people choose not to believe me and I was termed as the bad guy.

Till date I have no regret about not being believed but I regret how gullible people can be. Kids lying is just another way of what they themselves would believe. Maybe your honesty doesn’t matter people just believe what they want to. It takes will power to confront any uncomfortable truth.

So does it diminish the value of truth? Do you stop looking out for people who matter?

No to both and this is what a disheartened child needs to understand if faced with such a case. Nothing replaces honesty and a good heart.

Truth might be troubled but it cannot be defeated.

All the Harry Potter fans can still recall the outrage they felt when Harry was branded a liar and made to write “I must not tell lies.” How with each sting that Potter felt you wanted to somehow reach into the book and rectify the injustice being meted.

This taught us to stand against injustice even if it meant standing alone.

People would stoop down to lying to settle scores or assassinate your character to get back at you. Standing against such tirades and standing with dignity is the only way that I can teach my kids to fight back. Eventually the lies either die out or get exposed.

Lying to self is the worst form.

The best lie I tell myself is “I don’t need to write this, I will remember”. All I remember is telling myself this.

So it’s best to not lie to own self.

There is something called conscience, your own moral sense of right and wrong. I cannot be with my kids all the time but I can teach them to call a spade a spade. Understanding the gravity of any given situation and tackling it accordingly saves a lot of grief and resentment. You don’t want your kids lying any time.

Running away from any failure does not make it go away. Dealing with issues is the way forward. Acknowledging your own shortcomings makes us better equipped to tackle life.

The subject of lies and truth can have many narratives, my point here is taking those small steps on a daily basis that can help build our kids characters.

We do lie. “Is the dress good?’-yes

“Am I looking fat?”- absolutely not

I don’t mind this little fibbing if it makes someone’s day. Also please lie to me if I ask these very questions.

What matters is to not make lying part of our character, to get out of taking accountability. Teach kids lying at times can play with other’s lives. It can cause pain.

“Truth can be replaced only by truth itself and this is the absolute truth.”

What to do when your kids are lying?



boy mom

Thought Provoking Hindi Movies Every Mother Must Watch

We all are going through these unprecedented times, never before experienced circumstances. What are your ways of escape from this twisted reality that is this pandemic?

Homeschooling, working from home or sheltering in place everyone needs a break and deserves one.

For some entertainment I’m back with a very short list of two movies from India. Those of you who don’t speak Hindi, I suggest exploring cinema in a foreign language can be fun.
These women-oriented films not only talk about our approach towards women as a society but also give insights on where we stand when it comes to feminism. As I say a country’s cinema represents the nation’s psyche.

Our films have evolved but one thing we still promise is entertainment. We might go over the top a bit, over dramatize too but we try to not disappoint, at least not with the good ones.


It literally means a “slap” in Hindi.

From the recent batch of movies this one tops the list. Personally I was awed by the narration and the significance of the topic.

It just doesn’t represent the Indian mentality towards domestic violence but represents the collective mentality of the world.

The story centers around a young married woman. She is educated, smart, strong and a homemaker by choice. She has a somewhat satisfied existence with nearly no regrets. This is an affluent household that would be considered ideal with a loving husband and caring mother in law.
So what drives this woman, who radiates happiness to reconsider her situation and demand a separation from her husband? A Slap.

When at his success party the husband discovers he is not getting the promotion he was promised he gets into a verbal spat with his boss. During this confrontation the wife intervenes and in the heat of the moment the husband slaps her.

What ensues is what makes this movie so remarkable.

It seems like a trivial matter to break your home but when a woman stands up against domestic violence however small she empowers every woman who is linked to her, directly or indirectly.

She is asked why is she not ready for a reconciliation as it was just a slap, her answer will strike a cord with every female.

“Yes it was just a slap but he cannot hit .”


The color favored by most females talks about another very significant topic. “NO”
Three independent young women who live and work in one of the flourishing metro cities are accused of prostitution and attempted murder.

These accusations are followed by an evening where these women go to a rock concert and meet three young men. They all go out for dinner and drinks. Taking their friendly nature as a further invitation one of the guys tries to force himself on one of the girls.

When her “NO” fails to register the girl hits the man on the head with a bottle, and they all get away.

