Monday, 20 February 2017

VACATION TIME (Day 1) : A Short Story - Aish

This creative short story of mine was loved by my little ones, who wished it be extended into various short stories each day with unique imaginations.



It's Vacation time! Sonu and Sid were so excited in meeting their grandparents, living at the suburbs. Their cousins Tina, Riya, Ram and Moni also came down to the town from their respective cities. Their working parents had to get back soon leaving these kids at their grandparents' place for 10 days. Their grandparents had planned ahead the daily activities in engaging the kids.


Hide and Seek 

"Children breakfast ready!" Grandma called excitedly in the morning.

While having their breakfast, they heard a knock at the door.

"I'll open!" jumped Riya from her chair.

With a surprising shriek, Riya said "Hey, Great to meet you buddies." 

They were Sam and Simi, neighbour's grandchildren who had come down for vacation. All the children were so happy in meeting each other. Grandpa had promised to take them out tomorrow as this day is "Catch up" day among cousins and friends.

"Shall we play throw ball?" asked Sid.

"But Moni and Tina are too small to play" said Ram.

"Or how about any indoor game?" questioned Simi.

"Everybody should play together, so why not hide and seek in the garden?", with a big "Hurray" all the children unanimously agreed with Sonu.

Grandpa's garden was a feast to eyes with colourful flowers, green grasses, thick bushes, tall trees, pretty shrubs and herbs and to top it all gleeful butterflies and bumblebees buzzing over the place.

Ram started the game by counting while others went on to hide, but he got distracted to the noise at times. It was a little bird constantly chirping nearby.
But he was more eager to get hold of his friends, "Ready or not, here I come!", yelled Ram running around to find others.
Ram found Simi and Riya hiding at the back of the garden gate by their giggles.

"Hey, why is that little bird chirping so long, is it searching food?" asked Riya

Suddenly Ram found a strange movement near the thick bush, slowly he approached having a thought of any reptile moving in it. Phew! It was Sid.
But where were the others?

"Should be inside the home" said Simi. "Let's go!" shouted all and tiptoed inside the home.
They rushed to the living room, none was there.

"Who's that crawling under the bed?" screamed Ram.

"Shhhh!", silenced Sonu, crawling out she said "Take a look on the bed, Grandpa is sleeping".

Hurriedly they came outside the bedroom, and found some sort of sound from the kitchen.

"It must be a rat" shrieked Sid and hid behind Ram.

"No, I have seen a brown cat crawling on the compound wall. Must be it!" said Ram.

But Was that a rat or a cat? Nope! It was Moni standing on a chair trying to find something to eat from the top rack, pulled down the boxes that crashed on the floor while Tina was holding the chair. Both the little ones were busy in their world.

All the children had a good laugh together saying, "We have to hide Tina and Moni, not find the hidden eatables."

So now, only Sam was left behind to find.
All went in search of him everywhere inside the home after arranging the kitchen rack, but Sam was found no where.

"Here is Sam!" screamed Simi.

Sam in the garden was busy observing the little bird which was flying, chirping and hopping around the place. The children ran to Sam and asked where was he and what is he doing here.

"I was hiding at the back of the verandah door, but suddenly found this bird hopping and flying around this place. So, I just came over to the garden through the back entrance and now trying to help the bird." explained Sam.

Ram too agreed with Sam and described how he along with Simi and Riya were also inquisitive about this little bird.

The others appreciated them and everyone together took part in this 'help' mission.

"But how to find out the bird's need?" asked Sonu.

"First we have to find what is in this place which makes the bird move around here." said Ram.

It was a corner spot near to a tall coconut tree in front of the verandah. On the wall, there was a cloth tied over to the broken faucet. There were bushes and plants on the other side of the coconut tree.

"It must be in search of water here." yelled the children.

"Good job Children. I just came out to call you all for lunch. But was so overwhelmed to see your care and love towards a little bird." appreciated Grandma.
"For the past two days, I could see birds flying down to fill their thirst due to the sudden leakage in the faucet. But this morning, Grandpa had to close it and tie it up with a cloth as the faucet broke completely." added up Grandma.

Hearing this, Sid and Riya immediately brought a pail of water from home and kept for the bird to drink. But seeing the pail, the bird flew away. All the kids were astounded seeing this, they waited for a while. They all jumped in joy and applauded seeing the little bird flying down to the pail not just to quench it's thirst but all it's friends' too.

Meanwhile, Grandpa came there along with the plumber, whom he had called in the morning.

"But Grandpa, how could the birds quench their thirst if the faucet is fixed?" asked Sam worriedly.

