Friday, December 14, 2012

Of Simplicity, Solemnity and Consistency!

So, our very own Bidhya now stands married...Nope! I am not talking about the girl next door...Well! Actually, I am. She is truly like a 'girl-next-door' for me. Humble living, blessed beauty and solemn attitude is what makes her stand out from the rest of the bandwagon.

Yes, I am talking about Ms Vidhya Balan…now, Mrs Vidhya Roy Kapur!

 I have always loved her. It won’t be a hyperbole if I claim that I have literally grown up watching her in ‘Hum Paach’… I just revered the way her character was depicted. That simplicity and sombreness exhibited in the serial almost made us question the real Vidhya when we watched her sizzling and sweltering in ‘The Dirty Picture’. Milan Luthra’s film got a deafening opening and was loved by one and all.

Then came ‘Kahaani’…another splendid performance Vidhya enthralled us with. Post ‘The Dirty Picture’, the approbation for the National Award winning performer Vidya mounted dizzy altitudes and the superlatively brilliant actress conveyed a performance that's at par with her previous endeavours. The actress demonstrated her value by single handedly booming the film frontward on her steady shoulders, with a familiarity that transports you back to an epoch when very few actresses attained the same, breaching every decree in a fraternity that still favours a male lead.

May it be Parineeta, Lage Raho Munnabhai, Heyy Baby, Kismat Konnection, Paa, Ishqiya or No One Killed Jessica; with each performance, Vidhya Balan has wooed us with her talent, hard work and attitude.

Now that she’s chosen to get into a different sphere of her personal life, I wish her very best in her married life. May God bless her with life’s utmost happiness and serenity!

Image Courtesy: Google Images

Friday, December 7, 2012

The 'Dad' aspect.....helping new fathers bond with their new babies!

My article published at

When a new baby carves its way into your family, there’s a lot to adjust to. While mom stands a better chance to get close to the baby, it can quite be challenging for both the partners to connect with the little one. Mothers have natural instincts of involving with the babies solely because they devote a substantial amount of time with them; while the dads take a little longer to cultivate that special bonding. With a little creativity, perseverance and efforts, a father can feel just as attached to his new-born as a breast-feeding mom.
Below are a few simple suggestions that can help to reassure that much desired natural affection between the father and the baby.

Talk to me, Dad
Studies have proved that babies learn to differentiate between the voices of their parents’ and strangers from around 30 weeks in the womb. If the dad talks to the baby before it is born, it’s easier for the baby to feel closer to father due to the familiarity in the vocal sound. Sheena Mehta, mother to Simone, 16 weeks says, “Piyush used to talk to my tummy every morning and night towards the end of my pregnancy. When Simone was born, she instantly felt at ease with him the moment he picked her up and started talking.”

Be right there
However insane this may sound, but make it a point to be present at the birth of your baby. Veena, mother to Shruti, five, is expecting her second baby anytime. She says, “Varun believes that he really bonded well with Shruti when he decided to witness her birth. He insisted on being the first to embrace her and make a direct eye contact. He still feels that it was the best decision as it helped him connect with Shruti instantaneously.”

Let your fingers do the talking
Before your baby is born, if you can arrange for an experienced baby masseur to give some tips and lessons to you and your partner, it will really help you both in the long run. It’s a wonderful way for father and baby to spend some great time together. This will also provide some much-needed breather to the new mom, knowing that the baby is totally relaxed and benign with the dad. Apart from the emotional paybacks, studies have shown that a good soothing massage can relieve the baby from colic, indigestion and stimulate better breathing.

Touch me
Encourage the father to step into that bath along with the baby. Apart from giving him a chance to feel involved, it will help grow the expressive bonding between them big time. Bathing is a fantastic way for dad and baby to get involved with each other. “Quite frequently Varun would jump into the bath with Shruti and I could hear them chattering for hours. This is their earmarked time and I know for sure that Shruti thrives on it.” Says Veena.

Walk me around
Very often, we see mothers strapping their new-borns in the strollers to venture out just for a plain walk or stocking up on the groceries. If this role can be swapped with the dad carrying his little one in a sling or carrier, there’s nothing that can stop create that bond between the two. This will also allow father to carry on with his routine as well as for the baby to feel calm and closer to his dad.

Remember that breastfeeding is the only thing you can do for your baby that his dad can’t. Hence, involve him into some basic yet important tasks like nappy-changing, comforting the baby at night, burping and of course, bathing. Encourage him to help you out in every little way he can. “When I hit the bed after a strenuous day managing and nursing my Twins, it was Chandler who instantly offered to attend to them in the middle of the night, whenever required. Except feeding, he managed everything from diaper changes to soothing and calming them. This really helped me get over my fatigue and face each day with more gusto and passion.” Valerie, mother of 2 years old Twins recalls.

Jive baby jive
Babies are very astute and keen learners. They instantly retort to music and love being jiggled about. It can really be fun to put on that favourite CD and do a little boogie-woogie while holding the baby closer. This can be a cheerful bonding experience and if you are lucky enough, chances are your baby will doze off to sleep.

Share the knowledge
In today’s internet era, any information is available at the click of the mouse. There are number of online parenting forums where experiences are shared and information is exchanged. It’s a wise decision to join these forums and seek the info, whenever necessary. “I am an active participant in some of the parenting forums available online. It helps me and my wife to deal with most of the doubts we have while raising our son. The information, experiences and suggestions that are shared, has helped us connect with Aryan in confident and optimistic way. Whenever I get a chance, I encourage other dads to explore these resources” Says Anant, father of eight months old Aryan.

