Saturday, 27 July 2019

Pocket Money

To Give or Not  To Give

When children start going to schools, a new personality enters the lives of parents. Children between the age group of five and eight years are interested in taking a lot of initiatives. S/he is interested in accomplishments and wants to do things well. A school-age child likes a feeling of responsibility-of doing something to help make the home operate smoothly. Parents may have a difficult time finding something for a child to do. That's when they need to think about ways to let the child experience their freedom through baby steps like introducing Pocket Money for them. Similarly they may not be okay with the idea of giving Pocket Money or any other allowances to children.

Giving a monthly allowance or a Pocket Money to the child is one of the most worthwhile educational experiences that parents can provide. It presents a natural opportunity to learn counting and arithmetic calculations. It offers a chance to begin to develop a sense of logic. The child may make mistakes or buy unwisely at first. S/he may rush to spend all of his/her money the minute s/he gets it, forgetting that it will be several days before s/he gets any more. From such haste s/he may learn to be selective in his/her purchases and prudent in his/her spending, because Pocket Money also involves the necessity for choices.

Parental guidance may help a child learn that s/he can have two Balloons this week, or s/he can save his/her Pocket Money for two weeks and buy a toy or a book. But s/he cannot have both the balloons and the toy/book. This is how you can guide them to use their Pocket Money wisely and save a few bucks for the future:

   1.     You may wish to start your child on a small amount as Pocket Money and give the same sum regularly each week.
    2.     As s/he learns the possibilities and limitations of his/her allowance and as his/her needs increase, you can also increase the Pocket Money.
     3.     Shortly s/he will become ready to take on the additional responsibility of managing all the money s/he will need for school expenses-bus fare, school supplies or canteen money.
    4.     As you increase the amount of the Pocket Money, you may want to discuss with your child ways of budgeting the allowance.
    5.     Assist him/her to work out on how much of the Pocket Money s/he must spend each week on essential expenses.
    6.     If s/he has a special interest or a hobby like coin collection or stamps collection or a liking for cars/avengers/dinosaurs; this would be an ideal opportunity to introduce the idea of saving any extra money s/he may have left over. 
     Many times parents go overboard in giving the child Pocket Money and compromise on some other important family expenses. This is where parents need to understand that the Pocket Money should be considered a child’s share of the family income and therefore should be no more than the family can afford. The Pocket Money should be considered the child’s property, kind of, to do whatever s/he pleases. The benefits of starting pocket money for children between the age group of five-eight years are:

  1.  Improving Mathematical Skills: If not anything else, Pocket Money will at least be a alive educational tool for the child. As the child goes to a Toy shop or a Grocery store or a Book store, s/he will learn to use the currency notes and other concepts they have learnt in the classroom.
    2.     Making Choices: Child may falter in the beginning and slowly learn to make the right choices, but either way, be happy, s/he is making a decision. Pocket Money will be another way to teach the child to make choice within limits. For instance, the child might have decided to buy a particular toy in a month but that may cost him/her the Pocket Money of three months. So s/he will have to make a choice about whether to buy or not the toy.

 3.      Social Development: Child learns to go out of the house and talk to strangers outside running shops/stores. They would know the realities of life where people do not behave in one manner all the time. Some of them may cheat, lie or even make a quick buck through the child’s pocket money. Accordingly, they will also learn to handle such types of behaviours.
Once you decide to give Pocket Money to the child do not try to control your child’s buying. Let him/her make mistakes for in this way s/he learns. Do not insist that a young child save something every month out of his/her Pocket Money. A savings plan will appeal to them in due course of time when they want buy something special. Also, most important thing, once you start the Pocket Money do not stop it or delay it on silly/irrelevant grounds such as disobedience, over spending on junk food or poor school results. Pocket Money should definitely not be used as a bargaining tool to guarantee a child’s good behaviour nor should it become a bribe.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

05 Smart Home Cleanliness Tips

Ring Ring......
(Door Bell ringing)

(Door opens)

Lady: Put these vegetables in their place.