"Not to worry kids, let's fill this big bucket with water everyday and help the birds satisfy their thirst." smilingly said Grandpa showing the bowl which he had brought along from home.

"Yayyy!" shouted the children with extreme happiness and thanked their grandparents, while they in turn were so moved by the children's kind and helpful gestures.

Moral : The seeds of compassion, generosity and gratitude sowed in us reap out as 'Humanity' from within.

All as children are born with care and love in them, it is in our hands to cultivate and express these little gestures through our life. Be it a tiny creature, our approach towards each and every being is always with affection because of the warmth inculcated from our childhood.

Reading out stories to Children help them gain knowledge in listening, understanding and we as parents bond together, know more by peeping into Vitals-of-Story-telling-Aish.html


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Vitals of Story Telling - Aish

Short and crispy one liner tips are unusually brilliant, sending deep waves of understanding and enlightenment. Good one Pri!

Stories are the narrative entertainment for kids through expressive words and actions. Kids love to listen to different stories which please them at the end of their day. Be it a mythology story, folk tale, imaginary or creative fable, historical acts, kids enjoy to lend their ears.

Reading out / Telling a story to kids enhance :

the lovable bond between the parent and the child.
▪ the 'Time' spent together with each other.
▪ kids' Progression in listening.
▪ expressing our creativity and kids gradual understanding of words.
▪ a peaceful sleep with sweet dreams for our dear ones.
▪ kids' power of concentration in an activity.
▪ kids' speaking ability, reading skills and identifying the new words they learn.
▪ kids' approach in imagination and creativity which establishes them to make out a story of their own.
▪ gadget - free environment for young minds.

In our busy life, either as a working momma or a stay at home mom, we are entangled with work and chores. With kids at home, one could realize how life revolves with responsibilities resulting in the amount of time spent with our kids are minimal comparatively. To exercise our time with kids - sit with them, engage in activities and speak and read out a lot to them. "Children always prefer the presence of their parents rather than the presents offered to them."

Lullabies for babies and stories for kids, we present a memorable childhood for our kids! We would feel the satisfaction - of sharing a tale ; of spending time with kids ; of kids' indulging in the story by posing little questions which we answer.

Generally most of us read out stories from different story books to kids. But why not share our creative or imaginary stories that kids would love, more than being read out?

To tell short stories to kids :

Bring in the characters with any fictitious name. If the child prefers any cartoon character's name, try saying a story with that character. Kids enjoy the story knowing the name and age of the characters.
• Kids might love watching cartoons/shows that include negative characterisations or scenes with fights, but how do they know about such cartoons' existence without our knowledge? Most of the parents think that boys love such visuals more than girls. No, boys and girls love to listen to all types of stories with good morals.
• Start with a simple day to day activity which kids make, do or play with each other.
• Build in characters with good deeds, helping hands, good words etc. Kids indulge in the story and gain the fruits sometimes setting them as examples.
• Bring in characters travelling to places, experimenting new activities by giving the energy and enthusiasm to kids.
• Involve the characters in the story to explore with their friends and family, this develops the relationship bond in the kids.

IMAGE : Sketch by me & Colors by my daughter
Try out reading this beautiful and inspiring short story to your lovely kids Vacation Time-A short-story-of-mine - Aish.

Technology has conquered much of today's generation with its ample contribution in gadgets more than books and other activities. Let us counter this by helping our kids to intrigue them in tiny chores, develop the habit of cleaning up their bit after playing, engage them in various actions like painting, singing, dancing, drawing, reading etc and make them feel our presence with them. 

Tuesday, 7 February 2017



Japan is called Nihon and the Japanese language is called Nihongo (-go means language) in Japanese.

The Kanji characters of the word Nihon means "sun-origin" also widely known as "The Land of the Rising Sun". Nihon is a more neutral word even when there are words Nippon and Nippongo.

One could get to meet people on the streets or stepping our door for promoting the events or festival activities taking place in nearby areas through booklets or pamphlets containing details in all languages. We too did have a knock on our door, the Japanese person looking at us first showed the page in English, another person hastily turned to the page in Hindi, folding hands saying "Namaste" and pointed "India". That proud moment to cherish forever, knowing India and our language being spread in every small part of the world.

India and Japan do have lots of similarities and they co-relate in many ways. Let us have a look at the salient similarities between the two countries and know more about Japanese culture.


1. "SUWATTE KUDASAI" (Please Sit Down) 

Sitting on the Cushions or Mats on the floor is common in most of the Japanese Homes as it is in most Indian homes. The formal way of sitting in a kneeling style is known as "Seiza" which is more common among Japanese.