The women are unable to file a police complaint as the guys turn out to be well connected and threaten them. When they insist on filling a complaint the women are slapped with false charges of prostitution.

The courtroom drama is not only against the false charges but also against the patriarchal mindset where women who live alone are deemed to have no moral values.

It’s against the assumption that females who party and drink are open to all the advances that men make.
The movie emphasizes the importance of a women’s “NO” and her right to say it.

The movie states

“NO is not just a word. It is a whole sentence which does not need an explanation”.

Despite all the slandering and threats these women and their lawyer stand the ground and win.
What makes the movie noteworthy is the grit and determination of these seemingly vulnerable young women. Something that makes you root for them.

There are scores of other movies that talk about women rights but these two stand out with their powerful performances. With subjects that are relatable and Very well addressed.

You will not only enjoy the movies but these will make you think too. We need our girls stronger and boys accountable.

Do watch and share your views.


Two path breaking movies every Mother MUST watch


Girls Are Not “Just Princesses!”

This women’s day I declare,  “My daughter is not a princess!”
When I say this I mean it. “A warrior queen (maybe) but not a princess.”
She is a normal child who is treated fairly, as any child should be.

In a world that is working diligently towards gender equality most parents proudly declare they are bringing up their daughters as “princesses”. I hugely respect this sentiment and the change in collective psych of society. But first a question I request an honest answer to.

When your princess grows up and makes her own decisions about the things that really matter, would you let her? They may be decisions that you might not agree with. Will you give her the right to her own life? Would you not second guess her?

You see “Princesses” just don’t get a cushioned upbringing they are also supposed to own their lives. Sometimes, I feel there is a serious overlap in parenting with the idea of gender equality. Many a times the pendulum seems to have swung to the other extreme, when the idea is balance. As parents it is our duty to rectify the mistakes of the past and empower our girls but for that they need not be treated as royalty.

What should stand true is the fact  “Boys rights are no less than girls but they are NOT MORE too.
Equal rights are simply  “EQUAL”.


What I think really works is being truthful about how things stand when it comes to gender equality. Giving our girls a tailor made existence is not really preparing them for the world that awaits. My daughter is pulled up for her mistakes, now that she is old enough to see right from wrong. She gets scolded and is taught to behave.

We try to incorporate in her upbringing her responsibilities with a very clear understanding of her rights. The rights she can and should exercise. One thing I want her to be very clear on is the fact that she can be as “difficult” a woman as she sees fit. She needs to have a voice and a shrill and loud one when needed, even at the risk of being termed as “difficult” by social standards.

Being self dependent plays a major role in bringing up a woman ready to face the world. A “princess” who can always stand for her self respect. I can’t even begin to tell you how many parents take pride in the fact their “princesses” are not required to do any work at home. It leaves me speechless! Since when has fending for oneself become a thing to be looked down upon? Nor should it be gender specific.

Teach your kids to work, they will thank you for it one day. There is a world out there that can be very unforgiving. Being just princesses helps no one!



Many situations in life have us women reeling with the unfairness meted out. How do you choose what to do or how to act when faced with an unjust situation? The answer is never loose your integrity. To pacify societal norms do not stand with any form of injustice.

I teach my daughter to defend herself I also try to instill in her the importance of standing up for other women. It is weak women who pull each other down. Compromising on ones values can never guarantee any long term happiness.

Also, girls need to learn to differentiate between any form of abuse and real affection. Many a times people disguise abuse, major or minor, as love. They need to recognize what is not accepted behaviour and put their foot down. Be true to yourself. Say NO if you want, stand your ground.

Women are expected to make relationships work when it is actually a two way street. People instill such a fear in girls of being single. I would never want my daughter to keep investing in an unhappy relationship.mSingle or hitched, integrity first. Make decisions that you can live with.


Freedom above all because “Real empowerment is the ability to choose.”
I would not give up my freedom for any form of privileges.

Your girls wants to lead their lives as princesses or as normal working women, giver them the right to choose. Be her guiding light not the chains that hold her back in the name of love or parenting.

No one can want her happiness more than a parent still let her fall. Give your princess the resilience to get up, dust herself and continue but do not be the hand that steadies her every time she stumbles. Do not doubt her strength and decisions.

Any kind of love without freedom is a hollow attempt at narrowing the gender gap.

