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Sunday, April 13, 2014

7th Day Movie Review: Well packaged thriller but falls flat, like cola without fizz

Shyamdhar's directorial debut '7th Day' starring Prithviraj triggered great expectations but it falls flat like cola without any fizz. While it is a well-packaged thriller movie, it does not impress.

7th Day Movie Review : THE STORY
7th Day begins with David Abraham IPS  (starring Prithviraj) who is a special investigation officer with Crime Branch but he is under suspension.  While driving a jeep, he hits a bike with two bike travelers. 



From their expressions and body language, this scene disturbs you. It is as though you can sense the conflicts between the two characters seated together and unexpectedly thrown off the bike. While the fall should have brought them in sync with each other, at least in defence of the stranger, it shows interestingly a clear rift between them.  This scene is well-shot and delivered.

The two bikers are Vinu Ramachandran (starring Anu Mohan who had acted as rapist in Theevram) and Shan (starring Vinay fort who has several good films to his credit including Theevram). 

Following the accident, Vinu has a small injury in the forehead and David persuades them to get into the jeep and takes them to a nearby hospital. From this hospital, Vinu goes missing, David drops Shan back to his home and the following day, David finds that Vinu has committed suicide. This intrigues him and he goes back to find Shan whose house has been attacked in the short span of hours after David had dropped him. He assures Shan that he will do everything to help if he would tell him what the problem is.

Now the story actually begins with the flashback of friends in their gang comprising of  - Eby Philip (starring Tovino Thomas), Jessica and Cyril Philip.  The five good friends are as close as family but they get into trouble with the mafia when crores of counterfeit money make an unexpected entry in their life. That's when they begin to run for their lives and you know what the rules are when you fight to survive - it's survival of the fittest.  

What happens to their friendship and how each of one of them begin to change and conspire  - here begins the trail that David Abraham IPS begins to piece together like a jigsaw puzzle. 

7th Day Movie Review: MEMORABLE SCENES



Prithviraj's 'salt and pepper' screen presence is impressive. The clear effort shown in terms of facial expressions, body movements, voice modulation is interesting. How he manipulates people to get the information he wants is also an interesting facet in his portrayal of the character he presents.

A memorable scene - he walks into an unauthorized lab and begins to flirt with the girl there to get the files that he wants. The suave style of flirting is delivered flawlessly and towards the end of the interaction, with a dash of light heard humor where he leaves his number saying, "Missed call adichaal mathi." That's a priceless scene and I simply LOVED the way Prithviraj does it.  

It reminded me of a serious but unforgettable scene Mohanlal delivered in 'Rajavintey Makan' where he jots down his number on Ancy's  (starring Ambika) wall calendar with a characteristic flourish that only Mohanlal can get away with. {I am a die hard Lalettan fan, you see!}

Another scene - where he interacts with the watchman of a hospital - caught my interest. You can simply sit back and enjoy the fact that Prithviraj's method of acting is getting better and better. 

7th Day Movie Review: PERFORMANCES 
The young group of actors in their supportive roles are very good. Tovino Thomas (as Eby) has a great screen presence but needs to work harder with his dialogue delivery. Vinay Fort is fantastic and seems to be getting better and better with every film that he has been doing. I see a great range for him in terms of acting. His expressions, voice modulation, sense of timing and ability to fit the character makes him stand out. 

The character 'Cycle' is noteworthy starring Praveen Prem whose body language is excellent. The female lead (starring Janani Iyer) has no memorable performance to deliver but remains critical to the story's progress.  

After portraying the pervert rapist in Theevram, it feels good to see Anu Mohan as a regular guy with dreams, aspirations and values. Personally, I hated Anu Mohan after watching Theevram. That also means he is a good actor at the end of the day.