While a majority of restaurants in Japan provide Western style tables and chairs, low traditional tables where you sit on cushions on the floor are also common and referred to as "Zashiki". Many restaurants feature both, and you may be asked which you prefer. "Zabuton" is a Japanese cushion for sitting used both to sit on floor or on chairs. In Okonomiyaki (whatever you like grilled) and Monjayaki restaurants [Tokyo version of Okonomiyaki], customers cook their own on a grill built onto the table sitting on Zabuton.

2. "ANATA NO KUTSU O NUIDE KUDASAI" (Take off your shoes please)

Taking of one’s shoes before entering a Japanese home and most of the temples in Japan is a must, a similar custom followed in India.


Traditionally, the floors in most Japanese dwellings are covered with tatami mats, used to sit and sleep on instead of chairs and beds. Even if hard flooring is quite common in Japanese houses nowadays, the tradition of taking off one’s shoes remains. There are also designated bathroom slippers that must be used when going to the restroom, then removed when done.

In both India and Japan, taking off shoes before entering a home is both cultural depicting a mark of respect and religious as followed in many religions at the house of worship.

3. "KEK KON" (Marriage)

"Ren’ai" (Love Marriage) is based on mutual attraction between individuals in contrast to the traditional "Omiai" (Arranged marriage) in which a process that might give more weight to parental opinions than of the prospective bride and groom. Most weddings in Japan are held according to "Shinto" (Way of Gods) tradition, [the ancient Japanese tradition] or Christian style Chapel ceremonies.

In Japan, some vestiges of arranged marriages continue and many couples rely on matchmakers to find mates and background checks on a prospective spouse and his or her family also. In India, too most of the families still follow the traditional method of arranged marriages.

4. "KOKYO KOTSU KIKAN" (Public Transportation)

Japan is a country where people mostly depend on the public transports for commutation just like India, though cars and other private vehicles are used highly. Also, Japan follows "Drive Left" traffic rules like India.
We could see the usage of bicycles in large in Japan and they ride on the pedestrian pavements mostly. Most of the apartments in Japan hand over a bicycle key along with your home keys when moving in. One could see people walk more rather than taking up a vehicle too.


Once, My friend and I on the way to the market, so much involved in our small talks, hardly noticed a cyclist at the back of us pedaling in the pace of our walk. While we stopped for a minute to guess the street, we saw the person too stopping at the back and got down from his bicycle. Before we could react, the cyclist smilingly bowed at us and went forward pedaling again. Such a gentle gesture never to be forgotten!

5. "SHOKUJI" (Meals)

In Japan white rice is a staple component of virtually every meal just like India. Other typical ingredients include soy products and seafood that is served grilled or raw. Mostly, Vegetables and seafood are often prepared as "Tsukemono" (Pickles). Meals ideally contrast flavors and textures among different dishes and include many "Okazu" (Small dishes) rather than a main course. We could see in most of the restaurants the visual presentation of a meal which is considered to be most important. It is customary to eat rice to the last grain and is not uncommon to eat rice in every meal including breakfast. 

In Japan, it is an etiquette to say "Itadakimasu" (I humbly receive) before starting a meal and say "Go-Chiso-Sa a Deshita" (It was a feast) after the meal to the host. Families together have meals at home be it lunch or dinner, a belief from folks in both these countries.

6. "FESUTIBARU" (Festivals)

India and Japan go along with each other in celebrating numerous festivals. As there are various festivals celebrated in India, Traditional Japanese festivals called "Matsuri" are celebrated with no specific dates differing within the shrines of the provinces. Matsuri often feature processions with elaborate boats and are usually related to the rice harvest.


One of the most famous festivals in Japan is the , "Gion Matsuri" that takes place in July at Kyoto. Other important festivals include, "Yuki Matsuri" (Sapporo Snow Festival) in February at Hokkaido and "O Shogatsu" (Japanese New year) celebrated from Dec 31 to Jan 4th.
In India, some of the popular festivals are "Diwali" (Festival of Lights), "Christmas", "Id" and many traditional festivals. At Bengaluru in India, people celebrate "Japan Habba" (Habba in Kannada language is Festival) during Jan - Feb, to strengthen and deepen the relationship between the people of Japan and India.