Discuss your girl’s choices with her but do not undermine her choices because of her gender.

I would leave you with my thoughts on this topic with a confession.

Yes, my daughter rules our hearts. She sometimes even lords over us. She has the temper of a tempest, for someone so small. Still I stand by my claim she is not a princess, just a little girl who is loved very much.

Do share your views on how to bring up our girls stronger.

Raising my Indian Daughter Differently

What You Must Know About PARENTING AT 40

What You Must Know About PARENTING AT 40

There may be many beautiful things that happen in a woman’s life but having kids transcends everything else.

Now  a weird question. What is the age difference between you and your kids? Not a commonly asked question. Why this question?

My younger one is seven years old and I’m pushing 40.

Generally it is not an issue until you are tested against the energy of  a toddler, when all you want is a five minute breather.

This subject is not meant to disrespect people who decide to have kids at a later age. It is a simple heart-to-heart about challenges faced as a middle-aged parent to young kids.

It is about those of us, who often wonder after a stormy tantrum session with their kid(s) “How am I going to handle this any further?”


When I was in my mid-twenties and a few of my cousins had their first child right after marriage, I was so skeptical of their decision.

What about living your own life? Don’t you want to see the world and live with just each other for a while?

These were just some of the questions I had asked then. Now I kind of get the point.

At that age, they took  parenting as another adventure. They answered their children’s unceasing questions with energy to spare. One they lived with their kids. Now they have kids who are ready to fly the coop, while the parents still have quite a few adventures left in them.

How freeing it is with kids who can be responsible for themselves to an extent. I imagine all the self harming activities my kids might indulge in while I’m not hovering over them.

I would not claim that lesser age gap means better understanding but much more compatible energy levels. Younger parents might have a better connection level. When you grow up while raising your kids communication lines are more open.


My kids are at an age where I mean the world to them. I want to bask in the glory of this till their focus shifts, which is inevitable and would happen in due time but till then I’m the sun of this solar system. A sun so bummed at times that wants to just switch off and take a  break!

Being a nearly middle-aged parent, I might have life somewhat figured but a child’s curiosity still stops me in my tracks. I see many things in a new light while explaining to my kids.

After playing “war” a few times (too many) I have to sit and tell them how their and my energy levels work. How I prefer to pick my battles and don’t want to fight all “wars”.

Despite these little issues, at this point in life parents are better prepared financially and get to spend more time with their kids.

I wouldn’t have had the luxury of this choice a few years back.

Middle-aged parents have a better understanding of things that can go wrong and how to find solutions. Not every teenage mistake would seem like a disaster. We now know that life goes on. On the flip side, we parent from a more confident place which might  be a hindrance at times. We might be more rigid in putting our points across as it is not easy watching the kids repeat our mistakes.

Being so much more aware of things that can go wrong makes us apprehensive parents.

“I know much better, I have been there” can be one of the worst parenting approaches at any age.


Better than anything what works is being in the moment and having loads of patience. I might not like a messy situation but with some restraint I have learned to deal with these.

There may be different activities that the kids and we enjoy but as a family we find some middle ground. Some weekends we watch “Frozen” or “Avengers” with them, another weekend the kids agree to a quite stay at home.

Although I’m involved in all the aspects of my kids life, I still make it a point to have my own me time . It helps me get my equilibrium back after those tumultuous days. Also, it is important that kids learn to be independent. They should be taught to do the work that they can manage at their respective ages.

Don’t feel guilty for making your child help you with the housework or picking up after themselves. There may be times when we want to be left alone, yet keep conversation with your kids going. No matter what the issue, never stop communicating with them.

Parenting at any age can be stressful because we don’t want to slip up. We hope to make zero mistakes and expect to stay on top of the game.

I suggest, stop over-analyzing yourself.

We are all that our kids would ever need and love. So we must stop comparing with others’ parenting styles. Do let us know what works for you and what would you suggest towards being a better middle-aged parent.

Protect Earth: Talking to Children about Plastic Pollution

Protect Earth: Talking to Children about Plastic Pollution

Talking to children about plastic pollution is paramount. This below statement just about sums up the plight of our planet.

“For small and immediate gains never loose the wisdom to foresee future loses.”