7th Day Movie Review: VERDICT
7th Day is over hyped and it is not Prithviraj's best movie. It is a well-made thriller with some interesting performances to watch. There are some unexpected twists and turns but those are fleeting moments. There are no high suspense elements though several movie reviews that I had indicate so. The way the movie ended seemed equivalent to drinking nicely packaged cola without fizz. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Zen Garden: Conversations with Path Makers by Subroto Bagchi

If you choose to walk on your path rather than follow that of others, you are a path maker. It means you are evolving rapidly into some one who can empower others. That’s exactly why Subroto Bagchi’s Zen Garden is a book you have to experience. 

Published by Penguin Books India, Zen Garden is an inspiring compilation of real life conversations and stories that explore how these game changers CHOSE to overcome their pain by creating something meaningful out of it.

You will look closely into the lives of path makers such as  Nandan Nilekani, Captain Gopinath, Dr Devi Shetty, Dr Sharan Patel, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw,  Kris Gopalakrishnan, Aamir Khan among others. 


Path Makers from Subroto Bagchi's Zen Garden 
Take the example of Dr. Devi Shetty, founder of Narayana Hrudayalaya, who was the eighth child among a brood of nine and came from difficult circumstances. He talks about how children from adversity and difficult circumstances prove to excel in any field of life as compared to those children who have everything on a platter.

In his own words from Zen Garden by Subroto Bagchi, “The rules of the game are written, will be rewritten, by children with a deprived background. They need an opportunity. You just have to give them the language of communication with the society outside and they will change the way.” Yes, this strikes a personal chord because I hear my father say this all the time.

Dr Devi Shetty, in Zen Garden, also cites Christiaan Barnard, a celebrated surgeon from  South Africa. He is credited with conducting the world’s first heart transplant.  He had rheumatoid arthritis in his young age and therefore, he had very crooked fingers. But he went forward in the field of surgery and created life-changing milestones in his life for the well being of others. Simply put, he didn't sit back and crib about his life or his crooked fingers. Instead, he SAVED lives.

Pranav Parikh’s chapter is one that I can relate to, especially when he is asked the question, “Can one be spiritual and yet swim with sharks?” and “You alluded to angels in your life. How does one create the ability to receive them?” 

For a highly successful business man, his answers were mindblowing – because he says exactly the spiritual truths that the Rishis and spiritual masters have been repeating. Yet he isn’t simply repeating it. He believes in it and has had spiritual experiences that paved the way for him to emerge as a path maker in business too.

Another inspiring chapter is the one pertaining to Kris Gopalakrishnan, CEO and MD of Infosys. When asked to say something for posterity, he strikes the iron hot by saying, “The position will automatically come. Do something useful.”  Again, this is something that resonates deeply with me. I have heard my father say this and that has always inspired me.
  
Aamir Khan’s tip on ‘inner healing’ is very significant at a personal level but you’ve got to read Zen Garden to appreciate and reflect on it. It would not be fair for me to reveal that here.

The only segment in this book that disappointed me was one showcasing spiritual "leaders." The very expression 'spiritual leader' fills me with disappointment for one simple truth - there is nothing like that. It is incorrect. In the world of spirituality, I am a toddler still struggling to find my steps but the one thing I know for sure is that there are no leaders there. It's not a business hierarchy or a game. It is far more serious and one with 'spiritual' as well as karmic energies than one assumes.

There are only MASTERS. They are MASTERS of the Highest Order. But then a business perspective of a CEO need not match mine, right? 

Yet a part of me wishes that the author, whose touch of perfection is most apparent when he writes, had got that simple but very important detail intact. 

About Subroto Bagchi, author of Zen Garden:
Hats off to Subroto Bagchi, the best selling author of The Professional and many other books, for writing Zen Garden. He is co-founder and chairman of Mindtree Ltd, a global IT solutions company. I had read his book The Professional several years ago and it had deeply influenced my work ethics. I lent it to team members I worked with. It's a different story that I never got the book back again because it went into a state of 'circulation' among team members. Needless to say, they were deeply inspired by his thoughts.



SUMMING UP Zen Garden

When love is your signature and you are able to look beyond your pain in a constructive manner, the Universe finds ways to reward you manifold. Your actual awakening begins from there. The rest, as they say, becomes history. 