Bonding is a complicated and individual experience that takes time, endurance and efforts. There is no magic formula and it certainly cannot be enforced upon. As far as baby’s basic needs are catered to, he won’t wriggle even though his connection is not sturdy enough with his dad. As you and your partner become more comfortable with your baby and the subsequent routine, variations and responsibilities, you both will experience all the incredible stages of growing up with your little one. Parenting is an experience to cherish and tiny efforts will help both of you make it a remarkable one!

The big 'N' word...are we saying it enough?

The below article is published online at:

“Last year we were really having a gala time on a cruise until one fine day Shrey spotted another similar aged boy with a battery operated toy truck. This instantly led him to demand a similar piece straightaway. I had a hard time dealing with his tantrums and unreasonable behaviour during the rest of our vacation. As soon as we landed back home, the first thing I did was to fetch him an exactly similar model to make him smile again. I know I didn’t handle the situation properly but I hate to say ‘no to my only son; I always fear that by doing so he will love me less.” Says Vruddhi, a single mother to eight year old Shrey.

“Few days back, during a Diwali party at our place, one of my guests’ five years old son caught hold of my expensive smartphone and dunked it in the toilet bowl just for fun.  I caught him red handed and handed over the matter to his parents. I was extremely disturbed when they didn’t even confront the little boy. In fact, right in front of him, they offered to replace my handset. Considering they chose not to humiliate their son in front of other guests, at least asking a boy to apologise would have helped to send him a strong message that whatever he did wasn’t ethical. I doubt if the parents will ever lay a strong foundation for his life ahead.” Sunidhi recollects.

“This Christmas, I want to gift a smartphone to my son. He is a gadget freak and already owns number of high-tech video games along with his own laptop. I want to see him happy all the time and enjoy the luxuries of life that I didn’t. I want him to have a childhood far better than I did. And I will do whatever it takes to make sure that he gets whatever he wishes for.” Amit , father of eight years old son, states.

Vruddhi and Amit are top-notch executives in multinational companies. They have strived hard and earned for whatever they have achieved until now and continue to do so for providing a better future to their children. They both realise the value of hardship and the happiness and contentment it brings along. And in spite of having such affluent careers, it’s an agony to see them fail to instil the right values in their kids.

Such parents usually feel that their children will love them less if they say ‘No’ too often to their demands, whims and fancies. This results in giving in to the child’s every demand, however unreasonable that it. Comparing your own childhood with your child’s is highly juvenile and should strictly be avoided to be used as an excuse to give up. This is a definite way of spoiling your child, if not anything else. Instead of agreeing to them instantaneously, it’s always advised to find a mid-way. Having a friendly chat with your child will help you understand his intents better. Ask certain specific questions like what he wants, where did he spot it first and why does he want it? This will help you understand your child and if his demand is justified then let him know your own reasons why you would agree to it.  If this involves a cost factor, let your child know about its value, if he is old enough to understand. This is also a good opportunity to make him behave in a certain way before he finally gets what he desires.

Sometimes, parents expect their children to understand that their behaviour is totally unacceptable by saying ‘no’ to them. However, more than the word itself, it’s important the way you say it. Similarly, there are other non-verbal cues of passing the right message like a positive body language. It may also be noted that very young children might not respond to the ‘N’ word in a desired manner due to the amount of attention they get when they do something wrong.

Now here’s the twist! Though you should avoid satisfying your child’s demands promptly, it’s also isn't prudent to refuse him each time he asks for anything as this will be a hindrance in building up on his self-confidence. It can also prove beneficial to ask your child to earn whatever he wants in some ways. “Every time Siya demands anything which if I feel is reasonable, instead of giving up to her demands easily, I ask to earn it within her capacity. Small gestures like helping me prepare the dinner table or carrying small grocery bags makes her feel she is working hard towards achieving what she wants. And the joy on her face when she gets what she earned is simply spectacular. In a way, I am happy, too because I don’t want her to feel that it’s an easy life and everything is freely available at the fingertips.” Says Vandana, mother of six years old Siya.

When Manoj Sharma, engineer, has to refuse the demands of his five year old daughter Paridhi, he always makes it to explain to her the reasons behind it. “Though Paridhi is still quite young, I always give her apt reasons whenever I decline to honour what she desires. This has two advantages. She grows up learning that there’s always a purpose for my decision and secondly, this exercise helps polish her reasoning skills and also makes her understand that I don’t say no without a reason.”

Sunidhi’s case is no different. She is totally distressed by the way the boy’s parents handled the situation. Teaching the basic manners to kids at tender age will help them understand the intensity of the situation. Five years is quite a young age for the boy to appreciate the value of forty thousand rupees but having to say ‘sorry’ to someone would have definitely made him realise that he has done something drastically wrong. Sorry, thank you and please are very robust words and kids can correlate with them, if encouraged at an early age. When Sunidhi was offered another phone in lieu of the damaged one by the boy’s parents, in front of him, unknowingly they sent a wrong message that it’s ok to damage things as far as they can be replaced.

Although we believe that parenting is highly nourishing, let’s also face that it comes with its own concerns. Disciplining the child is the worst nightmare. Lack of discipline is a consistent issue that most parents face these days. Many parents associate the word ‘discipline’ with abusing or unreasonably punishing the kids. However, discipline comes from the root word ‘Disciple’ which means to teach or to guide. Hence, it’s extremely important that we guide our children towards optimistic behaviour thus helping them develop a healthy and positive attitude towards life.

So, next time when your child just refuses to move without that candy floss in the middle of the road……….think! Think about how best you can make her realise that food available at road-side can harm her delicate tummy rather than plainly giving up to her unhealthy demand.