The news channels have been bringing gruesome images to our drawing rooms. Birds , fishes and all kinds of other creatures dying due to plastic pollution.

What is interesting, these living beings are suffering due to our callous attitude.

The bane of our existence “Plastic”.

Plastic was invented and it revolutionized the human world. It won’t break like glass. Lasts longer than paper. Cheaper than metal, so on and so forth.

Here is where we got dealt a bad hand, for the present profits we jeopardized our whole future.

Like most of the human inventions this one is also backfiring and in a major way.

We are getting choked to the brim in plastic and now reeling in the after effects.This thing that takes at least 400 years to decompose is everywhere.

Even in the remotest of places where you might not find a human being some form of plastic can be found flapping in the wind.

Before we place all the blame on plastic let me tell you it is not the plastic that is the culprit, it’s us. Human beings.

Let’s introspect, we invented this thing put it to some really good uses while at the same time for small profits, let it get out of hand and turn into an uncontrollable situation.

Talking to Children about Plastic Pollution

What we can do:

The time to act on this is now. The onus lies with each and every one of us. Along with raising kids to understand the world we have to teach them to understand the environment too.

Talking to children about plastic pollution starts here.

Learn the value of “Planet First”.

The earth is the most important thing they will inherit, rest all is replaceable. While teaching them we have to incorporate it in our lives too, make it second nature to think about our planet first.

There is so much that needs to be rectified environmentally but we can start at the basics. While plastic has all encompassed our lives not all of it is bad. What is slowly choking the planet to death is the waste that is being generated by us through single use plastic.

Talking to Children about Plastic Pollution

At the basic level what should be done? Here are some small steps that we can even make our kids a part of.

Stop buying :

The first thing on this list is plastic straws and cups followed by any other form of single use plastic. Look around us even single pieces of fruit are wrapped in plastic. These bits of plastic get thrown away and more often then not end up in landfills. The trick is just don’t buy the items that come in these pretty packagings. Not only is it economical it also helps curb plastic waste generation. Buy sustainable and reusable straws and cups. Carry own water bottles. Sometimes if it is inevitable to use plastic items then recycle.

No wastage:

Again the same solution that is purse friendly too, don’t buy. We need to curb the mindless consumerism. Our kids don’t use half of what we buy them. Look around at the toys that are forgotten the minute they are unpacked, mostly plastic. Stationery that is filled up in boxes waiting to be acknowledged, again mostly plastic. These things get thrown out once they have completed their duration of being useless. New things are bought and it is an endless cycle. Break it. Go through what the kids have, rediscover and use it. Educate them about the significance of buying less for a healthier planet.


Whatever is surplus share it. Donate toys, stationery, books.

One persons waste might be another’s treasure. Use things well, most things have a life and when put to optimum use save some money too.

Still whatever you might not need and are sure you will only end up hoarding donate it. It can be difficult to let go of things after paying money for but if you don’t use it for a few months chances are you will not use it. Think of it as a service to your planet.


The most important thing that we need to incorporate in our lives. Recycle everything that can be recycled. Don’t throw plastic waste mindlessly anywhere. Talking to children about plastic pollution starts with talking about recycling.

Upgrading phones or computers recycle the old ones. All the electronic stores provide the option to recycle.

It might be a bit of a stretch to locate that recycling bin for recycling of everyday use plastic, but it is pertinent that we do that.

According to stats only a very small percentage of plastic is recycled leading to disastrous consequences. Talk to children about how every piece of plastic is harming the planet and what needs to be done. Educate them and help them identify the areas in life where plastic waste can be reduced. Every small effort counts.

The crucial time to act was yesterday and there is so much that can be done, these are just some baby steps. We as a planet are already walking thin ice and heading towards imminent ruin.

Us adults need to wake up to the damage that has been done all the while instilling in the next generation an appreciation of a sustainable lifestyle. Our planet deserves better than being choked to death with plastic.

Learn more ways to protect earth by helping kids nurture their little gardens.

We Need to Teach Kids to Stay Connected to Family

We Need to Teach Kids to Stay Connected to Family

The Webster dictionary has many definitions for the word “family”. For me the one that held true for most of my life is “Family: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head”.