In fact, YOU create history. YOU CAN become the path maker.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

My Sun is my Light

Time rolls by. Hard to believe that the tiny baby I held within me and got relentlessly kicked by through nights during the last trimester of my pregnancy - he is now 8 years old. The only thing that hasn't changed is my constant worries hovering around him and his constant kicking - it doesn't end:)  


When I think of that beautiful morning when he was born, two little things leap to my mind. One, the fragrance of Shiva Ranjani (associated with Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) filled the room next to the Labour Room where I lay. I was holding my father's hand (he is a doctor in the same hospital and that allowed him to be with me till I was taken in) and both of us inhaled the fragrance. 


My father asked the nurses where the fragrance was coming from and they said it is odd because the hospital does not allow incense sticks to be lit because it causes allergies in many pregnant women. She and a couple of other nurses searched nearby rooms to check if anyone had lit incense sticks and they came back saying they couldn't find anything. I felt that it was my Guru's love coming my way, divinely protecting me as His promise to me is this "You are my Daughter. I shall protect you always as the eyelids protect the eyes.


The second thing that I remember most is when I saw Adi's face looming close to mine, within minutes after the umblical cord was cut. I looked into his eyes and I felt an explosion of vast, ocean-like love that I have never felt towards anything or anyone before. That love is difficult to describe. It felt like light, golden, beautiful dappled light that had lit me from within. It felt like the Sun's glorious touch.

And then the doctor said, "Little Prince, give your mom a kiss." I felt the kiss and the tears that were flowing from my eyes. Thereafter I slipped into a void for nearly 12 hours and remembered nothing except a rosy cheeked baby looking sleepily into my eyes. It felt as though I was looking into myself. A strange feeling that still leaves me awe struck.

Now coming back to this March 14th, we placed this cake in our puja room in the morning and the birthday boy cut the cake, offered the first slice to God and then to parents. Within minutes, the school bus had come and he trotted off to school in excitement. The reason for excitement is the box of chocolates he intended to distribute in his class. 




The next evening, Adi had a small cake cutting party with a bunch of friends. He had a themed cars cake and it was as delicious as the first cake shown above.  The only difference is that the first cake had butterscotch and vanilla flavor whereas the car cake had strawberry and vanilla flavor. Everyone seemed to love the cake. There was lots of fun, laughter, cake smearing and it was just beautiful to watch my little boy bask in so much love.








Adi had wanted my parents to be there for his 8th birthday but they had been with us in the month of February and had to go back before his birthday. A couple of times, Adi asked me, "Can't Appa (that's what he calls my dad) stay for my birthday? I wish he and Mummy (my mom) are there for my birthday." 


I told him, "Talk to Appa directly about how you feel." 


Adi's response surprised me a lot. He said, "Appa has booked his return tickets a month ago. If I say this to him, he will feel forced to change his tickets and that will cost him more money. I don't want Appa to waste money because of me. So, we won't tell Appa that I want him to stay." 


This touched me a lot for two selfish reasons. One, he understands the value of money and how hard my father works even at this age to earn it. Second, he isn't thinking about his pain, he is prioritizing his grandfather's convenience first. To me, it was an eye-opener. My little boy, whom I sing songs to and gently rock to sleep and hold close in a perpetual half-embrace even in deep sleep, he is growing into a fine human being who cares genuinely about people. 


A smart mother would probably not let this happen - may teach him to be more practical with a trick or two to place his needs first and that of others second. After all, it is all about survival of the fittest in hard, competitive world. 


But then, I am not a smart mother. I am happy to see my son imbibing the same values that I hold close to my heart. So yes, we celebrated alone. 


The special touch of love came from a surprise gift box. This thrilled Adi when he received it on his birthday - it was a lovely box of knick knacks, games and gifts for him including a little tub of strawberry shaped erasers that smelled delicious enough to eat. Adi LOVED it.  


Then, while using the first eraser, he said another thing that deeply touched my heart, "Appa has a thinking mind. When he buys anything for me, he thinks about how I can use it. Everything Appa buys for me is with a thinking mind." 


