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UBUNTU – “I am because we are”

(If your search engine directed you here for  a search of Ubuntu operating system, it is still worth to read this small piece of Ubuntu philosophy!)

A very inspiring piece of information which was shared by one of the senior citizens in our condominium!

An anthropologist proposed a game to children of an African tribe.

The game goes like this  –  He puts a basket of apple near a tree and told the children that who ever reaches the finish line first in the running race will get the entire basket of apples.  When he told them to start running, they all took each others hands and ran together and then sat enjoying the apples together.

Obviously, the curious anthropologist asked “why did you do this? if one of you had ran first, that person could have enjoyed all the apples by himself”.  The children answered as a matter of fact ” Ubuntu, How can one of us be happy when all the others are sad?”.

Ubuntu  –  is the philosophy of African tribes  which can be summed up as I AM BECAUSE WE ARE!!

A very awe inspiring simple philosophy  –  triggers a very interesting debate about BEING HAPPY Vs BEING COMPETITIVE!!!

It always intrigues me to know that how philosophical the African tribes are and how great their sentiments are!

Related links:  Invictus   || The Help  ||  The Blind side

The Blind Side

Category – Drama – Motivation and Social awareness; Rating  – 3.5  ; Comment –  True story of a caring strong woman

This movie is based on the real story of the American football player Michael Oher. The crucial role played by a strong woman in the life of a homeless, traumatized young African American boy makes this an inspiring story  –  especially the way the boy transforms into a confident individual.   I can imagine the strength of the woman –   one which can transform and touch the life of other living beings.  The entire movie has multiple scenes and dialogues which slowly builds on the story and the way how the African American boy becomes as part of the American family.

Dialogues were well thought   –   when they go to shop for a dress and the boy gets confused, the lady makes a comment –  ” before you choose something, ask yourself  IS THIS ME? ”   – great message.

Sandra Bullock, who played the lead role got Academy award for her role.   The film itself has got multiple awards and many accolades.  A good watch and inspiring story  –   showcases the strong side of maternal instincts and family values.

Cricket lessons – for leadership

I am so close to be qualified as an atheist if you consider cricket as an Indian religion.  I watch cricket for the sake of news because every other Indian guy follows cricket  –  after the IPL era, cricketers have become equal to movie stars  –  figuring in page 3 gossip columns and endorsing all possible FMCG products.

I should say I showed a little more interest in cricket (still continuing to be an atheist, though) in the past few years, especially after my little one’s initiative to induct me into the cricket religion –  I even witnessed IPL matches in the Chinnaswamy stadium (more of a family outing?!  I also wore a red dress to support the RCB!) and started following the schedules  – more to ensure the little one’s morning schedules to school are protected from watching late night matches!  Often spotting Kumble and Dravid at school was another dimension.

I think this background is enough to establish my level of interest in cricket…………..

Couple of weeks back, on one of those occasional thinking aloud sessions (sometimes i just talk what is going in my mind), I said that to compensate for my missed walking sessions, I should be doing some alternate physical activity………listening to this, my little one suggested that I play cricket with him  at home  –   oh, the home cricket is more of a batting practice session where he keeps hitting a ball which is tied on a rope from the roof…. –  when I said I do not know cricket, he also very enthusiastically offered to teach me.  the only condition is that I will be assessed regularly on my cricketing skills.   I agreed.

My first class was couple of days back –  I was in  for a surprise on the technical stuff which an 8-year-old can churn out  about cricket –  it started with a lesson to me that cricket first needs INTEREST .   Then came the importance to AIM,  POWER with which to hit the ball, PLACEMENT, TIMING, CONCENTRATION, how to STRATEGIZE (I could only gape!!), REACTION, SHOTS LEG SIDE, SHOTS OFF SIDE.  And there were tips  –  to remember leg side is your left side, think that both starts with “L”, and the off side is other side and they both start with “O”.  I was given all types of balls and all types of instructions  –   “spin, googly……”  ” hit on the leg side, assume there are three fielders in the slip, etc………etc……..”.   After half an hour of intense coaching, we finished the class.

Being a long weekend, we were at home yesterday enjoying the lazy Bangalore weather………..and suddenly the little one announces the test   –   first sem first exam –  on what i was coached in cricket.   It was a 15 minute session and I was tested in what I was taught and then graded…………see the grading paper (ignore the spelling mistakes!).   I was thrilled that I got a lot of As in my grade sheet………..but my little one responded……..”You have to improve.  this is a preliminary test and you should get all A+”…….

I was mulling over this and was surprised that these exactly are the leadership qualities which are required in any individual!!!  My scores in the sheet here replicated below for clarity

SEM 1, EX 1  (read as semester 1, exam 1)

Interest B , Aim A+, Power A+, Placement A, Timing A, concentration A, leaving balls A, reaction A, shots leg side A, shots offside C.

