Why Enrichment Classes at an early age may not help?

My daughter is in K1 and very soon she will be in the primary school. I see that my friends and other parents around me are worried about the school, their child’s education, and the enrichment classes. There is some sort of rush in putting the kids to various classes like swimming, dancing, painting etc. and not only that, extra classes for maths, English, writing and what not.

Last few years, there has been a surge in students enrolling for enrichment classes as per ST poll. There could be few possible reasons for that:

1)    Parents are generally working and they don’t have enough time to spend with their kids. Even if they have little time, they would want to have some fun rather than grilling them over studies.

2)    Overall environment has become very competitive. Whether it’s getting into good schools, to getting into good colleges and then landing in well-paying jobs. Things are not easy and parents would want to make their kids understand that at an early age.

3)    Teachers in school are rushing to complete the course in class. During our time, teachers were ready to work a little extra on weak students so that they can match up with other students. Now teachers rely on the extra classes to help students catch up on the course.

4)    Availability of resources. In the past, parents and students didn’t have many choices and opportunities. Things have changed. There are enrichment centers at every nook and corner. The perception is, the more expensive it is, the better it is in quality. People view them essential as part of their kid’s learning and development. They work even harder to enroll their kids in these courses. And that means spending lesser time with the kids.

There are two distinct schools of thoughts around kids starting these enrichment programs at an early age –

One set of parents and this is a majority lot, are crazy after sending their kids to various enrichment programs. For them, the early the kids get into the grind, the better it is. The kids will have an edge over their peers as their progress could be faster through assisted learning. They are exposed to a lot of new techniques which other students may not have access to. (Though as per Today’s newspaper article, very few parents see any improvement through these classes but that is a separate debate). The kids stay busy while parents are in office. They are not looking for parents attention. For some parents, spending time at enrichment classes is better than spending time with the helper at home. And by any means, that is always a better option. Some parents have lots of money to throw behind their child’s education. So, sending kids to more expensive enrichment classes has become a status symbol. Most importantly, parents come with a mindset that they didn’t have the resources which they can give to their kids. Many parents never got a chance to learn swimming or tennis but now they can afford for their kids.

And then there is another set of parents (and that includes me) who still believe in old school thinking. I would rather spend more time with the kids myself than sending her to any enrichment program. For a 4-year-old girl, what is it that the enrichment center can teach that we cannot! When it comes to studies, extracurricular activities like painting, dancing, cooking etc. the toddlers can get first-hand training at home. And once he/she identifies her/his keen interest then she/he should be sent to more advanced learning. Until the age of 5, if kids should learn how to organize and arrange their toys and room. Help their moms in the kitchen, fold their clothes etc. That is a huge learning in itself. Parents don’t understand that inculcating these values from the start is important because that stays with them for life. In the culture of maids/helpers, children are so used to getting their work done by someone else.

Few toddlers are seen in the park these days because they have to go to classes in evening. Many studies have found that kids should play in the park every day for at least one hour. More and more kids are getting glasses at an early age because they are exposed to screens a lot or involved in indoor activities.

When kids start extra classes, they should be exposed to one class at a time. Let the child spend enough time to think and feel whether his/her mind and heart is into that game. It is totally understandable that parents would be keen to know their kids’ interests as early as possible. But that cannot be done by teaching kids -swimming, tennis, painting, dances, all at the same time. That may end up confusing the kids, leading him/her to not being interested in of these. 
Parents shouldn’t intervene too much in growth and development of their kids. Assisted development has never helped any normal child.

And at this point, I am reminded of the butterfly story which grows from egg to larva and then into the butterfly. Once scientist studying the hatching of egg noticed that the larva was struggling to come out of the half hatched eggs. He tried to move the egg shell so that the larva could come out easily. Few hours later he noticed that the larva died. The scientist couldn’t understand the reason of his death as he has created a perfect environment for the larva to grow into the butterfly. The main reason for larva’s death was because the scientist helped him come out of the shell. The larva was  not strong yet and  not ready to come out of the shell. And once he was exposed to the outside world that early, he couldn’t survive. The learning from this story is that nature has its own pace of growth and development. And one shouldn’t meddle much in that process.

