Category Archives: Books

A Competition Called Life



“Seize every minute of this day”

“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going”

There is no dearth for motivation on social media. Reminder in 50s and 100s every morning is a good thing so that we put on our running shoes and throw ourselves into the breathless crowd that is racing against time to achieve set goals and targets.

On a weekend morning, we decided to seize the day treating ourselves to an early lunch followed by a visit to the shopping mall.

After clicking pictures with a robot that walked, talked, sang songs and did all that was expected of it, we took a cue from Sid and made our way to a bookstore to get our dose of food for the brain (while we seize the rest of the day).

Little Princess settles in the seating area with an improvised Peppa Pig storybook that appeared to be bigger than her and did a snort with every page turn.

Sid already had his nose in a fact finder.

It was then that we bumped into a friend who was leaving the store balancing a bag full of books. After the pleasantries, I enquired about his wife and son.

“They are at home preparing for his Olympiads” he said, “I am here to pick up some additional reference material for the KenDoku competition that is soon to follow.”

“Some books on logical thinking and the public speaking course that he takes,” he explained, “we let him play chess during his free time so a book to perfect the game too,” he finished.

I was reminded of the robot that we clicked pictures with as it had gone about perfecting all that was expected of it as the proud father gave us an account of the rigorous effort that went into preparing their son to keep pace with the pell-mell rush to stand out in the rising competition.

I looked at the husband hopelessly.

Sid spent his evening reading books, playing with friends, attempting hard to get a tennis ball across a net with a racquet – none of which qualified as academically enlightening.

Even his weekly swimming classes were not geared on getting him to swim the English Channel but to be able to save his life or another if a situation may arise.

Disappointed at being unable to exercise our bragging rights in this area of parenting, we bid him adieu after managing to lend our ear with a smiles and nods.

On our way back, I find myself questioning my ‘unambitious’ parenting ways.

Little Princess has learnt to snort.

Sid rants on about his new find – ‘Monday with the Mad Genius’ – a fact finder about Leonardo da Vinci. The ‘Salvator Mundi’ that was sold for $450.3 million has piqued his interest.

Questions and doubts that build up into a full-fledged quiz about his newly acquired knowledge ensues, leaving me fumbling and scrabbling at Google’s doorstep.

My son may be far from the mad rush of competition where children are dragged from pillar to post perfecting every task among the endless ones on offer, but I am glad that I find myself in this blissful scrabbling mess as Sid embraces childhood at his own pace – one fact finder at a time.




For the love of Reading





Books are windows into a vast world

My seven-year-old came home from school the other day with a report card, and he told me that he had been awarded prizes for the year. I eagerly opened the envelope, my chest heaving with pride, to check the number of subjects that my son had excelled in. I was puzzled when I saw the word ‘reading’ beside his name. Upon further enquiry, I understood that he, indeed, had won a prize for reading.

It is not unknown to me that my son takes pride in his little library, with its collection of encyclopedias and story books. He makes it a point to take some of them to school, to share a few interesting topics with his friends in class, but the idea of applauding and encouraging him by rewarding his efforts and those of many others who have won, too, is a great initiative by schools. Teachers and schools have indeed taken up the UAE authorities’ Year of Reading campaign a step further, by keeping aside time for its students to read out topics of general interest to the class, write reviews of books they pick up from the library and write short stories that are published and displayed on common boards. All of this is done, apart from the usual academic portions that are required to be covered for the year. Books are windows into the vast world outside the confines of the little, closed community we live in. They give insight, knowledge and wisdom to the reader. Encouraging children to read is encouraging and educating tomorrow’s citizens and the many generations to come.

Kudos to UAE’s declaration of 2016 as the Year of Reading .

Happy Reading!!!!