Smart Home: Done Ma'am

Sounds like a conversation between a landlady and her smart home which works on artificial intelligence and cleans itself. How lovely would it be to own a house like this. But, unfortunately although we own smartly equipped homes, we have to manually clean them on a regular basis. Till the dream  of AI run houses becomes a reality, the task of cleaning and de-cluttering it lies on our shoulders and like it or not, we do need some easy ways of doing so. Every smart home has one of such storage places  as a wardrobe, kitchen groceries store, playrooms or studies which require regular cleaning. In this article, I will share  five smart homes cleanliness tips. 

1. Wardrobes: With most of our life being spent at different places in addition to our smart homes, it becomes essential to own huge wardrobes and /or clothes storage areas. Many people make exclusive wardrobes or clothes changing areas while some others prefer to utilise the walls in each room for making cupboards to store clothes inside them. In both the cases, it is essential to keep these cupboards or wardrobes dry, systematically arranged and clean at all times. The threats that can turn our life into a nightmare if we do not keep these wardrobes clean are termite attacks, fungus infection and or cobwebs which can spoil our precious Cashmere kurtis or Pashmina shawls and convert our woolens or Chanderi Sarees/Achkans into powdered rags. 
Cleanliness Tip: Use Naphthelene Balls regularly before  stacking the clothes in the cupboards. In case of wooden racks it is essential to keep them moisture free and wipe them with a dry cloth. Clothes can be stored based on the fabrics, for example: all woolens can go together while summer clothes can be kept separately. . Those clothes which are used on a daily basis such as night wear or office or sports wear can be kept in open airy racks so that at no cost they spread the moisture further.

2. Book/CD/Stationery Shelves. All of us with school-going children or Work from Home Adults have a work desk or a study at home. Gradually this table becomes the most cluttered and dusty place in the house. Very rarely, do we take out time to take out unused pens, pencils, crayons and so on. Also, many of us, Movie-lovers have huge collections of Bestsellers, CDs, cassettes or Video Tapes before we switched to Kindles or Netflix. We do not want to part with them at the same time, we rarely use them anymore. But we keep storing them for our lifetime.

Cleanliness Tip: The CDs, cassettes and or video tapes need to be segregated and given to Digital Junk Parks, if any available in your city. If not, explore the options of donating them to some central Libraries or School/Colleges of needy institutions. If not, think of redecorating them and using them for pasting your family pictures or sticky reminder notes or mere show-pieces.  Keep all the smaller stationery in baskets or open trays so that it is visible to you and can be thrown whenever not in use.go 
3. Kitchen Storage Racks:  For all of us who don't feel Gluttony to be a sin, Kitchens are the most important and most relaxing spaces in a smart home. Smart homes have smarter kitchens with highly specialized cooking equipments such as the microwave ovens, grills, fryers, dishwashers and other such equipments. In addition to them there are fresh and dry groceries which are also kept inside the kitchen. Many times the kitchen cupboards become house of ants,bugs and cockroaches. And many of the veggies and eatables too  go bad due to our negligence or over indulgence.

Cleanliness Tip: It is important to stop hoarding more than what we need for a week's time period. One can always go and buy whatever we require and whenever we require. In order to stop over-hoarding,it is essential to make a weekly menu of meals that we are going to make in the week for the family members. This will give us an idea of the ingredients that we require for the meals. This will curb your practice of over storage. Similarly, the electrical or electronic items that are used in the kitchen need to be kept dry after every usage. Empty your drawers and modular racks every once in a while to keep the cockroaches out of the kitchen.

4. Play Rooms : Most of the modern families are nuclear families with single child and both parents working day and night. In such cases the young ones are pampered by the close relatives and/or the grandparents. As a result, the houses are full of  replicas of their favourite comic characters, soft toys, board games and many other toys. With time and usage,these toys become dusty,dirty and unhygienic for the children. But due to some or the other reason, we tend to keep them still in the house. If we want to keep all the toys at home, we need to keep them clean and dust free for usage of kids.

Cleanliness Tip: The easiest thing to keep the play rooms clean and tidy is to keep emptying it frequently. Take this as an opportunity to teach the children the joy of sharing and detachment.Take them to the Schools of Needy Children or Orphanages and let them donate their toys which they don't play with anymore or have outgrown them to those needy children. The other toys can be stacked as per their categories such as board games and puzzles one over the other; comic characters in baskets and soft toys in a cupboard or a wooden open rack.

