Did you receive medals for being a mediocre student?

Did you receive medals for being a mediocre student?

The trend of awarding kids with trophies or medals for their outstanding achievement in academics and co-scholastic areas started in 1970s. This came to be known as ‘self-esteem movement’. Idea was to boost the child’s self-image.

Parents would soon join the race to appreciate their talented child. Relatives in blood relation or otherwise would also be a part of appreciating the child for a unique talent seen during the formative years of life. This would be more so in collectivistic cultures like India. It would be an ulterior motive of these important stakeholders in the child’s life to fulfil the prophecy of making him/her an engineer or a doctor or a footballer or an artist…

Well, life always has something else to offer. How often were we surrounded by a bed of roses?

The child is going to have a stress-free life and the accolades earned during the school would really secure him/her. Who can guarantee? Apparently, no one! Even a genius like Albert Einstein had to experience his share of hardship. He died being a Nobel laureate but not for his contribution of theory of relativity.

The harder truth is that no amount of accolades, achievement certificates or trophies or verbal praise would develop a child as a ‘resilient’ being.

I wonder if the self-esteem movement churned out people with really high self-esteem? How about those performers who never managed to bag trophies and they were to be identified in the ‘average cadre’?

The self-esteem movement has creeped in institutes of higher education and not only kindergarten. I am confident to say this for my subcontinent India.

In our lifetime, sometimes we have all been appreciated for our efforts and sometimes rejected or criticised. Sometimes, we didn’t really deserve an appreciation but still received it and sometimes we deserved to be appreciated but someone else bagged it.

We had all such experiences as a child. Wouldn’t you agree? It all seems to be a muddled approach to boost our self-esteem as a child.

Don’t you think it is time to re-evaluate our approach? Pour-in your ideas readers..

Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.

― Anne Frank


Why school trips are a must for students?

Why school trips are a must for students?

Children have a different level of excitement and physical energy that we adults can’t match. Trips are a good way to channelise the same energy the right way. 

Children also get used to routine life and enjoy their comfort zone of family, friends and teachers. Short trips with peers gives them an opportunity to leave their comfort zone. The usual and the routine conversation change during the trips.

 More or less students engage bathing, eating, sleeping without an adult supervision. Just that they have to be on time to get started for the day. 

Children may just talk and just talk during trips. But, it does indicate a continuous practice of one or the other social skill. A shy student may ask you to pass salt and pepper on the table. A shy one may also find another lost soul on the trip and thus make a friend. 
The attention of the students goes to the trees, huts, farms, a fox and so many other objects and thus beginning a conversation with the peers and teachers. The discourse of these conversations can be very short lived but they are worth initiating and listening.

 I witnessed one student of grade 9 to be taking pictures of plums growing in the vicinity and taking few solitude minutes to do the same. The same kid spotted a scorpion hiding under a table. Now, doesn’t this tell me something about the student’s inclination inclination towards nature? 

Readers, do share your insights related to the topic. I will soon be sharing sequence to the blog post. Happy reading!

Questions for the school trip by a teenager…

Questions for the school trip by a teenager…

Registers and records on the table, appointments with students to be scheduled and plenty of other things on the mind. Well, amidst this was new responsibility of being an incharge to outstation travel to Nainital with a group of around 20 students for 4 days. I was about to meet some students from grade 6 to grade 9 and hand them an iteniary and some ‘ground rules’ to keep the trip safe and secure for everyone. 

Well, this was an excited teenage boy name, Amit who came in to my room. Here are some snippets of my conversation with him.

‘Ma’am, Would there be an alarm? I have difficulty getting up in the morning’. I consoled that I would personally knock his door and ensure that he is up with everyone. 

‘Should I get woollens?’ I promptly fetched the weather app on my phone to find out about the weather in Nainital and suggested to pack a light jacket to be safe. He seemed happy to have got his answer. 

Oh, he yet had a series of questions. 

‘Can I get Suthol?’ (Suthol is an antiseptic liquid often used by North Indians to avoid prickly heat and skin rashes). On the spot, I thought that Suthol can be a part of the toiletries. So, I said ‘yes’ again. 

I had asked each student to carry one garbage bag to ensure that no place is littered during the trip. The kid asked to clarify, ‘My mother keeps a lot of plastic bags of different sizes. Could I get one such bag from my mother?’ My ‘yes’ made him super geared for the upcoming trip. 

Finally, I got an idea that I have resolved all his queries. And therefore asked for his signatures on receiving the iteniary. 

Amit clasped my pen and told me that he will take long. I wondered in my mind, ‘why will he take it long to do his signatures? He replied without having really asked this question, ‘I have long signatures’. Amit, signed like a celebrity and his signatures ended with a smiley. 😊

Trekking in companionship of mountain dogs

Trekking in companionship of mountain dogs

This was a short journey to view the Triund in Himachal Pradesh, India. During the journey, I came across many dogs who trekked along to reach the top along with a small group of people. 

These dogs seemed to be well adjusted to the varying temperaments of fellow trekkers. They become friendly with people who caressed and fed them. Never bothered to get close to those people who may be afraid of them. 

They rested along with their group and if required stayed overnight near the camping site of the fellow trekkers.

These mountain dogs trekked back to the starting point of their group. This would also give them a chance to pick a new group for the arduous uphill journey. 

Evolutionary scientists will attribute this behaviour to survival. The strenuous journey gives them food out of affection of fellow trekkers. 