So, how do you think i fared??!!!!    🙂 🙂 🙂


It was a very typical Sunday evening but for the heavy rains lashing out – we were waiting after the music class hoping that the rains will stop. Children started talking and playing. I started a polite conversation with another mom who was also waiting for the rain to stop. When I inquired about how long it takes for her to reach home from the class, she said around 1.30 hours. As it was already 7.15 pm, I was calculating that it will be almost 9 pm for her to reach home. So, I made a comment “oh, it will be late for the kids…what time they need to leave home in the morning for school?” (am I being too obsessed with others problems or am I having OCD when it comes to punctuality?). Without getting touched by my unwarranted concern, she very calmly answered “they are home-schooling”. It took me a minute to orient and understand what she meant – while I have heard the concept of home-schooling, I have heard it very infrequently in India – few cases I knew of were from the perspective of specific reasons – security reasons for the royal kids, special children who need additional attention, etc.
Now I became even more curious and my mind was bubbling up with more and more questions….considering the rain gods were at mercy with me, I got into an interviewing mode with her

Why did you decide to do homeschooling?
It was more of an experiment – we wanted our children to be out of the rat race – we wanted them to learn for the sake of knowledge – we can only experiment with our own children
So, how is the schedule of a week day look?
Children get up early and spend time on yoga and pranayama. Then they help me in household chores – after breakfast, they spend around 3 hours per day on studies. As they are now on their own, they study other reference books or research on the internet. In the evening they go for basketball classes and play with the neighbourhood children.
Will they able to manage the board exams when they come to the senior classes (10th grade and 12th grade in India are board exams)?
Yes, ofcourse. The elder one is at 11th grade now and she did pretty well in her 10th classes.
Is homeschooling difficult?
Yes, it is difficult at the initial stages. I spent lot of time with the kids initially . I stopped working full time as homeschooling is possible only if an adult is at home guiding the children..

When I came back home, the conversation was going on replay mode in the back of my mind – made me log into the net and read more about home-schooling. I also happened to hit on this news article where the mom I spoke to and her kids were interviewed already –

For me, home-schooling sounded like a great concept – making children learn for the sake of knowledge at their own pace and pulling them out of the rat race. While I still have reservations about the children’s view of it (my kids love the fun time they have with their classmates at school and they relate so much to school) and the impact of homeschooling on children’s social skills, I think it needs lots of dedication from the parent (invariably I read only about women supporting homeschooling of their kids full time).

Also, it takes lot of courage and the ability to take a risk if you try any thing which is out of ordinary – definetly the women who are handling the home-schooling for their children seem to be more courageous and is out of the ordinary here in India!!………..

All the best, folks!!!

One Minute Mother – Spencer Johnson

  • Author – Spencer Johnson
  • Category – Self Help
  • My rating – 3 on 5

Yes!  It is a self-help book on parenting!

For me, parenting is a mixture of science and art   –   and you never end being a parent irrespective of whatever age your kids are!!  This short book from Spencer Johnson (author of many “one minute” series) reinforces that there are still few facts out there about parenting which can be put to use effectively in day-to-day parenting.

The book is designed to be a short story where an young mother-to-be goes in search of the secrets about good parenting.   She meets with an elderly woman who is the “one minute mother” and her daughters to collect the wisdom of being an effective mother.    The basics of human psychology are established when the author says “Children who like themselves like to behave themselves”.   This is followed by the sharing of the three communication secrets which helps to be a “one-minute-mother”.

  1. One minute goals  (Goal is a dream with deadline)
  2. One minute praising   (Catch them doing something right)
  3. One minute reprimand (Feedback is the breakfast of champions)

As a parent, it makes lot of sense to develop the sense of responsibility in our children and help them reach their full potential.   It takes lot of effort and  will to persevere through the challenging situations in parenting and keep our sanity.  Johnson highlights the importance of being in balance when he writes “The best way for a mother to keep her sanity is to keep her sense of humor”.   Can’t agree more here  🙂

While the following tips hold good for any interpersonal relationships and mentoring, Johnson highlights and fits them rightfully into the parenting tips

  1. Teach children to like themselves and to like to behave themselves.  Enjoy yourselves in that process
  2. Set goals and praise and reprimand bad behavior ( tell them they are good, their behaviour was bad)
  3. Speak simple truth and express feelings clearly
  4. Hug your children and laugh often and show them you love them
  5. Encourage children to do as you do (be a living example)
  6. Pay attention to many little things that make life more enjoyable
  7. It is more important to start right away the right things than is to wait until we think we can do it right
  8. We become what we think about
  9. All things are ready if our minds be so
  10. Anxiety is fear of unknown and fear immobilizes people

The crux of the book remains in the fact that good parenting is ensuring that your children become independent and do right things by themselves.   “When the children are caught doing something right, they want to do something right again (one minute praising). It makes them feel good about themselves. And children who like themselves like to behave themselves. So, instead of behaving for their parents, they do it for themselves”

Given it is a short book  (100 pages +) and written like a story, it is worth spending some time to read through it – helps young parents and also the veteran parents (to revise the facts!!). 