As a kid I was not comfortable being alone in the house for long periods. Though it mostly never came to that as there was always family around. Many a times I tried to get over this seemingly silly hang up but then consoled myself I don’t really need to as we had a full house.

Fast forward 30 years and I’m no longer the sacredly kid that I was. You see, now there is no way I can avoid being alone at home and even look forward to some alone time.

In a few sentences this is the evolution of Indian families over the years. This transition might be common across many cultures but few would have been as drastic as ours has been.

What does family mean to you? It does not matter how close you are to yours but we need to go that extra mile to give our kids that strong sense of family.

Families come in varied shapes and sizes. The most weird thing is, other peoples families always seems to be way better than your own, which is mostly not true.

For me a family is this group of people who always had time for each other with wholehearted dedication.

THEN:As the saying goes “It takes a village to bring up a child”.

This was most Indian families for you once. We grew up in a household conisiting of grandparents with a healthy sprinkling of aunts,uncles and cousins thrown in.

There were ready playmates those cousins your first friends. With no dearth of people ready to meddle in your life, you were never left alone. One persons problems were tackled by the whole clan.

Even with the over indulgence and continuous sense of being watched family was what you would return to at the end of the day.

New mothers never had to face the dilemma of how to do and what to do, there were always a hand to help. Every aspect of things had a listening ear. Overly patient grandparents with their own life experiences were a treasure trove of guidance.

Like everything this package came with its drawbacks: over interference, over indulgent kids difficult to discipline and not getting independent, to name a few.

NOW:The change in family dynamics over the years has left the family units some what fragmented.


Today’s Indian society is mostly nuclear families with busy parents and limited communication with the extended family. These families see much less conflict of interests leaving breathing space for each other.

Kids in this generation are more self-sufficient and open to change.

The Drawbacks: how to give kids strong roots along with the wings?

A sense of family and belonging that children learn from sharing their life and space with an extended family. Children growing up in nuclear families do not get exposure to that extra love and warmth.

What is really sad is Children completely missing the life experiences and stories from a whole generation.


Living together makes a family but strong roots need a deep rooted value system. How do we teach our kids the value of families? One of the foundation bricks that make a family strong is tolerance.

There will always be someone in a family who will think and act unconventional.

Everyone’s threshold of tolerance is bound to be different.

What might be a non-issue for one person might mean the world to the other.

Every person’s reaction to a similar situation might differ.

You might be a multitasking genius while some other can barely accomplish one thing at a time.

The basic comes down to each pillar of the family unit not being alike. What matters is love, tolerance and unconditional acceptance with a slight nudge in the right direction.

Children and especially teenagers should have the confidence that families don’t judge, they just help each other become happier and better version of themselves.


The bane of recent times is being busy. Everyone is juggling a million things, some doing a better job at it then the others. Being so occupied leaves us very little time and patience to keep in touch with even those who matter.

The simplest solution is make time. Remember those important dates of family members. Not all communication has to be long. Drop in simple messages or short calls.

Loosing touch with family is the main reason for widening gaps overtime. Distances might make the hearts fonder but will definitely leave relations strained.

Let your kids see you make those efforts. Don’t wait for the other to take the first step, go ahead and initiate communication  you won’t regret it.

Even in a deeply materialistic world giving someone your time is still precious.


I believe my parents gave us siblings both roots and wings. We are not afraid to encounter the new while staying true to our beliefs.

This is what I look forward to passing on to my children. Children need strong roots so they can fly.

A big tree rooted in the ground can withstand any storm while weeds just float.

Have small family traditions, holiday celebrations. Talk to your kids about your own childhood, delve into your own background to give them the understanding that family is there to support them and not arrest their flight.

I’m positive I may never approve of all the life choices that my kids will make but i want them to know that whatever they encounter there is always family to count on.

There are friends and friends like family but there will be no one else like family .They accept you just the way you are.

They might judge you at times, drive you crazy and there are phases in life when you run away from them .

Family inundates you with emotional baggage but it is the anchor that ties down a ship to prevent it from going astray. Even when they might throw you to rough sea at times.

Today life is fraught with too much exposure and trying to overcome distances can be hard. So it becomes a task to make sure the familial bonds are strong enough to stand the tides of time and circumstances. But the first step is to ingrain in our kids the value of these family bonds and all else just follows.