Sometimes I find it so hard to believe how fast he's growing up. He is all I have, closer than my heartbeat, and yet so difficult to fathom. It's a matter of time before he breaks free of my embrace and finds a way to soar from home.  And when that happens, my heart says that my home will cease to be what it is. Nope, I don't even want to think about it. As I read recently in Nadeem Aslam's brilliant novel The Blind Man's Garden, "Love is not consolation, it is Light.


And no matter where he is, my Sun is my Light. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Five Things I Learned after deactivating my Facebook account

One fine midnight, I deactivated my Facebook account. For curiosity, fun and solitude. Just like that - it is curiosity that initially made me do it and then my need for absolute solitude. To be honest, it was like getting a slice of heaven.


Let me explain a bit more about curiosity and solitude if you have time to listen.

Curiosity to know if any friend on Facebook would note that I am not there anymore. Solitude and the need to meditate, to listen and reconnect with myself.

Five Lessons on Life after Facebook

So, yes, its a combination of both that made me take this decision. And here is what I learned after I deactivated from Facebook:

1. Out of 790 friends on Facebook, there are less than 20 friends who reached out by mail/phone call/twitter to ask if everything is fine at my end.  Out of the 20 friends, many of them called to ask if I had removed them as friends on Facebook!

2. Only five were women. And before you jump to conclusions, let me affirm: I am a firm believer of gender equality, okay? Nothing changes it. Hahaha!

3.  Three were top publishing professionals from the book publishing industry and 8 were friends from law college. 

4. Friends that I am close with in real life barely noticed. When I told them I deactivated, the responses were like, "Good, finally! You needed to get out of Facebook. You were practically living there." Now, why didn't they tell me that before huh? 

5. NOW this one is really important: I began to feel tremendous POSITIVE energy and had more time to LISTEN WITH LOVE & HAPPINESS to each and every person around me after I totally deactivated from Facebook. 

I mean, really listen with love. 

Heart to heart, eye to eye. Think about it. When is the last time you had a heart to heart conversation with any person, when you listened to every single word that was being conveyed to you? 

You've got to figure it out before life passes by in a flash. It's the real conversations that matter. Period.

Through all this, this most important learning for me has been this: Step out of your comfort zone. Don't stay where you are stagnant. Do something that makes life feel happier, simpler and doubly beautiful for you. 

I can't help quoting my favorite Mr. Rochester here. He tells Jane in Charlotte Bronte's immortal classic Jane Eyre:

“Because," he said, "I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you--especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you,--you'd forget me.” 

And remember this: The people who TRULY care about you will always find a way to reach you no matter how busy or far they are. You fear they will forget. They won't. They could be continents apart but if they care, they will find a way beyond Facebook. Trust in the power of the Universe to bring them to you exactly when you need them most. They will be there for you. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Emotional Eating: How to Control Your Eating Pattern with Self Awareness and Mudra technique

We are all guilty of emotional eating at some point in our life. This is an area that we all need to look at closely because it affects our health. When I look back, a startling fact arises: during the happiest years of my life, I ate almost nothing. I had no food cravings at all. That was also when body weight was at its lowest, so low that it alarmed everyone else even though the body was getting all the nutrients it needed.
How spiritual discipline can keep you out of emotional eating 
While I was in my teens, I underwent spiritual mentoring that taught me how to control the mind and to discipline it. Spiritual discipline required me to automatically stem any sense of taste with the power of the mind. It worked wonders for me because the moment I ate food, my mind had the power to block the sense of taste. I didn't have any craving to eat more. This technique also gave me control on maintaining body weight too. 
When I consciously let go of the serene spiritual world that protected me, everything changed. My eating pattern went for a toss and became influenced by my emotions. I lost control of disciplining the mind, so did my control over maintaining body weight.
How relationships trigger your emotional eating pattern
Recall the years that have changed your eating patterns. You will recognize that emotional eating sneaks in like a thief. It becomes a camouflage for all the stress, the pain, the anger and the disappointments you had to tackle. Simply put, the quality of our relationships determine our emotional eating pattern.
If you are like me, I am certain that more than actual hunger, it is more of an emotion that triggers your eating pattern.