5. Fitness Equipment : Many of us have converted our houses into spaces which are used for multi-purpose activities such as the garage space converted into a fitness studio and parking space for cars and old luggage boxes. In such cases, we tend to just place things on top of each other without thinking much. As a result,the items just lie around without being used/moved much. This again turns the garage into a junkyard than an active breathable space.

Cleanliness Tip :  One needs to make use of the walls in the garage too for storing and keeping the gym equipment clean. Keep the weights balls and dub balls covered so that they do not catch dust. Air the mats and if possible cover them in cotton sheets  instead of poly/plastic sheets. This way the sweaty portions will not become infectious till your next use. Try to spray some disinfectants such as Dettol/Collin on the weights before and after you use them.

 Although smart houses connect each and every item or appliances of your house; it is finally you: the master of the house who have to decide how smartly and when you will clean the house. It will not be long till people invent smart vacuum cleaners which may reduce all your pain and make cleaning too a completely smart affair.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Pro Kabbaddi League Season 7: Le Panga

Day 1

So the fun has started on the Kabbaddi mats for season 7. All the teams are ready to play with every other team twice before they make it to the final play-offs. So it's going to be a long season and fans are going to love it. The first day of the season started with the host team: Telugu Titans facing U Mumba proved that the season is going to be great fun. Watching Sidharth Desai the star raider of U Mumba play against his last season's team and coach was interesting. His presence in the team has may be filled in the gap that was created by  Rahul Chaudhary who has shifted further south to Tamil Thalaivas. Although U Mumba won their first match easily, it was not such an easy win for the champions of last season Bengluru Bulls in the second match played against Patna Pirates.

It seemed again this time that Patana Pirates have tried to get the team along by not including any star raiders but sticking to their darling Dubki King and Record Breaker Pardeep Narwal. Although they have added new faces from Iran and the Korean Killer Jang Kun Lee. This makes their weak defence and second line of defense strong as now they don't have to depend only on the raids of Pardeep Narwal for making points. 

With every season, the teams come prepared with appropriate strategies to tackle the star raiders from the other teams. That's what even Patna Pirates tried successfully when they managed to keep the star Raider from Bengaluru Bulls outside the mat for nearly 14 minutes in the first half. But that did not stop Bengluru Bulls from coming back in the last five minutes. Bengluru Bulls avoided from giving any Super Tackles or Super Raid points to Patana Pirates in the last few raids. As a result, they could not overcome the gap of 02 points and lost with a score of 32 to Bulls 34 points. 

What an eventful first day it was.Let's see what hapens tonight when there will be a repeat of the finals of last season when Gujarat fortune Giants meets Bengluru Bulls and Telugu Titans face Tamil Thalaivas. 

Saturday, 20 July 2019

A Beautiful Stain

“Daag Acche Hai”

Parenting makes simple things complicated as a pleasant drizzle of raindrops after long hot summers is still not as joyful as it was earlier. Rain means wet clothes, school bags, raincoats and a long list of lost umbrellas, caps and what not. Not to forget the stains on the clothes. And the whole struggle to keep the white uniforms bright and shining white even after repeated washes. Mothers really turn to maids, washing machines, detergents and anything else that promises to keep the uniforms as they are from day one. That’s when we also start hating the monsoon showers, muddy puddles and potholes in the parks and play areas.
                                                             I remember one of my colleagues who used to give a Mission Impossible to his kids on the day they used to wear a white uniform to school. He would ask them to return home without any, I repeat without any stains on their clothes. If they did so, he used to treat them with anything they wanted over the weekend. Even I tried to follow in his footsteps, but my daughter just gave up saying it was actually an Impossible Mission for her to sit quietly at one place the whole day minding her clothes!

So, once in a while I did scold her for not keeping her things neat and tidy but most of the times I let it not come in between fun and excitement. I felt she was right to some extent as she wore the clothes to pamper herself, and not the other way round. What happens when children spoil their clothes?  Mothers try to wash them clean or if not successful, they discard them and start using them as home clothes or some other things such as duster or just give them away to others. After some days, we even forget which clothes were spoilt when and how by the children. So why so much of fuss over keeping clothes clean all the time? 

