Friday, September 19, 2014

Whose exam is it anyway from the Parent Quotient Blog

Whose exam is it anyway?

Posted by Kiran Manral
The midterm examinations are looming above us and the syllabus being the vast and rolling that would put a prairie field to shame, and I am in a great deal of panic. The offspring has no panic at all. This, I put down to the fact that thanks to the new system of education, children cannot be detained back due to bad grades until Class 8. When we were in school, the terrible fear of being called a ‘failure’ prodded us towards our books and made us study our eyes and brains out till we could recite chemical formulae in our sleep and do algebraic equations backwards, standing on one hand and such. Of course, I exaggerate but you get my drift.
The brat on the other hand is rather lackadaisical about the oncoming examinations. We reach home from school and I am one step short of frothing at the mouth about chapters to be revised and writing practice to be done and such like. Chill, he tells me, it’s only an exam.  Don’t worry so much. But then what is a mother for if not to worry, I tell myself, as wiser mothers before me have said, and put on my reading glasses to begin scanning through the textbooks to highlight stuff he must read and remember and be able to reproduce verbatim onto the answer sheet.

Read the rest here

How to make more time for yourself from the Parent Quotient blog

It is tough being a parent. It is also fun. But most of all it is a carousel that never stops, and it is all you can do from being dizzy and bringing up your lunch most times. Of course, I kid. Seriously though, given the rushed pace of our day to day, how does one carve out more time from the day?
Here are some strategies I use to maximise time and minimise guilt.
Read the rest here

A light backlog from my posts for the Parenting Quotient blog


Being a green parent

Posted by Kiran Manral
The brat is learning about taking care of our planet and saving Mother Earth in his Geography syllabus. I am torn between telling him that Earth is a Mother and she doesn’t need the temerity of being saved by the likes of us, she will have one major tantrum and blow us off her surface if we really rile her up. Seriously speaking though, it is us we need to save. But I wasn’t getting into those discussions, but I realised that yes, the boy needed to know about things like carbon footprints, and the ozone layer, and harmful radiation and landfills, and how we pollute the oceans and all that man does in order to get through the day to day, and why we need to, as the textbook told him, save Mother Earth.
I decided the child should know what exactly saving Mother Earth comprises, and no, it doesn’t involve getting on a fighter plane no matter what Hollywood mandates as the protocol for saving anything, including one’s souls.
Read the rest here

My Yowoto post for the week

“What? He Doesn’t Want A Birthday Party Anymore!?”

20 hours ago

33 of 33

A mother’s shock at finding herself redundant as the party planner of choice on her son’s birthday!

October looms near, and with it comes the birthday of the Now Officially A Tween. Given that I have ceased and desisted calling the offspring a brat now that he has moved into double digits (apart from the occasional moments when I slip from force of habit), I now realise, thankfully, that the prospect of a huge jamboree with a brass band no longer applies to the celebrations these days.
The offspring has, on his own, downscaled the size of his birthday celebrations, and is being incredibly practical about it. So practical, in fact, that I am tempted to gaze on him with eyes teary with pride and crack my knuckles for that he seems to have discovered, albeit a trifle late in the day, the practical hardy gene I passed on to him with the X chromosome. “I will take 5 of my best friends out to a movie and lunch,” he tells me quietly, and then adds, “And give each of them a WWE action figure as a return gift.”
I do the math, and leap up into the air in a manner that would suggest an itinerant rodent has made its way into the immediate surroundings. That was it, no party hall, no decorations, no catered shindig? I would be laughed out of the mommy circuit, I told myself. Then a thought strikes me and I calm myself down hastily. The fact is that he was planning a birthday, his way, after having done it the standard format way for so many years and I needed to listen in and acknowledge that he had the right to throw himself a party the way he wanted to and not necessarily the way I thought he needed to.

Read the rest here

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bad News Barrett was in town...

...and like a card carrying member of the WWE fan club, the brat and I put on our fancy clothes and warpaint, for me the latter not him, and trotted across to Inorbit where he was due to make an appearance. Never mind that the brat has an examination the next day and like all good, earnest students should, he needed to have his nose to the grindstone and such. And thanks to the fabulous Mihir Joshi who was anchoring the event, and the even more fabulous @jhunjhunwala or Aditya Magal who introduced me to Mihir, the brat got his moment in the spotlight.