Even though I follow the second school of thought, I cannot say which one is right or wrong. As parents, we are the best people to understand our children’s needs and work towards it. One shouldn’t be impacted by what others say and do. One thing is for sure- children learn best when they are with their parents. Because only their parents can provide the perfect blend of protection and freedom which is best for kids to thrive.

I am sure you may agree or disagree with above. Please feel free to express your views by dropping in the comment below.


Jolly LLB 2 review

In case you haven’t seen it yet and you don’t have any exciting thing to do this weekend. Then yes this movie could be a good option. Not because the movie is as good as the first one, but because the film is edited well. One doesn’t get bored very often in the movie. The plot of the story is not new. It’s the same old fake encounter terrorist story and that is why this film is little weak and predictable. Unlike the first one which was different from the league of films that time. Arshad was a perfect cast for the role as he doesn’t have any strong image. Compared to that Akshay Kumar is an established star. His acting in key emotional scenes didn’t create the same magic.

Huma Qureshi was wasted in the movie. She has enormous talent and that shows. She did complete justice to her part. Anu Kapoor was a seen in the movie after a long time. As usual he did a good job. The public do hate him during the trials because he is a selfish and greedy man. And that shows that he was great in his role.

Sayani Gupta had short but impactful scenes. I didn’t see Fan so this was the first time I was watching her on screen.  And for a new actress, this was a remarkable achievement. Without makeup, she was unrecognizable and was completely in Hina’s character. She garnered a lot of public love and sympathy through her part. She left her distinct mark in the movie.

The highlight of the movie is courtroom scenes. Saurabh Shukla aka Gopi was, as usual, brilliant and tickled some funny bones. His unexpected reactions to the situations, body language, and dialogue delivery made the scenes more entertaining. His dialogue in last few scenes was powerful. The entire junta in cinema hall was quite and glued to their seats until the end.

The setup was that of UP but you won’t get the same feel as UP during the movie. Other than the repetitive dialogue of calling Lucknow and Kanpur few times, one could notice that not much work had been done on the detailing. Akshay Kumar was not sounding like a UP lawyer. Not sure why there was need for UP set up.

In short, positives of the movie were Sayani Gupta and Saurabh Shukla’s acting, some heavy punches in courtroom scenes and the editing. Negatives were a same old plot, very predictable, dialogues sounded repetitive, the movie is slow at times, Akshay Kumar’s acting was Thanda.

This Jolly LLB 2 definitely reminds you the earlier one but not as good as that one!  

Are your kids bored?

This is a topic that we all need to ponder upon. In this hyper-connected world where youngsters are spending a lot of time on social media and the Internet, it is very difficult to get bored. In fact there are so many things happening around us that it is very hard to catch up . I am a working mum and beyond work, there are so many other things that I need to keep a watch on – house and kids related stuff. Other than mummy’s stuff, keeping a track of my own interests and activities. It’s a lot. The mind is on a constant hunt for next activity. And this is a state of mind of an adult. One can’t imagine what toddlers are going through these days.  With so many characters on TV, consumerisms around those characters and events and activities organised to entertain them. The most prevalent example is Frozen. I hate the character as much as my daughter loves it. And I haven’t found a kid yet in the locality that doesn’t know about frozen.

My 4-year-old always complains about getting bored. She doesn’t know what she should be doing next when she is done with watching TV, playing with toys, eating food etc. And that surprises me. As a child, I don’t remember if we ever complained to our parents that we are getting bored and need some entertainment. Our childhood was filled with outdoor games/activities. It was more of self-learning and absorbing. Many times, elders never used to be around us. Today I have two helpers to take care of my kids. I do understand that my kids get hyper attention and this is an abruption in their natural process of growth. But we are working parents. The guilt of not being able to spend enough time, make us believe that they need more attention. The kids should be busy enough and not look for parents. We sometimes forget that no matter how many people are around them, they would still yearn for parents’ attention.