Yes, clean clothes attract friends, opposite gender and everyone else such as teachers, parents and so on. On the contrary, clothes full of stains can be a big cause for repulsion, isolation and finally, blow off the self-esteem of a child among his/her peer group. So are clothes so important that they decide whether your child is happy, has friends and/or succeeds in life? No, of course not. It is the sense of personal hygiene and cleanliness that is displayed through clean clothes that is what is more important than anything else. But that does not mean children stop enjoying themselves in order to keep themselves neat and clean. Once in a while, like in the rainy season, on a Holi Celebration, one can’t expect them to be cautious and lose out on all the fun the moment brings in.

Once I remember on a Sunday morning, when  my daughter was dressed in a light-coloured sequenced Jeans, she decided to go and play with her friends. She picked up her bicycle and went on to her house. On the way her bicycle broke down and while fixing it she spoilt her jeans so bad that it had turned total black. Her friend knew my peculiar obsession with cleanliness and started laughing aloud thinking about what laid in for her next. Her mother told her to go home and promised that in order to subdue my reaction she would call me up and tell me that it was not her fault at all. She did not call me and followed my daughter to see the drama that would follow at my place. When my daughter reached home, she was so scared to come and tell me about it, she just stood in the gateway and started crying. 

My Reaction as expected was the same. I asked her how she managed to get the stains and she just started crying. In that one moment it dawned on me how I had actually made a simple habit fearsome for her. Instead of spending her Sunday with her friends, here she was crying furiously. And I immediately told her to go to the washroom to change her clothes and go back to play. I did not make any mention of the stains to her ever after. Her friend’s mother surprised at the turn of events quietly went back.

In my opinion, maybe this extra stress by parents on children being prim and proper all the time,  unprepared for that one time when they have a so-called “wardrobe malfunction” in public. They don’t know how to recover from such an embarrassing moment and collapse. So we need to allow them a little time to be carefree, totally free from any worries and enjoy the moment and the action they are doing instead of worrying about what somebody else would say, feel or do to them.
makes them

That’s why I say, “Daag ache hai!”

Friday, 19 July 2019

Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai

"I don't want to suggest that matrimony was necessarily a tragic affair - some of our neighbours' marriages seemed quite functional, if somewhat routine; nevertheless, in the workaday world, it is wedlock that is most likely to offer the occasion for life-threatening disappointment.John Burnside

Wed locks they say is the reason for everyone's happiness and agony. But what is life without a little bit of spice and agony? I used to always wonder about how people,sane married adults sat down together to watch the tele series  "Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai" with their family and laugh over the messy mishaps in the lives of two couples living close by! The serial is quite popular with all kinds of viewers:housewives, husbands, teenagers to middle aged adults. I have even heard some children mimicking the favorite dialogue of bhabhiji "Sahi pakde hai" in the parks or parties. Then what is it that makes the same otherwise disappointing wed locks so funny and appealing to the not-so-happily married people?

The popularity of this serial over the years in the rural as well as urban Indian population proves that marriage as an institution lacks something very primal in human beings: the desire to cheat when forced to choose one partner for not just one lifetime but seven lives. I have written about the institution of marriage in my previous blogs too. Read more about it  in my blog titled Matrilineal Society : the breeding ground of Hotwifing and Swinging in India. Click on

Today I talk about some other practices we followed before arriving at the practice of social sexual contracts such as marriages between man and woman. And still even after the creation of an institution called marriage, we all love to cheat in relationships. 

 1. Monogamous Pair-bonding: We start with the primate human beings living in  pairs in Caves or plain/hilly terrains. For peaceful co-existence the male human beings thought "monogamous pair-bonding" was the most convenient practice.  Pair-bonding, unlike animals, meant living with one mate of opposite gender and it had its own benefits. The very first being it made male competition a much less violent affair and assured the care and compassion of two human beings for their off springs. And,unlike animals, since the human babies required more physical care from the mothers,the male partners were free to go hunting and catering for other asexual needs. 