Friday, September 05, 2014

My Yowoto post for this week

Of Easy Wins & Tough Lessons

How the spouse taught The Brat that getting better is more important than winning easily

The offspring, I am delighted to announce, won his first ever individual swimming medal this week. A silver in the 200 metre freestyle event for under 12 in the Inter-school ICSE Western Region (Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh).
This, after over a year and a half of intensive competitive training.  I am not embarrassed to admit on a public platform that I made, what is politely called, a complete emotional fool of myself, whooped loudly with joy, hugged him, slobbered over him with drool-laden kisses he needed to wipe away disgustedly with the back of his palm, and then fled the scene hurriedly, pretending this crazy lady is not the adult responsible for him.
But when the stars dancing before my eyes glinting silver, died down, I took a cold, dispassionate view at the timing he had clocked. It was the same timing he had done at previous meets and the same timing he gives in everyday practice. There had been no improvement in timing.
The debate now, as a parent, was whether I needed to celebrate the medal and ignore the fact that he had clearly not pushed himself to better himself. Or whether I needed to crack the whip on how he could have definitely put in more effort and ensured he clocked better timings.
Read the rest here

Monday, September 01, 2014

And I present...

May I present the ICSE/ISC Interschool (Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh) meet, 200 m freestyle silver medal winner. His first ever individual medal. All he's won so far have been as part of relay teams.
This is a long long way from the PDD NOS/SID and Hyptonia he battled when he was young and I am so so so very proud of him.


Friday, August 22, 2014

My Parle G Post for this week

Given this is the season of the rains and the inevitable ailments that ensue, the boy had his first encounter with illness of this season with a viral fever on a Sunday. It crept on rather suddenly. He had been for his dry land workout on Sunday morning, followed by swimming training, and post that he had his Maths tuitions. Needless to mention, it had been raining cats and dogs and he had been soaked to the bone though both trainings.
Unfortunately, I happened to be out of town when this happened, but the cold hand of dread clutched my heart and squeezed it, even though I did know he was being well cared for. For the simple reason that the child has a tendency to go into febrile seizures with the onset on fever.  Of course, he is grown now and the risk of getting into seizures lessens after a certain age, but then as the wise man said, what is a mother for if not to worry. So there I was sitting in a conference, chewing my nails, whatsapping the spouse for a second by second update on the fever situation, demanding to speak with the offspring, trying to deduce how high the fever would be from the tone of his voice and then finally, being too wound up to think coherently and take an early flight back home, where, as luck would have it, the traffic and the rains conspired to make me reach home two hours later than I would have if the roads were clear.
Read the rest here

My Yowoto post for this week

“Can I have A Baby Brother? No. A Tiger? NO! A Puppy, Then?”

The delicate negotiations that a mom must go through when she has a child that knows what he wants and exactly how to get it

It occasionally crops up, the question. More so on rainy days when the sky outside is grim and dark, and thunder rattles the glass in the window panes unrelentingly, and the boy is stuck at home, flipping the television channels with an expression as grim and dark as the skies without, and completely without purpose to his existence, except it would seem, to whine on loop about how ‘boredt’ he is, and how everything is so ‘boreding’.
It is such times that try a boy’s patience, and not being of the species of little boy who believes in colouring, reading or generally gentler activities that can be done in solitude, he wriggles, then wriggles some more, then begins his grumbling again.  “I’m getting boredt. Wattudo?”
Read the rest of the post here

Monday, August 18, 2014

Amazon Deal of the Day for today: Once Upon A Crush

My second novel, Once Upon A Crush, is Amazon India’s Deal of the Day just for today at Rs 97 for the paperback and Rs 59 for the Kindle. 

Here’s what the book is about:
Rayna De, stuck in a dead end job with a boss from hell, zero love life and the big 3-O looming large on the immediate horizon, has started to panic a bit. No, make that panic a lot. Enter new object of lust in the office, Deven Ahuja, and Rayna is overpowered by inappropriate visions of Cupid aiming his arrows straight into her heart, with turtle doves doing their billing and cooing act in the backdrop. Alas, Deven is completely out of Rayna's league despite the contradictory messages he seems to be sending out, and is, as decreed by page three supplements of the city newspapers, the man in the life of the gorgeous, light eyed model-turned-actress Sharbari Raina. As Rayna battles with her crush, shaky employment status and dithers about signing up for domesticity with the approved-by-her-parents Sid Bose, of the multi zero pay package and three-bedroom house, she discovers that life has its own plans…
The book is a fun read, and here’s what folks have to say about it and my writing.
“...after a long time, I have come across a book which kept me restless till I completed it. The book really ends in the last two pages, rather than many contemporary books whose conclusion one is able to understand beforehand.” – Sudatta Mukherjee
“...the author narrates the story in a refreshingly straightforward manner and infused with doses of wit and humour.” --b00k r3vi3ws
Manral interjects her story with bon mots at the most unexpected times and that aspect of her writing is what I enjoyed the most in this book as well at her first book, The Reluctant Detective.” –Shunali Shroff
"Kiran's writing style is witty, humorous and makes you think. She has a penchant for making even the most mundane, interesting because of the razor sharp observations, served with a dollop of dead-pan humour."
Preeti Shenoy, bestselling author
“I enjoy reading Kiran’s books. The genre of easy reading and happy reading with inevitable style, she keeps you hooked on the book from the first page to the last.”
 Tisca Chopra, actor
Here’s the link to order the book:
Hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How do you teach a child spirituality and religion?