Well, these mountain dogs are social animals too. They are very friendly and reciprocating with the trekkers. The dogs pick your pace of climbing the hill. You are slow or fast they will follow you and they really deal with your physical stamina-good or bad…

If you find them trekking along with another group, they won’t give you much attention. They remain loyal to their group till the journey ends. You may caress or feed them but they would complete their journey with their own group. 

It’s like these four legged creatures telling you, ‘Honey, I’ll guide you. Just follow the trail’. 

Draw or Doodle and forget your AGE…

It’s been after 15 years that I picked a sketch book, pencils and few colours to quiten my racing mind. I loved to draw and paint as a kid. As 30+ woman with a career and family responsibilities my apprehension to sketch and paint grew out of proportion.

 I thought that the world would label me as silly for regressing back to childhood and I have always been an average sort of an artist. 

 Well, as we become adults we also look for jobs that would give us ‘return on investment’. And therefore choose to opt out of hobbies. 
With a smart phone, I have been saving pictures of motifs and illustrations that appealed me. This Sunday afternoon,  I just invested in one and a half hour to draw and colour some illustrations that caught my eye. And I can say is that I am glad that I picked it up. 

No regrets! 

Share what art does to you or has done to you…

My visit to the Mughal Gardens

My visit to the Mughal Gardens

Mughals got distinct architecture, art and craft to India and they also fostered idea of rearing beautiful gardens. Mughals believed that gardens are truly a reflection of a paradise. The British were inspired too with the Mughal’s way for nurturing the green and they built Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapati Bhawan (Presidential Estate). Sir Edwin Lutyens, was the chief architect to mill beautiful designs to give an aesthetic look to Dilli and also to the Mughal Gardens.


I decided to pay a visit to the Mughals Garden. This is a segment reared with beautiful ornamental, herbal and plants of spiritual significance. The gardens are beautiful with the yearlong effort of gardeners so evident.

I was essentially observing the children while taking a stroll in the gardens. There were herds of people flowing in to see the spring in full bloom. I must have walked half a mile and visitors were in some frenzy to take selfies and record their grand red carpet visit to the Mughal Gardens on their cell phones. There was hula boo about something that I couldn’t figure out. I didn’t spot a single parent talking to their child or showing them a plant or a flower that truly intrigued them. The little ones were either posing to be photographed or were capturing their parents in a photograph. The ultimate purpose of these beautiful gardens just seemed to be providing for a beautiful landscape. The only emotion that these gardens seem to germinate was extreme euphoria.

I landed up taking few pictures too!
A lot goes into preparing a garden. A gardener has to have knowledge of seeds, plants, growth process, seasons and so on. Over and above, there is a feeling that connects the gardener to the mother earth. A feeling that makes them nurture plants and see them grow.

I hope that we bring up children encouraging the same feeling with which a gardener works in a garden. A different pedagogy needs to be thought about (for schools and home) if green initiatives for mother earth are to be strengthened.





Parenting and Pets

Parenting and Pets

My uncle was getting transferred abroad and his pet was now going to live with us. This was a female pomeranian adult, Terry. Beautiful, healthy with apparently no behavioral issues. Terry ate well, slept well and loved her walks. She formed a bond with dad and she had no hassle while adapting to a new home. Terry was a family for good seven years and she was truly a darling!

Seven years are no less to have an experience of a pet. However, bringing up a pup from its early days could be contrasting experience. I and my family are bringing up a German Shepherd, Loki. Parenting a human baby or a pup has its own share of happiness and hassles. Pet parents would agree with me… Right?

Loki was barely 40 days old playful pup who just loved to eat, sleep, pee, crap and chew furniture sides. He is on a search mission with mobile nostrils ever since he came to live with us.  Loki created a record of passing stools and urinating in every corner of the house. His favourites being his own mattress, carpets and doormats. Since he was a tiny-miny-cute-little pup we pardoned him. He just appeared to show this juvenile behavior for good two months. Loki just seemed to be an incarnation of a devil with some sort of sadistic intent.

Gradually, Loki stopped peeing in the bed room where he always slept. Thereafter, he stopped peeing in the living room where he met all the family members. There seems to be some pattern to this.

Loki is five months old now and he has spotted a corner in the balcony for his bio-breaks. And he has learned that it is ‘his home too’. It’s truly a good feel for a pet parent.

Well, there has been a blind spot. Loki urinated on one spot in the drawing room. This behavior occurred when he found the doors to the balcony closed. Also, this was an untouched area of the house. I mean, less used by his human friends.

This is my first ever book on animal behavior that I started reading after Loki came home. Patricia B. McConnell, an animal behaviorist in her book ‘The Other End of the Leash’ has given a beautiful chapter on olfactory sense of dogs. And I seemed to have been on the right chapter!

According to Patricia B. McConnell, “We define ‘house’ as bordered by walls, but most dogs seem to define ‘house’ where you spend your time and therefore where the pack’s scent is the strongest. Many of my client’s dogs only went in the back guest room, a place with none of the familiar odors of the family. In most of the cases, simply eliminating the odor of urine and then marking the area with a different scent can get the dog going in the right rest room again. Once the area if odor-free and clean, sit down with your dog and a paperback and spend a little time each day there. In just a few days, that place will smell like a living room instead of a toilet to your pup”.

I tried the trick mentioned by the author and it seems to have work wonders. Six days have gone past and there has been just two episodes when he crapped  in the drawing room. This is a good success rate!

Enjoying the book and so much so growing up with the pup.

I would share more of my experience that relate or unrelate with this beautiful work of Patricia B. McConnell.