Do you live in an extended family or a nuclear family?What steps do you take to make your kids understand the significance of family?

The Importance of Teaching Kids to Stay Connected to Family

The Accepted Culture Of "Body Shaming"

The Accepted Culture Of “Body Shaming”

I will begin by saying, I was very apprehensive talking about this topic “Body Shaming”.

We are a multicultural platform. Often we talk about how various issues are dealt across different cultures. I for one is always on the lookout for things that might be similar across all cultures. One that tops the charts is “body shaming”, so despite my hesitation here I am.

The “culture of body shaming” is one concept that is consistent across all “cultures”.

No disparity, trust me.

If you have a physical drawback in one culture then you have it across all the cultures and you will be duly reminded of it. This begins from the day you are born.

So were you a cute as a baby or not so much? See what i mean?


It comes in so many forms and is mostly termed harmless, even wrapped as “constructive” criticism.

If any conversation or comment about your physical appearance belittles you, makes you question your worth or as a result of which you gradually lose confidence in yourself then it is “body shaming”.

This is a very difficult and somewhat sensitive subject, all the same talking about “body shaming” is tantamount for a healthy childhood. Surprisingly it affects kids and at very young age too.

A flippant remark about someones physical appearance can change the way kids look at people. The worth of a person gets associated with how they look and a tiny seed of body shaming is sown.

Granted we cannot watch what we say all the time but being a bit more careful before judging someone solely on their physical appearance can go a long way.

How can we deal with body shaming? Here are a few things I feel might help.


One morning in 1994 thousands of teenage girls across India waited with bated breath in front of their television screens as Sushmita Sen was crowned “Miss Universe”.

These pageants are supposed to be all about physical beauty but it also signified something dramatic, something more significant.

That moment is etched on so many minds as a declaration to the world “we girls of India have arrived, we can touch the sky”. For many teen eyes it was about what a girl can be and achieve in new day India.

Sadly, overtime it became all about physical beauty and even Sushmita Sen was not above body shaming.

The Miss Universe straightened her crown and proved to the world she is more than a beautiful body. An epitome of inner strenghth. A person who owns her decisions and grows with them.

Every strong person who can forge their own path and gets back up after each fall is a beautiful person. Beauty is as beauty does.


It’s so easy to count your physical flaws everyday for recreational purposes. But when your 6 year old tells you they don’t like their face it hits you hard.

It won’t matter how many times you tell them they are perfect as they are. It has to start with you.

Children imitate what they see including body shaming.

To endorse self love in our kids we need to endorse it ourselves. Love that not so perfect nose, flabby tummy, the skin that could have behaved better at ageing. Everything.

We need to learn “If i love my body no one has the right to tell me otherwise”.

Be warned Self love is very difficult. I have had near strangers remind me to be unhappy because of my body and how it looks “ugly”.

Their duty done, all in the name of promoting a healthy life, sprinkled with the holy knowledge that guarantees longevity. Only forgetting to mention “Also be very careful while crossing any roads, use zebra crossings, and you will live to eternity”.

Though only what is does is, add one more miserable person to the bandwagon of self haters with a few million more to go.

Your body has only you to love it, improve it if possible but do not hate it. There are enough people doing it for you.


My children need to learn that no persons body gives them the right to shame it. Nor does anybody has the right to do the same to them.

I highly commend those people who change their bodies for the better. What if some one is incapable of doing so? Don’t they deserve a happy judgement free existence?

As it is the world has too many broken people, no one needs to add to it.

There are people who were born with severe physical imperfections but have thrived and lived successful lives. It’s a person that rises above the odds not just a body.

“If you see a person struggling give them a hand, don’t pull them down further”. This might just be a statement but it has the potential to change the mindset of an entire generation.

So if you have ever been body shamed for height, weight, complexion, a disability or anything it’s time to put your foot down.

To all those whose sensibilities get offended by all of our “not-perfect” bodies, there is a simple science, please look away.

There are hordes of people whose intellect frustrates me or personality I might not like, but that does not give me the right to shame them.

No ones physical appearance makes them lesser human beings, neither do they deserve to be treated unfairly.

As we step into a new year, we all resolve to be better parents, friends or life partners. I also resolve to be a more tolerant and body confident person.