How do you teach a child about spirituality?

Posted by Kiran Manral
I have never been a religious person. I waver on the tightrope between being an out-and-out atheist and having some flicker of spirituality in me. I’d like to think we are all some part of a great cosmic consciousness and our lives here on earth are some sort of karmic classroom. Yes, I pick and choose my philosophies and beliefs to suit me, and when bringing up a child, this can become a bit of an issue. For me, my internal conflict with organised religion came about because of many factors—primary of these being that I come from an interreligious marriage, and my parents both did not enforce religion on me. I was allowed to ponder over the story of creation and the theory of Darwinian evolution of man from the apes, and when I grew up and read Erich Von Daniken, I added to these the theory of aliens tampering with the existent monkeys and making them evolve into humans. Some sort of intergalactic experiment laboratory of sorts, the primordial earth.
Read the rest of the post at Parent Quotient here

The Freedom Chronicles- What Freedom Means To Some Indian Women

The Freedom Chronicles- What Freedom Means To Some Indian Women

Monday, August 11, 2014

Shopping Blog • Top 10 Mom Bloggers in India who Write on Parenting

Kiran Manral from Mumbai blog at

In the top five parenting blogs from India, karmickids.blogspot is a
visionary parenting blog started by Kiran Manral. An astute
author/novelist, blogger and media consultant, Kiran was a journalist
before she decided to change her pursuits to be a full time Mom Blogger.

Shopping Blog • Top 10 Mom Bloggers in India who Write on Parenting

Friday, August 08, 2014

It takes a special pair of eyes --My Yowoto post this week

It Takes A Special Pair Of Eyes To See Beyond The Naughtiest Kid In Class


The story of the day my son was asked to make the first chart of his life… And what it taught him and me

It began rather innocuously a couple of weeks ago. The Brat wandered into my room with the patented expression he has when he wants to ask one something he knows will be denied but must ask anyway or burst. This kind of expression has hitherto been reserved for the likes of iPods that cost more than the mobile phone I use, a birthday party on the scale of a lavish wedding, complete with the grand entry, a ‘lighting up’ jacket on the lines of the one made memorable by Mr Bachchan in a song with dance, or a watch of the kind that can survive many leagues under the sea and therefore has corresponding ability to deplete the bank balance to make up for that ability.
“Mamma,” he said, looking at my face with the kind of earnestness that denotes a sudden spit polishing of the avatar from the regular rambunctiousness one is so familiar with, “I habtu make a chart.”

Read the rest of the post here

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Being a sport parent- My post for Parle G's Parent Quotient

It has been a year and a half now that the child has been training in competitive swimming, and a year and a half since I have been a swim parent. It is a completely different level of commitment required to be a parent with a kid in a competitive sport, and as parents, most of us are keen that apart from academics, our kids have some sport in their lives, and are willing to put in the time and the effort to make sure they get their daily dose of fitness.
It is a tough tight rope walk between being a supportive sport parent and being a pushy driven parent, and we try very hard to be on the side of the divide that has supportive written in huge neon-coloured letters rather than on the other which has pushy but sometimes the lines blur.
Here are some things I learnt as a sport parent, and if you are considering putting your child into a sport, for competitive training, not just the regular for fitness levels training, it would be worthwhile knowing these and being physically and mentally ready to deal with this.

Read the rest of the post here

The Homework Bogeyman-My post for Parle G's The Parent Quotient

The Homework Bogeyman

Posted by Kiran Manral
The offspring arrives from school, and tosses his rather weighty school bag on his bed before sauntering off to check what is on offer on the television set in the other room. He does not have a television in his room. Not yet, I am holding out until he hits adolescence and refuses to talk to us until we get him one.
I hover around throwing indeterminate questions at him about how his day went, whether he got into any scraps at school, whether there are, gasp, any notes from the teacher in his diary waiting me to append my autograph to it, informing me of some misdemeanour committed at school.  He grunts in reply and after a decent interval, I gently broach the topic of the homework for the day.
The offspring will roll his eyes heavenwards and declaim to the powers above about his bad luck at being saddled with a mother who harangues him about the homework and how his life would be so much better if he never had to go to school and such. After around 15 minutes of this, he rattles off what his homework is, and I give him a deadline by when he has to get down to doing it.
Around half an hour later, after some random television watching and lolling around, he will drag himself off to his desk and sit down with a long suffering sigh with his books, hollering out occasionally for me to pop into the room and check what he needs to do next.
Getting the homework is a daily battle and here are some ground rules I have set down which help me get it done most days:

Read the rest of the post here

Sunday, August 03, 2014

E-book Bargains in India: A laugh riot, for just Rs 70!