2. Polygyny: But with time humans realised that the groups working together would only be able to gather more resources than a pair. So many pairs of monogamous humans formed small bands and started living together. Now,here the male members realised the benefits of having many partners for himself alone. This way he could produce more  humans just like him an started to follow polygyny in such groups where one man had many woman partners. But in this practice since only a minority of males get a majority of  females, it led to increased male-male conflict. Also, each female gets a smaller slice of male time and produce, it led to female-female conflict. 

3. Monogamy: After trying Polygamy,Polyamory and many such practices we decided to practice monogamy. In case of humans it was more socially inclined,meaning our community,society or family helped two individuals to come closer and choose life partners fitting to some society norms. Many times it so happened that there were huge differences between the social, educational, age-related and sexual differences between a couple. That's when we find examples similar to that of Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai. We learnt to desire other sexual partners while keeping our own bonded, married partners simultaneously. W wanted to flirt with others but at the same time we were jealous if our partner desired the same.

The Trouble with Monogamy

During evolution, we were under pressure to find the best partner to produce the best off spring for us. But more than often,the best partners were not available and we were forced to choose between the other better available options.Now the trouble starts here. Also because, Indian male and female humans react differently in sexual matters. For females, the best thing to do is to get a sexually average but materially self sufficient partner and gradually sneak out with better males for sexual satisfaction and reproduction. But for Indian men, the gal is to sleep with as many females as possible, with or without marriage.

In today's world, the primary reason for people to have sex is not just reproduction but enjoyment of individual's  physical sexual sensations. And with freedom of expression at its best, no one can moralize or criticise any kind of stand in such matters clearly. So no one can preach that polyamory is natural or monogamy is the way to be for humans. This is where the problem aggravates for modern humans. We don't want to be cheaters;neither do we want anyone involved in a polyamorous/monogamous relationship to be unhappy. But our evolutionary history drives us to be cheaters, making us capable of emotions such as hatred,jealousy and so on. That is why we feel penned in by monogamy and at the same  time we feel jealous if others are flirting with our partners.

The Solution as in Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai

Many Indian male watch the serial Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai in office or while travelling in buses/ Metro alone or with other male friends and laugh it out. Similarly, the housewives recollect the episodes from Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai while watching  elderly men living in their friendly neighbourhoods. This way they all get a vicarious pleasure which their unhappy married relationship has stopped giving them anymore. Is this wrong or right? I don't know and I am  no one to judge others.  The thing that we need to understand is whatever path we choose will have its own trade-offs. If we choose to be monogamous, we are choosing to deal with the pangs of sexual urges left unfulfilled. If we choose to be serially monogamous,we are choosing to deal with the fact that we are always going to manage a train of people who come in and out of our lives. If we choose polyamory,we are going to deal with jealousy. And if we choose to remain single, we are going to deal with lot of freedom and loneliness.

That's also what the friendly neighbourhood of Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai tries to tell us: flexibility is always there within the strictest,tightest options.There is no perfect option without emotional turmoil attached to it but this is the choice that our chemistry and biology has left us. You may decide to be monogamous, or have a closed polyamory network or you may decide to keep flirting with someone while being in a monogamous relationship.

Then the next thing that Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai tells us is accept that not everyone is going to want the same thing. Some people find the monogamous relationship sexually boring and stifling even while being married to a sex icon; others feel that they can only express their sexuality in an exclusive partnership. The degree to which people have an extra-pair mating urge will vary between individuals. And here come the cultural influences again. 

I was reminded of these characters of Babhiji Ghar Par Hai and their similarity to real-life people when I moved out of a Fauji campus into a completely civil residential locality. People here come from different walks of life. Here there is no similarity between people's interests,professions, values or lifestyles. The only thing that binds them or repels towards each other is the basic sexual drive towards each other. And due to the social contracts of living, some try to find ways and means of establishing their relationships within the social norms. 