Tackle Emotional Eating Pattern NOW

So, it's time for us to tackle it, right? Here are some  useful tips from Dr Deepak Chopra.  
1. Start by asking yourself, “What am I hungry for?”
This question triggers an awareness within us steering our thought patterns to recognize why we feel the need to eat more than we need. If you make this a daily habit, it will totally rewire your brain and the habit of emotional eating.
2. Another useful technique to control emotional eating is to practise a ‘mudra.’  Dr. Deepak Chopra calls this an awareness recall method to practise every time we feel a craving to eat more.
First step - You have to touch your forefinger to your thumb (this is called a mudra) and as you hold this position, ask yourself –
·        What ami hungry for?
·        Ami famished? Ami comfortable? Ami uncomfortable?
·    Ami just craving for food because I am hungry for something like attention, affection, appreciation? Or ami just bored?
When you are able to make this a daily practice, your brain will send the proper signals to interrupt your emotional eating pattern.
Be happy, Manage your Energy
When you feel happy and at peace from within, you won’t feel the need to indulge in ‘emotional eating.’ The key to happiness begins with cultivating a positive mindset, relationships that are meaningful to you and by working meaningfully to empower others creatively. Ultimately, it’s like Tony Schwartz famously proclaimed, ‘Manage your energy, not your time.”
What’s your take on emotional eating? How do you tackle it? Do share tips, beliefs or anecdotes that have inspired you to change your lifestyle eating patterns. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Being Single in India: Why so much fuss and prejudice?

I read this thought provoking post by Suruchi Sharma and she packs in some salient points for ‘single women’ in India such as the typical question “What are your marriage plans?”
Single in India: The dreaded "What are your marriage plans" question
Marriage isn't something to rush into. It is more important than any other decision in your entire life. Sadly, few people think about why they want to marry X, Y or Z. 

That reminds me of an incident that took place in front of me. A well-spoken, highly educated young lawyer friend was booking a three bedroom flat. He was trying to convince the builder that he will pay the entire money (in lakhs) in less than a year. The builder wasn't convinced that a lawyer who had just started his career could do that. Exasperated, the lawyer said, "Of course I will. The day I get married, you can consider that the payment will be complete." The builder was impressed and convinced. The rest is history. 

Marriages in India: Problems that arise and why

Marriage is fast becoming a transaction and I am not saying this in general. I have seen divorces turn into ugly legal battles that too among close friends. I am seeing it all around me. But why is this happening? 

One reason is that we aren't honest with ourselves about our priorities in life and why we want to get married in the first place. We don't give ourselves the opportunity to reflect on what we want to accomplish in a marriage - not everyone marries for love, let's be clear about how it is in the Indian society. Love is placed at the bottom of the marriage ranking order.

Here’s what many girls have told me when I have asked them:
1.     When parents decide [10/10 – the ideal, suffering child – can anyone find fault here? Nope!]
2.     When a good match comes up [6/10 – not sure if this is about an individual or owning a fireworks company]
3.    When horoscopes match [6/10 – if you believe in the science of planets than your gut feel combined with some common sense, you need to rethink]
Lets come back to Suruchi Sharma's argument that the Indian society pressurizes girls to accept arranged marriage as a woman’s ultimate destiny. Once the girl’s family makes the decision to find a ‘respectable, nice family partner,’ she is pressurized from then to somehow fit in and learn to be a ‘good daughter-in-law.’ Whether it is an arranged or love marriage, the next dilemma is about living up to the expectations of the new family. Read Chetan Bhagat's 2 States if you aren't convinced. Good luck, folks!