7. "MEISHIN" (Superstitions) 

Like every country, Most people in Japan and India too have ample beliefs in superstitions. Yes, superstitions prevail pretty much in each and every country but varies a lot according to the country. Here, let us have a look at some of the common beliefs in both India and Japan :


"Ohyakudo Mairi" - The ceremony of visiting a "Jinja" (Shrine) / "Otera" (Temple) to make a wish. People do this tradition in Japan when they need a prayer to be answered which is most common in India.

"Yoru Ni Tsume Wo Kitte Wo Ikenai" Don’t cut your nails at night, which is a traditional practice in India as it marks respect to the religious belief of Deities visiting one’s home. In Japan people believed "Akuryou" (evil spirits) would approach at these hours. Though the belief is same in both the countries, the reason differs.

Unlucky Numbers in Japan are number 4 and 9 as 4 represents "Shi" similar to the word death and 9 represents "Ku" similar to the word pain and suffering. Thus, gifts are presented in sets of 3 or 5 rather than 4. In India many people consider different numbers to be unlucky but as per numerology all numbers are lucky for us to adapt.

"Kita Makura" Don’t sleep facing North is practically followed in India stating that the magnetic pull of the planet and the iron in our blood causes disturbed sleep and health issues, while in Japan it is believed to bring bad luck for the person sleeping.

8. “SHUKYO” (Religion)

Kami (Diety) according to Japanese, influence the course of natural forces and human events. Japanese follow Shinto, Buddhism and Christianity while in India, being a Secular country, now many religions are followed variably. But Japan and India co relate with each other in many religious practices and beliefs in dieties. Innumerable local dieties are worshipped in Japan just like in India.

According to H.E. Mr. Yasukuni Enoki, the former Ambassador of Japan, “More than 80% of the Japanese Gods are originated from Indian Gods. And the culture of these two countries bind together in common.” The practice to light incense sticks in temples and homes are common among the people in Japan like in India.

9. "BUDO" (Martial Arts)

Martial Arts, the collective term originated in Asia to bring in the fighting arts or the self defence practices. These martial arts enhancing their traditions are still followed in both the countries with divinity. The historical origin of Japanese Martial arts could be found in the warrior traditions of “Samurai” which in India we call them as “Kshatriyas”.

Some of the popular Japanese martial arts are categorized into 5 different self defence arts : Karate (Fight empty handed), Aikido (Keeping Harmony in the body by using the spirit of energy), Juijutsu (Gentle Art), Judo (Unarmed Combative sport) and Kendo (Fencing art with skill and discipline).

Some of the famous Indian Martial Arts are : Kalarippayattu (Practiced with strikes, kicks and weapon based), Silambam (Weapon based), Gatka (Practiced with Stick / Sword), Thang Ta (Practiced with Swords and spears), Musti Yuddha (Styles with kicks and strikes)

10. "SONKEI" (Respect)

India and Japan go hand in hand when it comes to Respect. Respect to elders is widely seen in India by touching their feet and in Japan by bowing low and most common way of respect in both the countries is by folding the palms near the chest. Even in family dinings, the elderly is first served. In India we find the respect offered by addressing the person with “Ji”, “Shri/Shrimati”, “Sir/Madam”, “Saahab/Saahiba”.


In Japan they deliver respect with words like “San” (added as a suffix with the person’s name), “Sama” (Mostly to the higher ranks), “Kun” (addressed to the emotionally attached closed ones), “Chan, Tan, Bo” (Cute pronunciation of San mostly used for babies), “Sensei” (For Teachers), “Senpai” (Respected colleagues) and much more.

11. "ONGAKU" (Music)

The term Ongaku in Japanese is derived from "On" (Sound) and "Gaku" (Enjoyment). Japanese and Indian music still flow with the traditions though western music prevails more. The two forms of traditional Japanese music are “Shomyo” or Buddhist chanting and “Gagaku” or Orchestral court music just like India having the Traditional “Carnatic” and “Hindustani” music.

Some of the traditional Japanese Instruments are “Taiko” (Japanese drums), “Biwa” (Short necked lute), “Shakuhachi” (Bamboo flute), “Suikinkutsu” (Water Zither) and much more. Indian instruments include, Tabla, Veena, Mandolin, Shehnai, Sitar and many more.

12. “HOSHU-TEKINA BUNKA” (Conservative Culture)


Japanese people still dwell with their traditional practices enriching conservation from their roots. Most women in Japan still inhibit "Get married ; quit job" though being a developed country. As in India too, most women feel to take up family as their first priority before their career after their wedding bliss just because of the change in location or for their babies or taking a break from their hectic schedules. Japanese still take their conservative culture of couples not showing public display of affection like most of Indians.