Cricket Crazy

I almost got used to the fact that Cricket and my 8-year-old are inseparable.   But a recent conversation between us sealed this fact.

“Do you know what I want to become when I become big?”  –  this is how the conversation started.  I continue my house chores and ask absent-mindedly “what?”.   It is not that I am not interested about my kids future plans, but being a veteran parent, I knew by this time that these plans keep changing every summer / fall  and is cyclical.  I have heard things like “I want to be an astronaut” and also something like “ I want to be just a normal father/mother”.

While I heard  “I want to be a cricket umpire!!!”,   I dropped my chores and was surprised. This is something new….given the cricket crazy kid,  I would have expected something like  “I want to become a batsman, leg spinner….”   –  “I want to become an umpire” was a googly to me!!.

So, I asked with bewilderment “ Umpire?  Why?”.

The little one recites “ See, if you are an umpire, you will never get hurt frequently like the players and you can be always be part of cricket matches.  Also, the best position to watch a match is the umpiring position”

I was floored  –  call it Cricket Crazy nation !!!!!   I can vouch that cricket gets into the system of our little ones when they are in the wombs!   🙂 🙂


Everyone was in a hurry!  The birthday party is at 7 pm and when it was decided to attend the birthday party, it was already 6.30 pm.  The elder kids (7&8) were all ready…….The little three-year old nephew was so excited that he was running around the house with his toy car and driving it all over!!.

Sister-in-law was busy….-  she was getting things ready for dinner for the elderly folks staying back at home, getting herself ready, packing small things (when you go with three kids on a road for half hour, you will be surprised to know what all they demand  –  especially when we are stuck in the traffic inside a car!)  Suddenly she realized that little one is not interested in finishing his milk.   Being as patient as any mom can get (I admire her for her patience when it comes to little kids!), she was cajoling the little one to finish his milk.   But the time was ticking…………after five minutes of unsuccessful cajoling, she moved to the next mode – little threatening………”See, if you do not finish your milk now,you have to stay back at home with aunty” .

The little one continued to drive his little car on the dining table and with no wink of an eye he answered ”  Why?  Aunty also did not finish her milk?”   🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Ofcourse, sister-in-law was stunned !!!

‘God,have that skirt get longer’

Ofcourse, it was a catchy title for a short article in Times of India  –   When i finished reading this article, I could not hide my smile ….World’s most powerful president ,  Mr. Obama of United States is like any other father of a growing daughter!

While we had multiple discussions between  colleagues (over our energetic lunch sessions) on this topic of our growing girls and their dress sense, we actually never found a solution  –  Most of us used the cold weather as a reason to justify why our girls should wear a longer skirt or a jacket over that figure hugging tops!!!…But nothing creative beyond this!!   😦    😦

And that is the reason I smiled when i read that article.  Personally, I felt it is too silly a request to the ALMIGHTY…but, if  Mr.Obama is reaching out to GOD, probably we should all join!!  🙂 🙂 🙂

Ok, letz get serious!!  In a related note, one of my friends who handles some special language classes to teens, notes that children get very upset with parents when they dictate on their dresses.  In a class discussion about conflicts with parents, the Indian children asked a logical question  “If a Chinese immigrant parent can allow their kids to wear what the kids like to wear, why is that my parents are not ok?”.  

Now, this is a tough question  –  I was wondering probably my friend gave a long lecture about Indian culture and etc…..I was curious to know and checked on the answer, but was pleasantly surprised on the answer.

” Your dress impacts the way you present yourself and plays a very important role on your self-image.  Dress should suit the occasion and should consider the group of people present, culture, climate and situation.  While no one will question  Mr.Obama if he chooses to make great speeches with his jeans and tee, he takes the effort to come in formals  – this is to create the respect for the audience, to communicate in a subtle way that he is serious about his speech and he respects the forum.  So, you – as intelligent children should choose the right dress for right occasion  – if you practice this, you will see the difference and understand why your parents insist on some things”.  –  Great answer, is it not?

If you have 22 minutes and 41 seconds, you can watch Obama’s National prayer  here

Smelly Socks!!

Ok, as the title says……it is actually about the smelly socks!  So, if you are one of those who is really particular about all these hygiene stuff, then probably you may want to skip this post!!

If you are still reading, I am 90% sure that you are not the finicky teenage girl and not even the touchy hygiene conscious parent!!  Probably you are one like me, who can find humor even in a smelly socks situation….what say you?

