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When one man’s passion leads to a cultural bonanza

An article on the Kumaon Literary Festival scheduled for October 2015 in Mukteshwar and Nainital in yesterday’s TOI.

Take a bow Sumant Batra.

ALMORA: Come October, the hills of Kumaon will serve as the backdrop to a gathering of famous personalities in literature, politics, media and cinema who will congregate at a sleepy village in Dhanachauli, near Mukteshwar, for the five-day Kumaon Literary Festival (KLF).

KLF, whose organizers claim it is the country’s first annual ‘retreat literature fest’, will be held from October 23 to 27 at Te Aroha resort and will see participation from over 80 speakers including Amish Tripathi, Satyarth Nayak, Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sanjay Gupta and Santosh Desai.

The festival is the brainchild of writer and senior corporate lawyer Sumant Batra and has eminent Supreme Court lawyer Saif Mahmood, authors Geetanjali Shree, Sudeep Sen and Kiran Manral, and Priya Kapoor of Roli Books on its planning board.

Besides, about 30 students from schools in remote villages will be selected to participate in the event through a competition to be held in June. Workshops will be held over four months to hone their skills in Hindi and English with special emphasis in writing prowess.

Young editors of different Delhi-based college magazines will also be hand-picked for participation by the board.

The first four days of the fest will be open to registered participants who can sign up for the event from July onwards.

“KLF will focus on the quality of attendees, rather than the quantity. For the first four days, 200 attendees will be invited per day of which 100 will be local residents, including school and college students,” said Batra.

On the concluding day, the festival will travel to Nainital and throw its doors open to all. Every single session conducted in course of the five days will be available for enthusiasts on the internet.

KLF will be the first ‘retreat’ lit fest in the country, making it a truly unique experience, claim organizers. “The fest will not be confined to ballrooms or hotel premises. Speakers and participants will stay at a beautiful hamlet for three to five days interacting in the midst of nature, going for walks, participating in poetry-reading sessions under the open skies,” Batra added.

The festival is expected to provide a boost to employment and tourism opportunities in the area where more than a dozen summerhouses will cater to visitors and in turn, provide a boost to villagers’ economic conditions.

Read the original here

A Parent Quotient post from a couple of weeks ago-When your tween finally gets online

By a strange fluke of fate, a tab entered the home a couple of years after I had declared the home a no gadget zone and disposed of the iPad. The offspring took to it like the proverbial duck to water, squawking excitedly to add verisimilitude to the scene.  He was two years older now from the time he had been introduced and then surgically separated from the iPad. Surely that would also mean a trifle more responsible about his time, and there were always benefits to technology, I thought. He could download apps which would help him with studying, watch videos on competitive swimming that he trains for and not to mention videos on topics relevant to the syllabus he needed to study. He, obviously, had other plans. Before I could blink, he had downloaded WhatsApp and Instagram and was hard at work informing the world at large about his arrival into cyberspace. While I rushed to put privacy controls in place and learning his password by heart for supervising purposes, I wondered how, as a parent I could introduce him to the joys of online social networking but simultaneously ensure that he stays clear of the very real and tangible dangers of social networking.

Here are ten tips that could help you keep your kids safe online.

Read the rest of the post here

My Parent Quotient post for last week: Making sure your child eats right

One of the mainstays of making sure that your child is strong and healthy is by ensuring he or she gets a proper diet. Given these are growing years, everything that a child eats is important in terms of energy for activities and to aid muscle and bone growth. How does one make sure, as a parent, that the child gets a right balance of healthy eating that provides him or her enough energy and nutrition to fuel activity, studying and growth, as well as provide the child with enjoyable, healthy food that curbs the very real and present danger of childhood obesity that seems to be an epidemic these days? Here are some things you need to keep in mind.

Read the rest of the post here

My Parent Quotient Post for the week: Sorting out your tweens wardrobe

The offspring has a wardrobe that is bursting at the seams. Most of the clothes, like the wardrobes of most adults, are either outgrown or so old that he’s done wearing them and has no desire to wear them, or clothes he simply doesn’t like and ergo will not wear come hell, high water or a high pitched maternal command. This results in a situation where he has been recycling the same three to four t-shirts and shorts on a loop. It was time for firm action, and this meant gritting them teeth and getting down to reorganising his wardrobe. Easier said than done. This is task one normally does every couple of months, given seasons change, and full sleeves shirts and t-shirts need to go into hibernation when summer comes upon us and the quick dry t-shirts and shorts emerge from the back of beyond during the monsoon, only to the uncomfortable realisation that between this monsoon and the previous one, he has outgrown them so much so as to render them unwearable.