Have you also encountered body shaming? Do share your views on the subject.

My Baby – The Cute Little Evil Eye Magnet

I an Indian,  born and brought up in a small north Indian town named Roorkee. Ours is a land where both modern and traditional way of life manage to survive hand in hand. Here medicine, science, modern technology, old wives tales and superstition all keep jostling each other for space on the same platform.

I always believed that coming from a family where education is valued above all else, I had left the ‘knock-on-wood’ world far behind. I believed this ,that is, until I thought the word “baby” out aloud.

Let me tell you having a baby is just not simply conceiving a baby and carrying to term. It is also not only delivering the baby and then focusing on keeping your sanity while raising the child.

Yes, having a baby is all this and it is also dodging landmines of dangers lurking in every corner, waiting to attack. Dangers that are above and beyond the explainable logical world.

No matter how educated or modern an average Indian family is, the minute a (much awaited) baby knocks on their world, everything changes.

[bctt tweet=”Most modern Indian families turn to old wives talesthe minute things go wrong for their bundle of joy. ” username=”contactrwc”]

I learned that an Indian baby is apparently a ‘magnet’ for all the roving evil eyes in the world. The minute I broke the news of the pregnancy to both the would-be grandmothers, all the possible dangers in the land of the evil became real.

Out came the spools of black thread, packets of chili, and salts. The only way I was allowed to step out of the house was with various threads and amulets hanging around my neck(to ward off the evil EYE) and armed with onion and garlic(to ward off evil SPIRITS ). It was at this point that I realized that I it is not just the seen that you are battling with but also the unseen.

At this point if you try to appeal to the progressive men in the family, they simply nod and go back to their newspapers. Afterall, why take a chance and it’s just chili that is being burnt and salts being thrown and neither is frightfully expensive.

Giving Birth to My Cute Evil Eye Magnet

So, after dodging all the dangers and managing to stay alive, you give birth to the precious baby. This particular tiny person has a magnetic field so strong that every roving evil eye on the planet finds it’s way directly and sticks to it.

Indian grandmothers come fitted with special antennas that come out the minute the baby is out of the womb. In a world where thousands of babies are born every second, these antennas can pick up the exact number of times their precious little person has been cast upon with the evil eye.

Even before putting clothes on the baby we put a black dot on the baby’s face. This is a very “smart” dot, which stares right back at anyone trying to cast an evil eye on the baby and provides round the clock protection.

Next level of security are the black and red threads, these come with the tag ‘protecting-babies-since-eternity’.

Only once all the security measures are in place is the baby introduced to the world. As a new mother leaving the house with the baby meant carrying the essentials like onion, garlic and of course the baby bag, might need a diaper or something.

As the world knows babies tend to fall sick, but not every sneeze, cough or crying spell can be explained through science or medicine. It might be the doing of one of the well wishers secretly casting an evil eye, and being the strong magnet that the poor little kid is, results in getting sick.

After surviving the initial zombie, new mom phase, I felt I now have the hang of things. I decided to go back to my life and was sent packing with bags full of chili along with the other security measures and the grandmothers teary eyed blessings.

Once we kind of settled down some of our friends decided to come and visit the baby. It was a pleasant evening, with us showing off our little person, until the last guest left. That was the moment the baby started crying, so we changed, fed and walked the baby. The crying turned to screaming so we checked for any fever or discomfort.

Still after one hour of trying all we can the screaming would not stop and we were on the verge of panic. We decided to pack up and run to the grandmothers and never return without one of them. That is when an alternate solution hit me and I went running for the forgotten chili and salts. Once again the unexplained rescued us. Baby just calmed down.

I have been playing part time sorceress since, as and when needed, because why take a chance. I have been surviving my mom life with the help of Google, both the grand mothers and of course the additional security measures of divine help, all in that order.

So even though none of us would call ourselves superstitious people but when it comes to our kids, we walk a very fine line. Iphones in one hand and chili in the other, we keep battling parenting. We try to balance logic with the illogical, because why would anyone want to take a chance?

Shalini Tyagi is an Indian,born and brought up in India,currently living in Dubai. She is mother of two school going children and is a stay at home mom. An avid reader, she has recently forayed into blogging to bring to light her writing skills. She hosts her own website