Here is the smelly story!

Living in an apartment complex has its own advantages, especially if you have kids.   My 7-year-old spends more time in the apartment complex’s common play area than at home over all weekends ……the only reason weekdays are spared is because they got to spend time at school!  Sometimes the time in the play area spans to even to the entire day with a lunch break (while entering home for lunch, the first request is ‘can I go back after lunch to play?).   Sometimes there are multiple flying visits to home accompanied by friends  – they are all default thirsty (can we get water, aunty/uncle?) and unbelievably hungry (the packets of biscuits just disappear in minutes!!).

It was  this Saturday evening  –  almost 7.30 pm.  I had been pretty much lazing around the whole day, establishing that I am relaxing  after a week at office  (actually, it was only 3 days at office  –  Wednesday was Republic day and Thursday I was out sick – bitten by the virus around the city!).  The intercom rings…….and it was the 7-year-old from the play area   “I  left my socks with Aniketh.  I got to go to his house and collect it and then come home”.   I was puzzled.

There is a rule on the house  –  considering the apartment complex is too huge with many blocks and multistoried, we always warn the kids to stick to the common play area on the ground floor  – If they have to visit someone’s house, they need their parents permission.  So, I was irritated that the rule was broken “When did you go to Aniketh’s house?  Why did you go?  You never called to say that you are going to their house?  Did you climb all the steps or you went by the elevator?  You come back home now” .  I just cut the call to show my unhappiness that the rule was broken.

In two minutes, the little one is back home  – he removes his shoes and gets in! Apparently, he had been out almost the whole day – from 10 am in the morning. I can imagine how sweaty it will be by 7.30 pm –  and he has worn the socks in the morning!

I shoot the questions again  –   the entire family gathers to see what is going on …..

  • “Why did you go without telling us?”  
  • “No, I did not go to his house.  I was asking if I can go now to get the socks”
  • ” If you did not go to his house, then…….how did the socks go to their house?”
  • “Aniketh took it to his house…..”
  •  “Why will Aniketh take your socks?”
  • ” Oh, when I was playing football, the socks was troubling me (his way of saying that it was sweaty and sticking to his feet)…So, i removed it. Because my khaki trousers did not have a pocket, I gave it to Aniketh for keeping.  He kept it in his trouser pocket and after we finished our game, he forgot and went home”

By this time my teenager could not stop talking at the same time  –  “you gave the dirty socks to him and he kept it in his trouser pocket and took it home?!! Yuk!!”

The little one was completely puzzled….”If  I keep it out, it will get lost.  So, I gave it to him so that  he can keep it safely!! He is my best friend and he will keep it safely”…..

Now, I was trying to control my laughter……..on one side I have the hygiene conscious teenager and the other side is the little one who is blissfully unaware of why we are doubting his best friend’s ability to safe keep his smelly socks!!

Believe me………..MEN(Boys) are from MARS!!!   🙂 🙂 🙂

Why did God create this world?

The question popped up suddently – we were in the car, returning home after a long outing (shopping, visiting relatives) and almost too hungry to even talk  –   the little one was all set to sleep on the rear seat  –  shoes out, stretched out….. and then asks  ” WHY DID GOD CREATE THIS WORLD?

I was initially not sure if i heard the question right ……so, i asked “what is the question again?”………”WHY DID GOD CREATE THIS WORLD?”…….

I started trying  –   thinking quickly of any mythological story which can come in handy  –  all  I could remember was HOW the world was created, but not WHY.  Looking at my struggles, the little one starts the answers –  “may be, because after GOD killed all the bad people like ‘asuras’, He was having lot of time and hence created the world?”….”may be, He was feeling bored and wanted some work?”……”may be, He was feeling lonely and wanted people around?”……..

I was getting even more uncomfortable that i could not really think of any reasons and the little one’s imagination was going wild with every option………

I told him that i may have to read in some books – “vedas/upanishds” and let him know without realizing the danger of next question  – “what is written in the vedas?”……….i have to tell him that i need more time.

Now, like any other unknown stuff, i started googling for this question “why god created the world?”  –  I was amazed that wiki has a page on this and quite a few answers were almost on the same thought process of what the little one thought.

I spent quite a bit of time going from one  blog to another and from one website to another  –  to realize that Christianity suggests that God created the world for Himself, for His pleasure  –  Colossians 1:16

I am more interested to find out what Hinduism gives as an answer and how much i could relate to it?

Or is it as simple as what the little one could think of???

All i could conclude is –  it is an overwhelming question,  making us feel that we do not know so many things – and also a bit thrilled/concerned that the 7 year old is coming up with this question  –  I still owe an answer…

…..and I want to strongly beleive  the answer is seeking the seeker!!……..and one of these days, I will be able to understand myself first and then explain to the little one!

God bless!!

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