Recently I read an article – Let Your Kids Get Bored! And that article gave a new perspective. It’s alright to let your kids get bored. Because if there is excitement all the time, there are chances that kids will find it hard to focus on one activity. Moreover, they will never be interested in mundane activities like reading, writing, colouring, eating food etc. These activities would not be exciting enough for them. For my first child, I switched onTV while feeding her. While TV was on, it took us 15 mins to feed her. It was quick and convenient for us. The baby’s tummy is full and the mother is satisfied. Even after eating the food, she will continue to watch TV for another 15mins. Though it was easy initially, the problem is that she turned 4, and still expects that TV should be on while she is eating. Moreover, someone should feed her because she is busy watching TV. She doesn’t enjoy the process of enjoying the food while eating. We killed that experience for her.

When the screen is introduced to babies, the moving colourful pictures is fascinating to them. The touch screen is exciting because, with her touch, something changes on the screen and video changes. Nothing can be more exciting than a touch screen. But this messes up with their emotional and mental growth. There is a symptom that I notice in my 18-month-old baby when Ipad/Phone is denied. She is extremely fussy and makes a lot of noise. She throws her hands and feet in the air. The doctors are calling similar behaviour as Ipad mania/Tablet mania. This is a new behaviour that has been noticed in babies and there is no cure for that. Just avoid giving them tablets/phones.

More than kids, it’s parents’ who are getting bored. They find excuses to go out and engage kids in some activity. But trust me, kids don’t get bored. They will always find something to keep themselves engaged. You don’t have to worry about their free time. They should be engaged once a while in extra classes like learning a new sports, a new language or any skill like singing or dancing.

The only message that I am trying to convey through this article is that don’t worry about your kids being bored. Don’t plan activities all the time, don’t plan expensive holidays at an early stage, don’t buy toys on every visit to a mall/shopping centre etc.. You may end up creating an unwanted need for the child by pampering with things they may not necessarily need.     

How to develop a ‘Power Profile’?

This Friday my company had organised an event called  “Fearless Friday” where the objective was to encourage youngsters to participate in new challenges and be fearless about it. Part of the event was prize distribution for LinkedIn competition that was ongoing for six weeks. For me, it was even more exciting because I got prize of 200 dollar voucher from LinkedIn for having highest SSI (Social Selling Index). It was truly amazing to get rewarded for all the LinkedIn posts contribution and engagement on the platform. LinkedIn’s competition “IN IT TO WIN IT” was a long process and had about three categories. They had invited the participants to their office, did a training on how to build a power profile and how to use LinkedIn as a platform for Brand building. Given that LinkedIn is moving towards content generator and distributor, this competition was also to get people into the habit of writing and sharing content on LinkedIn platform.

 Some of the key points from their training was :

  1.  One must have a LinkedIn Profile picture. That helps in various searches and it gives a face value to the recruiter
  2.  The heading, just below the name should be more a concise work history. In case you have an opportunity to tell your entire work history in few words then how would you do it. It should show your work experience and also your interest in a particular industry.
  3. Your education and other details should be complete. Not only complete but one must highlight their achievements and wins. That gives credibility to the profile.
  4. Good recommendations from clients and colleagues always help in building your profile. So, ask for recommendations and post on your profile.
  5. Add examples of projects done by you in the past. That really helps in understanding your level of expertise.It also shows confidence of showcasing your work upfront.
  6. Last but not the least, continue to build connections. Right connections will definitely boost your future prospects.

 I have been active on LinkedIn from last 6-7 years. Have used platform not only to engage in constructive and informative conversations but also used the platform for career growth.  Connections doesn’t help to get through the interview process but it may help you in initiating the conversation. I am a big fan of the platform for the number of reasons and everyone could/should use professional networks.


Many women don’t realise the importance of personal brand building. They may create a profile, build connections and may share few updates. But that’s not about it. It is also important to engage with the content that is being shared. Comment on them to let people know your point of view. Not everyone is a writer, but sharing your knowledge or thought process in few lines will only help people understand your professional knowledge little better.

 After spending ten years in the industry, I realised, recruiting people is the most difficult function in any organisation. Sorting right skills from tonnes of CV is a big task. Even after all that finding the right candidate continues to be challenging. People look for recommendations from past employers, or would want to see some of the work done in the past and how active are you socially. LinkedIn is the only professional network that help you get your industry updates, engage with people in your industry and follow companies from the industry. Men have been active and using the platform to the core. It is high time that women realise the importance of Personal Branding.