Here then, are some tips to get your tween’s wardrobe into ship shape.

Read the rest of the post here.

There is no substitute for practice.

As a parent, your journey is never that of yours alone. It is always thinking twice, as a wiser person than me once said, once for your own self and again for your child (or children as the case might be). I was recently approached by HP to do a short video with them on the principles I live by and what I try to pass on to my son.

It was something that resonated instantly, because, as a parent all one does is try to pass on what one has tried and tested as a never fail formula. It is a formula that I have arrived at after much trial and error and realised, contrary to my natural tendency towards sloth, that nothing comes easy. My motto has always been try and try again, practice, revise, do it over and over and over. There are no short cuts to  anything. He knows this through his swimming, he puts in hours and hours of intense practice every single day, he needs to learn this in his school work. This is something I try to teach the offspring and this is what I speak about in the short HP video.

Take a look.

My Parle G Post from last week: Sleeping on time

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Sleeping on Time!

Posted by Kiran Manral

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As your child grows and is challenged with the demands of increasing studies, extracurricular activities and socialising with his or her peers, you will find that the one thing that does get sacrificed at the altar of trying to fit it all in a single day, is sleep.

Children are staying awake later than they should be, and struggling to wake up in the mornings because they haven’t had their 9.25 mandated hours of sleep that is essential for their rest and growth.  Lack of adequate sleep can be detrimental in many ways, the obvious ones being inability to focus and concentrate at school the next day and by hindering repair and growth of the body. Sleep boosts the immune system, aids recovery and improves energy levels. Moreover, lack of sleep can lead to headaches, grumpiness, which in turn can lead to a negative fallout on social behaviour, moods and concentration.

But this new trend of falling asleep later at night and getting up late in the morning can be blamed completely on the change in the pre-adolescent brain which begins to secrete melatonin much later at night than they did when they were younger. Nonetheless, you can as a parent, try some winding down techniques to help your child to fall asleep earlier, so that he or she gets his or her complete quota of sleep? Here are some tips.

Read the rest of the post here.

My Parle G Post this week: When your tween gets online

20

When your tween finally gets online!

Posted by Kiran Manral

shutterstock_233031544__1430307390_115.110.88.165

By a strange fluke of fate, a tab entered the home a couple of years after I had declared the home a no gadget zone and disposed of the iPad. The offspring took to it like the proverbial duck to water, squawking excitedly to add verisimilitude to the scene.  He was two years older now from the time he had been introduced and then surgically separated from the iPad. Surely that would also mean a trifle more responsible about his time, and there were always benefits to technology, I thought. He could download apps which would help him with studying, watch videos on competitive swimming that he trains for and not to mention videos on topics relevant to the syllabus he needed to study. He, obviously, had other plans. Before I could blink, he had downloaded WhatsApp and Instagram and was hard at work informing the world at large about his arrival into cyberspace. While I rushed to put privacy controls in place and learning his password by heart for supervising purposes, I wondered how, as a parent I could introduce him to the joys of online social networking but simultaneously ensure that he stays clear of the very real and tangible dangers of social networking.

Read the rest of the post here.

Letter to my mom for Indusparenting.com

Letter from Kiran Manral to her mother

Dear Mom,
I have a confession to make. I’ve turned into you. The realisation dawned upon me, as most realisations do, not in a calm, let’s get this thing done with manner, but the rather unpleasant manner that sledgehammers have when they connect with cranium. Bang. And followed by splintering realisation.

It happened the other evening when the offspring, or the apple of your rather jaundiced grandmotherly eye, was raising the usual dead in his efforts to amuse himself around the house, leading to clear and present danger for the unwary occupants of the premises. “YOU STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!” I thundered, with all caps and exclamation mark of course, and added, “Or else,” for good measure, leaving it at that.  Then it struck me, like a sudden squeezing of my intestines with a cold clammy hand. Your voice had become my voice. But my offspring, unlike the me of yore, has no fear of the implicit threat in the “Or else…” and looked back with barely a flicker of fear. “Or else…wot?” he asked.

Read the rest here