I find it very interesting to see how unlike any Fauji Campus,the very first day ladies of my neighbourhood tried to have verbal spats instead to welcoming notes. This was their way of shunning me out of their social circles. After a few days, they all started walking around the house to explore opportunities to bump into us. While the gentlemen are open enough to shake hands with my husband and talk to him in the street and inviting Bhabhiji for a cup of tea, their counterparts observe us jogging and playing football in the playground discreetly from their balconies.

How I wish I could tell them that it was not just bhabhiji who's at home! 

But more about that later. 

For now....let's enjoy the next episode of our favourite Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai!

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Trophy Kids

According to Oxford Dictionary the term Trophy Kid refers to a child whose birth or achievements are paraded to enhance the parents' status. Parents watching over their child to make sure they have everything they need to achieve success in sports is a common sight on playgrounds these days. But some parents can become really obsessive with their child’s "worth". They become really involved in a child’s success athletically.  There is nothing wrong with being a part of these aspects of your child’s life if your child finds enjoyment in what they are doing. But many times the involvement of parents turns the kids away from the sport that they would have otherwise loved if allowed to play for mere fun.

HBO premiered a documentary titled “Trophy kids” that highlights these types of parents. Trophy Kids produced by Bad Larry & Film 44 is a documentary focusing on parents who obsess over the athletic prowess and competitive success of their children. Trophy Kids (edited version) is part of Peter Berg’s new documentary series called State of Play. Many parents and children tell about their stories related to how their parents drove them towards sports.
Two fathers had two sons who play on the same basketball team in high school. They were definitely the most involved in their child’s career. They would go to every practice and criticize every play and every call from both the referee and the coach. One parent got so aggressive towards the coach he actually was banned from going to the games ever again. The dad thought that the coach was trying to fail his son from making it to college to play basketball because he took him out of the game. 
This was a bit delusional, as his son was only a fresher on the university team and was making many mistakes in a row. After senior secondary school practice, the two boys are taken to clinic after clinic and are rarely given down time. As of right now, they seem to enjoy the opportunities they are receiving from their parents support but it may not last forever as they have no time to relax or experience the sport without having pressure placed on them to do better.
The third story followed a mother and her two young twin boys. The boys played tennis and were among the best double players in the country for their age group. She did not put pressure on them when they made a mistake, which was beneficial. They seemed to thoroughly enjoy the sport and wanted to go to practices daily. The only dilemma was that they often get up really early and cannot hang out with friends as much as they would like. 
In the long run, they might not enjoy the sport as much because they cannot go to sleep overs with their friends. My favorite part of this segment is that the mother does not allow the two boys to play against each other. This did not allow a rivalry to be created between the two and keeps them away from being in constant competition that can hurt their self-confidence.I think that made many of these stories seem okay even with such a big obsession.
Moving on to Mothers, who see their children as extensions of themselves and, more important, living validations of their own self-worth, value those who make them look wildly successful, especially to onlookers. The ultimate Trophy Child is that of the classic stage mother who fulfills her own unmet desires and ambitions through her offspring. Such Trophy Children can be found in suburbs, in small towns, or even in an apartment on a busy city street.
As I said before what justifies the obsession of such parents with their so-called Trophy Kids is the creation of a winner’s circle in the family that is conscious, open, justified, and sometimes even ritualized. Children in these families — whether they are the “lucky” Trophy Child or not — recognize early on that “WHO” they are isn’t important; it’s “WHAT” they do and how that reflects on their mother. When winning love and approbation is a part of the family dynamic, it’s not just competition between and among children that gets amplified, but also the standards by which family members are judged. 
Imagine the mother as the sun and the children in the household as the planets circling her, trying to get her warmth and attention by doing, achieving, reflecting well on her, and pleasing her. While in many households, the Trophy Child (or children) hold/s relatively stable positions, it’s more of a revolving dynamic in others.
What a lot of us forget in the process of rearing up Trophy Kids is that after a child has lost a game, s/he looks forward to enjoy family and not another session revolving around minute criticism of the game. Sometimes, these kids do not seem to resent the pressure placed on them, but it takes a unique person to feel motivated through this type of parenting. It seems to take the fun away from the sports but if they ultimately reach a successful level, then maybe it would stop and a more healthy relationship would develop between the parents and kids.

So who all want to talk about their Trophy Kids?