“Work is Worship” in India and in Japan it is considered higher than this. Some Japanese companies have a morning session for the workers and help them prepare for the day’s work. Loyalty to one’s company is paramount in the Japanese culture. Japanese people are so dedicated and work aholic when comes to job, just like Indians.

14. “WAFUKU” (Japanese Clothing) 


Though modernization and western culture have breezed inside, one could still see the people in both the countries follow the traditions in their attires too. We could see on the streets of Japan, most women or men wearing the traditional Yukata / Kimono and women holding umbrellas too. In India, one could see most women wearing the traditional saree and men with Kurta and Dhoti/Pajamas.

Let me share a real life incident we faced when in Japan, peek into Konichiwa-Bejitarians - Aish

Culture and Traditions flow from the roots of our ancestors enhancing the essence of the country’s growth and dynasty. Many do find differences in abundance, but encompassing the similarities between the countries help in strengthening and facilitating the minds and thoughts of people which build the everlasting platform of stability, growth, compassion, strong relationship and peace in the countries. 

Friday, 3 February 2017

Things That Only Parents of Boys Will Understand- Pri

Though parenting is not the same for everyone, we definitely share few common child-behaviors and experiences that seem to be universal. Most parents, would surely agree that raising boys and girls are two entirely different aspects; for there are differences in interests, ideas and Psychology. However, there are some things that only parents of boys would be able to relate to, or understand. 

Being a parent of two boys, I am sharing experiences and incidents that I think are very typical in families with boys. Raising boys is like going on a Ferris Wheel one minute, and laying under the tranquil starry sky the other minute. This is a shout-out to all the parents having impish young men at home! 

  • We are rough, tough and messy.

Having boys at home is like having Superheroes, Wrestlers, Rescuers, Warriors, and Aliens; all at one place. You never know what they are, that minute, and what they expect you to be, the next minute. There are lots of rolling, jumping, leaping, skipping and hopping that goes on…Therefore, we have Band-Aids/ Antiseptic handy all the time which they wear like a badge of honor with pride. They love doing experiments every day as they learn or discover new things, on the flip-side there is a big mess that awaits major cleaning!

Once I had bought a new bathroom rug, my elder son (6-year-old then) asked me why I had purchased the new one. I explained to him that I wanted an alternate rug, and that it is better absorbing than the existing one. A few hours later when I went to the restroom, I found the new rug, drippy-wet! I asked my son about the wet-rug as he was the one who used the bathroom a few minutes ago, the answer left me awe-struck! He had poured a mug of water on the rug to test if my statement was right! Yes, that’s how humorously invigorating it is, with boys!
  • We are always moving, noisy and chaotic.

They are masters of sound-effects and the talent only grows stronger day-by-day, you have no other option but to learn to live with the noise. And trust me, you’ll get used to the constant unpredictable chaos around the house. Your little energy-hubs are contagious; no matter how tired you are, you can’t escape doing the silly dance with the silly-experts, or talking with their pet dinosaurs like they are real.

Oh! And beware what goes in the washing machine! You need to double check their pockets before doing laundry; you might end-up, finding rocks, bugs or sticks. I once found a laptop key in my drier-- turns-out that my little one had done the honors!

  • Our world revolves around Mommy.

Though Daddy is the first (most important) role-model; the superhero, their days undoubtedly revolve around Mommy whether they admit it or not! While they pretend or project to be very strong/ tough, they actually are very tender and loving on the inside. They are silly and humorous; you learn to put-up with their ridiculous potty-jokes. You find hidden clothes in different rooms or unexpected spots that you discover days/ months later! By the time, you find them your child might have outgrown the clothing-size. 

  • We are the best Cuddlers.  

Having boys in the house exhausts you to the point that you would want to bang your head one day, and you feel the opposite the other day. The ever-changing emotional trauma magically dissolves the minute they hug and cuddle. They are actually very caring, helpful and re-assuring, contradicting their external toughness. My little-one has this knack of diffusing my serious-mood, just by making a funny face or by sitting on my lap with a wide smile. He does this thing every time and demands that I smile, even if he knows that I am not upset with him. I guess he needs the assurance that everything is okay. This is their way of signaling that you are doing the right thing!

Parenting is not a course or it does not have a preset structure. One does not become a parent as soon as a baby is born; but Parenting is a trial-and-error life-time experience, that you learn as you and your children grow. The ever-prevailing uncertainty and thrill are the features that keep your enthusiasm up during the parenting-journey. You never can master Parenting! So, just roll-up your sleeves and take deep-breaths; believe in your parenting-style!

“Parenting is an impossible job at any age." - Harrison Ford