Okay, lets cut the sarcasm and get to the point, shall we?
What about a girl as an individual? What about her aspirations, her goals, her happiness? I doubt if she has a say in any of this. But see the brighter side: she gets to choose her gold jewellery and wedding trousseau. Isn't that terrific? Depends on how you look at it. Personally, nothing would horrify me more than the fact that all I need to focus on is the jewellery and not have a say in whom I marry or choose not to marry.
The Big, Fat Indian Marriage: Why so much fuss?
In many well-to-do, ‘educated’ Indian families, hell breaks loose by the time a girl is eighteen years old, particularly so in ‘educated, literate, civilized Kerala. Parents begin to run helter skelter as though the girl has crossed thirty instead of eighteen.
Why so much fuss over a girl’s marriage? 
There are hundreds of ‘excuses’ that Indian parents will have for their ‘marriage’ obsession.  Here are some commonly cited reasons:
1.     The matching of horoscopes can take months and somewhat years. Result? The family astrologer has more say in when a girl should marry than the girl herself.
2.     The older a girl, the more difficult it is to find a suitable marriage partner in India.
3.     Adjustment problems tend to crop up when a girl is older. She becomes more vocal and set in her ways.
4.     Fertility and biological cycle – this one grand excuse is enough to set the alarm bells ringing for the parents of a girl.
5.     The earlier a girl is sent to her in-laws home, the better for the parents so that they no longer have to worry financially about the rising marriage expenses, not to mention gifts to be given, the dowry and the gold……well, aren’t you already feeling jittery whether or not you are a parent?
6.  The worst and most obvious reason is this – a single girl sends out an unspoken message to the society that allows everyone including the domestic help to wonder aloud about her ‘viriginity,’ ‘respectablity’ and decide whether she is of ‘loose morals.’
Being Single in India: Why is it so tough to take that decision?
In the midst all the confusion, a question remains – why do girls cave in to parental pressure when they are totally unsure? What fears do they have that they don’t have the confidence to stand up and say ‘No’ to the parents? 
Wait. I am not saying marrying a stranger is a bad thing or a social crime. It has worked well for generations in India. It worked well for my grandparents and parents but does that guarantee it will work for me? Is it like a constitutional law that cannot be easily amended? In India, I am afraid it is somewhat the case. 
Again, the question is - what exactly are we propagating? A family system that has no democracy in it - because you don't have  a say in your own life's most important occasion/event/drama?
At the end of your life, you alone will experience the reality of the decisions taken. You alone will be responsible for the way everything has been mapped out – not the family, not the astrologer or  the marriage broker.
It’s your life. The question is – Do you want to let others screw up your happiness? Are you ready to take some responsibility for your life instead of being spoon-fed?
Tough to decide if you haven't soul-searched before. It's a good time to start thinking and asking yourself: "Do I want to marry or stay single? Whatever I feel right now, what is the real reason in shaping my decision? Ami trying to please others or do I feel this way is the right one for me from my gut?" 
To stay single or not is a very personal decision, one that is related to your sense of happiness in life or at least leading towards it. So, how do you view a decision like that particularly if it is from some one from your family or some one you are close to?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Four Things Smart & Sensible Parents Should be Wary of

It's March! Woohooo! My son turns 8, this month. It's also that month of the year when I take stock of my journey into motherhood and how I am still faring.

Nothing frightens me more than being totally responsible for the little life that I have been instrumental in giving birth to. He's a growing boy, on the verge of turning 8 and I am so happy for the person he is - positive, full of life, energy and amazing wit!

The other thing is - I am not one of those perfect moms.  What a relief! In fact, I don’t endorse the very concept of perfect moms raising perfect kids. I mean, what is that? Are we grooming robots or kids? 
Here are four things parents should be wary of:
1. Perfect Parenting 
With all respect, I have come across many ‘perfect parents’ kids. 
Those who learn to tie their shoe laces perfectly by the time they are three, those who are taught to distinguish between ‘designer’ clothes/toys versus the rubbish that the rest of us dole out as normal toys to our kids and those who eat four course meals without ever giving into the temptation of a hiccup, a burp or a speck on the table napkin. 

Unless they have an exclusive dynastic social network to grow in, they don't really "grow" in the real sense of the word. 