 And lastly, everyone loves the recognition. So, it was not the value of the prize but the fact that it was given in front of the entire company made me feel awesome. Self Promotion is important in this cluttered world.

In case you are wondering how my LinkedIn profile looks like, here you – Rashmi anand

Changing definition of “Success”!

I have to apologize from readers for staying away for so long. There was a lot going on in my personal life. Kids falling sick, hunting for a new house, getting school admission sorted and what not. Anyways starting December, things are looking more settled. I will be going on leave from 15th December and that should give me more opportunity to update this blog more often. The upcoming topics will cover some of the topics requested by you all. And thanks for writing into me because your feedback helps and improves my thought process and writing.

The topic that I chose today has been lingering in my thoughts for a while. It triggered when there was a news in the market about layoffs in banks and tech companies. Few of our known ones were affected and lost their jobs.That led me thinking, people who were doing great in their jobs, lost job today, so were they successful or not?

While growing up we were expected to get a high paying job after education. The bigger your package, the more successful you were. And keep growing corporate ladder and become director/senior director/head of department etc and that’s it, you are labeled as successful…But unlike the past, nowadays moving up the success ladder is a lot faster and one can achieve “success” at an early age due to changing business environment. Companies expand faster during good times.With poor economy, shrink at the same rate. That means people lose jobs with every restructure companies go through. And it is no body’s fault because, in the capitalist economy, the only objective is survival. So, though we have more CEOs, Heads, Senior directors etc. which means a lot more people can be successful through new mushrooming opportunities. But at the same time, news of layingoff make people nervous. And in case you get laid off, which can happen with no fault of yours, it raises a doubt on your capability and attitude. Parents, family, and friends don’t understand that layoffs are part of life now and it can happen to anyone. And this mindset has to change. Instead of fear of losing a job, the attitude should be to work harder and play harder.

 With this, the point I am trying to make is that gone are days when your success was defined by the title in the company and the package you were drawing. Today the success is about whether you have a job  and can you pay your dues and most importantly are you happy? Happiness necessarily doesn’t come from money or position in the company.

One should definitely be ambitious and keep an eye on their goal but associating your self esteem with your work place, designation in company and salary drawn is a bad idea. Because these things doesn’t define a human being.

It’s high time, we stop running after high paying jobs, and high-profile lifestyle. Because all of that could be temporary. The most important are to have a stable and consistent lifestyle which you can maintain whether you have a job or not.

The ultimate success benchmark should be happiness and living a fulfilling life. Everyone defines their own success ladder, so don’t follow anyone and don’t imitate anyone. You should strive to be best of yourself.

Why are women not money manager?

This is the topic that I want you all to think on a serious note. This weekend I met with a friend who works as a counselor during her spare time. She is into IT and this is her way of giving back to society. She was giving me examples of women who are undergoing through depression, anxiety or some sort of mental/emotional imbalance. Her organization, counsel and help these women to come out of the extreme situation. There was one common problem in all the examples and it was money management.

Some of the women are working mothers and some still don’t have a child yet. Though they are working and ambitious in their careers like men, they have the least control over the money they are earning. The money that they earn is being managed by their husbands, brother, or father. They are dependent on them for smart investment decisions. And that got me thinking.

I may not be one of those women but even I depend on my husband a lot when it comes to money management.  I consider his opinion more valuable than mine. And I don’t understand why? And I can assure you that I am not alone who have a similar personal finance arrangement. There are many working women out there who may be contributing to their household income but they have no idea on how can they save and invest smartly. In fact, women don’t even think of making more money from existing wealth or for that matter making more money. Probably that is the reason we are happy with whatever salary that is being offered and doesn’t demand more. Also, the reason why there is a huge disparity in men and women’s salary across the industry.

I always wanted to buy my own property. Buying my own property means I research myself, understand the whole procedure of buying the property, locate the property and decide to buy at the right price. This is a big decision and it is good to consult with other family members. But from end to end, I would like to lead the entire conversation.

From the very start, when it comes to investment, the only option that women could think of is buying gold. But that is not a bad option. But these days, there are different smarter ways of buying gold. Do they know or have they explored? And why can’t we start exploring other investment options? No matter how time crunch you are, if you want to learn, you will.