E-book Bargains in India: A laugh riot, for just Rs 70!:   A person in a job she does not like. But the job does get her  eyefuls of handsome hunk, also in office.  Person's infatuated...

Friday, August 01, 2014

A bit of this and a lot of that: Once Upon a Crush

A bit of this and a lot of that: Once Upon a Crush: The best thing about chick lit is the empowering effect it has. The reader feels validated in her lifestyle, her choices, her concern...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Of the eradication of polio and the need to end infant mortality because of diarrhoea

Not exactly the kind of header you would normally expect from this blog, is it? There is a reason behind this and the reason is as follows. The lovely people at Unicef India invited me last week to Delhi for a couple of events, and I accepted.

On the evening of July 27, UNICEF had a felicitation function to mark India's landmark achievement of being polio free. Amitabh Bachchan, who is the goodwill ambassador for Unicef's polio campaign was felicitated with over 100o men and women from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar's Social Mobilisation Network.
Eradication of polio has been a mammoth effort. I remember when the brat was under five, workers would come home to check if he had received the vaccine, the polio drops days were announced well in advance in the neighbourhood, and the centres set up at convenient walking distance for most people to take their young children to. Not only that, there were workers in most building complexes, at a central location to ensure that folks just had to step down from their homes and get their kids immunised against polio. If by chance one skipped the dose, for the next week, which public place one visited, be it malls or theatres or railway stations, there was a table with social workers there, asking one if the child had received his polio dose. One can only imagine the magnitude of organising this effort all across India. Each year, around 2.3 million lakh vaccinators, led by 155,000 supervisors, visit 209 million households to administer the polio vaccine during each of these campaigns. Nearly a billion doses of oral polio vaccine are consumed during the campaigns annually.
India was certified polio-free in February 2014-- a feat it accomplished overcoming several challenges including population density, high rates of migration, poor sanitation, high birth rates, and low rates of routine immunization in the highest risk states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Present on the occasion was the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Varshan, who has also written a book on polio eradication, he being a pioneer of the polio eradication programme in India. He said,” India’s feat of being polio-free for three years and receiving WHO certification is indeed a victory for the millions of health and community workers who broke many a barrier to reach out to the unreached children. They are the most powerful voice of the polio eradication movement. They allayed fears and addressed misconceptions. They built partnerships with the local community and religious leadership. It is because of their efforts--of going door to door, administering polio vaccine to children and educating people about the importance of the polio vaccine, that India could achieve this success”

“India’s success is a cause for celebration – but not complacency. India is polio free but the risk of polio persists. Until the disease is eradicated globally, we need to continue to protect children against the virus and remain in a state of preparedness to respond to any case of poliovirus importation as an emergency,” said, Mr Louis-Georges Arsenault of Unicef. Commending Mr Bachchan’s unstinted support towards the cause, he said, “Mr Bachchan has been the face of polio’s mass media campaigns for over a decade. His one-liner “do boond zindagi ki” (two drops of polio vaccine) has been one of the most effective messages in the fight against polio. It had been critical in persuading parents and care-givers to give their children polio vaccines.”
The morning of the 28th, the union minister for health and family welfare launched the intensified diarrhea control fortnight (IDCF). The session was quite an eye opener for me. Diarrhoea, I learnt, was responsible for over 2 lakh children dying in India every single year, and all the more depressing because these are deaths which could be avoided by the simple administration of ORS fluids. 
“Building on the good progress that India has already made in reducing child deaths, the Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight will mobilize health personnel, state governments and other stakeholders to prioritize investment in control of diarrhea—one of the most common childhood illnesses. It aims to create mass awareness about the most effective and low-cost diarrhoea treatment— a combination of Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) solution and Zinc tablets,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan, speaking on the occasion. 

The Joint Secretary Dr. Rakesh Kumar and Professor Mathuram Santosham from John Hopkins , USA made a comprehensive presentation describing the global scenario as well as the details of the fortnight. Dr. Rakesh Kumar explained that during the fortnight, intensified community awareness campaigns on hygiene and age-appropriate childhood feeding practices and promotion of ORS and Zinc therapy will be conducted at state, district and village levels.  The focus will be on diarrhea control activities during the first week and on infant and young child feeding practices (IYCF) during the second week. ORS-Zinc Corners will be set-up at health care facilities. Health workers will hold counselling sessions on appropriate methods of Infant and Young Child feeding practices, hygiene and sanitation.
In our own ways, we can spread the word. Talk to people about the need for good hygiene to  prevent stomach infections, encourage exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months for infants, educate people around us about ORS and how to administer it to a child suffering from diarrhoea. Small steps, but enough of these small steps from each one of could well become a march that saves our children from avoidable deaths.