2. Creating miniature models of parents’ prejudiced social practices
A big chunk of the ‘perfect parents’ kids are trained to be miniature models of their parents’ prejudiced social practices. I have certain friends who tell their kids not to play with children belonging to another religion because they will get 'wrong ideas, culture.' That is just one example. 
3. Fostering Snobbery 
Snobbery is more rampant among parents than kids. Gradually they learn from us. While I was in school, there was a guy in my class who was everyone’s envy. Guess why?
He would bring perfectly packed food (yes, the expensive silver foil type and the disposable plastic cutlery too!) that is ordered from a five star hotel. When we asked why he ate hotel food every day, he told us proudly his parents could afford it. It implied in a strange way that he was a cut above the rest.
We would all be sharing our lunchboxes with one another and he would look at us with disgust as though we came from the land of savages. He would eat his food with impeccable manners and not offer to anyone. He had no friends, not because he didn’t share his food. But because he probably didn't know that it helps to share, to laugh and to have conversations with people sitting across the same desk. He tried to be a perfect adult and in the process, shut out any scope for friendship with kids of his age.

Here are snippets of conversations I have heard from the so-called, perfect parenting models:
1.     I have told my kids to make friends only with children from good, well-to-do families and they have to be able to speak English very well. {My Take: Am left wondering, are we all Indians or clones of the West? The whole concept about being Indian is embracing the Vedic tradition ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ which means the Whole World is my Family!}
2.     If a teacher scolds my kid, I have told the teacher to explain to me separately why this was done. {My Take: Am one of those moms who engage constructively with the class teacher because I choose to TRUST the teacher. If I am going to be ‘mothering’ the teacher, I might as well start a homeschool and save all the ‘mothering-mentoring’ effort right at home}
3.   My kid’s birthday party will feature an exclusive film preview followed by a three course dinner. Please make sure your kid is suitable dressed. {My Take: I guess I should feel very grateful that my son is invited to an Oscar-like birthday party. But I look for fun as the real quotient of a child's birthday party. I also don’t appreciate being told that he has to dress like one of those fancy corporate honchos when it’s all about a birthday party for kids and having fun – it’s not the Executive Director’s Meet, is it?}
4.     I’d bull doze and feed my child than let him/her have their way in eating. {My Take: Eating food is a process of lifelong bonding. It’s about absorbing the food – the colors, the scents, the textures and so on. Bull dozing and forcing your kid may help for short term growth but you eventually damage your kid’s approach and relationship with food forever. If you think that I am bluffing, ask any experienced pediatrician.}
5.  I will die and burn in Hell if my kid ever turns out to be gay or lives in with some one before marriage. {My Take: You can't live your kid's life beyond a point. We need to accept that they have a right to make choices when it comes to their personal lives, particularly sexuality.}
6. I won't ever let my kid read or watch Harry Potter because the Vatican says it is sinful and promotes witchcraft{My Take: The Vatican and I don't support witchcraft. But the point is the Vatican can't take over your child's life or future. Nor can it dictate from tomorrow every little thing that has to happen in your kid's life. So keep an open heart to books. Help your child stay in sync with the best books in the world. Whether you agree or not, Harry Potter makes it to the best list no matter what the Vatican says.}     

4. Understand that it's OK to mess up, feel the rain, the soil and have fun
Kids should mess up, feel the rain, the soil and have fun. Infection is something that we create with our thoughts. Playing outdoors, enjoying in the sun or walking through rain puddles - it's what makes kids strong and it helps their immunity too. We get our strength from exposure to the natural elements while we grow up.  
I grew up doing all of this – and I am so glad that I did. I see that most of my ‘properly brought up’ friends tend to catch infections far more easily than I do. A speck of dust on the ceiling is enough to trigger ‘dust’ allergy in them. Eating from a local dhaba can make them develop a stomach bug for weeks. In that sense, I am happier and stronger than the 'protected' kids.

Let kids play free and fearlessly. And if they fall, they will know what to learn from it and what not to learn from it. 
Now I want to ask you this: What's your journey been like as a parent or as a growing individual? What are the essential mistakes that you believe most parents tend to make? It would be good to know why you believe they shouldn't or should do something to change it. 

Do share your views. Am waiting.

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