 My excuse has been that my work life and family life keeps me so busy that I don’t want to think about financial management. But it’s the same for my husband too. Unfortunately, this thinking is badly engraved in our society that women can’t invest for profitability. It is a lot easier for my husband to keep a track of the investment trends through discussions with colleagues and friends but I don’t have any women friends who are keen on talking about financial management. Or for that matter male colleagues who are keen to discuss personal finance with a woman. Even the brightest and smartest would like to stay away from such conversations. And that is the main problem.

If women don’t start thinking of taking back the charge of their own money. The world will continue to perceive that women are not interested in financial planning. And if we don’t start asking the right questions now, we will never be truly financial independent. Financial independent doesn’t come from just working to earn money, it also comes from taking charge of your own money.

My take on “Dangal”!

I am little nervous to talk about Dangal this time because I read amazing reviews before going to the movie. The movie is indeed good but it didn’t match my expectations somewhere. Aamir’s Haryanvi accent, body language, get up etc. made us forget who he is for a while. In fact during the movie, there is not a single time I was reminded of Aamir. On the 70mm screen, I was just seeing Mahavir Singh Phogat.

The movie was fast paced and gripping from the start but many times, it felt repetitive and in loops. Getting girls to wrestle in a society where they aren’t even allowed to wear pants or play any sports, was a brave step. The first half is all about Mr. Phogat training the girls to wrestle. The detailing of the movie is such that one could actually feel the pain and rigor that goes into preparing for national level competition. The girls are witty and punches at times bring a smile in between. When it comes to detailing, this movie successfully teaches the game of wrestling. How the game is played, how points are scored and strategies to play the game.

We debate a lot about parenting across the world. But we have a different style of parenting in India where parents decide a career, life in early years and most of the times, it turns out to be more fruitful for the child. In India, not every child has the privilege to decide a life for themselves and parents have limited means to support their dreams. So, parents decide their life and career based on their own experiences. That’s how parents are securing their child’s future. The basic principle is same. Parents want best for their child.

Geeta and Babita hated their father for being tough but it took few words from a friend (who was getting married at their age) made them realize what their father is trying to achieve. Mahavir nailed the emotions of a coach and a father. The scene where he comes to girls’ room and started pressing their leg (because he made them work so hard) brought tears to many eyes. It was emotional indeed. That’s another strong pull to the movie – the strong relationship between father and daughter in a patriarchal society. This movie is a dedication to all fathers who believed in their daughters and gave her every opportunity to grow and flourish by going against the usual norms of the society. There are many fathers like that in India and that is how our girls are doing well in every sphere. The fact that the movie is much talked about and people are going to see, show that they are associating with the movie. And that clearly is a sign of changing mindset.

Sakshi Talwar was undoubtedly convincing in her role. Her acting skills were already proven in TV series but she nailed it as Mahavir’s wife. Though I feel her character could have been stronger. But she did complete justice to her part and left a mark in the movie.

In the second half when Geeta grows up and leaves for the national academy, her performance slips away due to lack of focus and discipline. For the first time, she saw a bigger world and had many temptations that she couldn’t succumb to.  She starts losing matches because she forgets her roots and success gets into her head. Again this plot is nothing new and was quite expected. But acting skills put a nice patch to this repetitive plot.  It’s the same story in a new package. And that’s why I felt that the story was weak.

While Geeta was playing her final matches, the dialogues from Mahavir reminded me of the movie “Chak De, India”. “Chak De” came 10 years ago. When “ChakDe” came, no one was talking about women sports and it was a cult movie. The movie was much talked about and it felt like it would change the women sports in the country. Nothing grand changed but at least it made people aware of the possibilities and the sporting culture in the country. It did spark the conversations. Dangal has a different charm but the message is same. Dangal will surely spark conversations around women sports, opportunities about girl child in society and sports other than cricket. Though I felt that the change is already happening. That’s why sometimes, Bollywood movie can be regressive.

No matter how regressive is the plot. These movies give us reasons to celebrate the birth of a girl child.

This review was originally published on Pravasi  – http://www.pravasiexpress.com/movie-review-dangal/