Fighting the Monster of Procrastination

Like all deadlines, project deadlines are always the victim of the Monster of Procrastination. It grabs a project deadline, locks it up into a cupboard and puts it away from one’s mind until the very last minute. And I mean that literally, the night before submission. You could bet your last rupee that when the offspring saunters up to me on a Sunday night, a day of hedonistic playing behind him, what he has remembered is that he has a project due the next morning.

The other day he came up to me with a face crumpled into a question mark. “I gotto make a PPT.” I immediately went into panic mode. I’ve fought enough pitched battles with PPT to hate it with a vengeance. “Okay,” I said, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, “let’s find the info and pictures and make it quick.”

“Don’t worry mom,” he said, “I will do it apne aap.”

And he did. In half an hour of dedicated netsurfing and effort, he’d managed to download all the information he needed which he slapped onto his presentation deck and then spent the next couple of hours adding animation and sound effects, which were to him, the more important part of the deal. I helped him spit polish it and we were set.

I have never been so grateful for his affinity towards technology than I was at that moment.  The computer and the internet have been lifesavers to him on many an occasion. Given that he has a deep and abiding loathing of books, any reading that he does is primarily of his textbooks and that too, when the parental whip is cracked and cracked hard. Therefore to get him to understand concepts and theories, the best thing that works for me as a parent is to get him to watch a video on the topic.

Thankfully, much to the relief of many parents like me with children who are more of visual learners, there are some wonderful videos out on multiple topics which carefully explain every aspect of a topic for a child. For a generation that has grown up interacting with technology and which is wired differently from the previous generation, it seems natural for them to absorb information from digital sources.

Given that most educators feel that between 60 to 80 percent of children are visual learners, technology driven learning resources with interactive visual content makes it fun and interesting for a child to go through a topic. More importantly, they don’t even realise they are ‘learning’ because they view the information as something that is entertainment rather than educative. Interactive lessons with pictures, graphics and animation make learning interesting and in sync with this generation which has grown up with computers and relates to computer related learning much better than they do with traditional classroom learning.

My tried and tested hack whenever I want him to get interested in a topic enough to explore it, is to sit him down and show him an interesting YouTube video on it. As YouTube always does, one video leads to another and then it ends up with him watching an entire bunch of videos on the topic without realising he’d basically covered information contained in his textbook, and perhaps gone beyond that as well.

With technology at his disposal, he no longer needs me around to help him research information for his projects or his school assignments. He collates the information he needs and takes the printouts of whatever he requires. Another great advantage that technology brings is the plethora of video walkthroughs of various places of historical importance from his curriculum, as well as geographical locations being covered in his geography syllabus. Being able to see these in real time, rather than just grainy black and white pictures in the text book makes it much more real and immediate for him. As far as the sciences go, there are so many fabulous videos on every subject—the concept of the atom, something he found difficult to grasp—was something that he finally understood when he watched a short video on it. With some of the grammar struggles he has and the comprehension of certain topics, what has helped a lot are the interactive quizzes available online. The entire exercise is fun and they do the trick unconsciously. His Shakespeare text, too becomes easy and accessible with a wonderful website which translates para by para, the entire play from Shakespearean English to regular everyday English, helping him understand the detailed plot. Computers, a subject I can teach him nothing about, using the device as a modified typewriter myself being from a generation that never had it as part of the syllabus, is one of his favourite subjects, and he understands it all by himself.

It might have taken me time to learn how to use the computer effectively, but my son and their generation, they’ve figured it out. And more importantly, it doesn’t awe them as it did us. It just is. Part of their everyday. Comfortable, familiar and something they can always turn to if they need help.

So yes, I stand to fight the Monster of Procrastination for my son with #DellAarambh and urge parents to contribute too, to their child’s education.

Here is where you begin:

At The Hindu Business Line Women Achievers Conference

Interesting discussion, powerful women, informed opinions. Was delighted to be part of this wonderful conference on March 16th.

L-R: Tanu Mehta, legal council, mediator and conciliator high court of Mumbai, Nidhi Lauria , business head Assam and North East, Vodafone India, Namita Vikas,Group President and Managing Director, Climate strategy and Responsible Banking, YES bank LTD, Gauri Vij, editor, The Hindu, Bollywood actress Dia Mirza, Rupa Naik, Director World Trade Centre, Anna-Carin Mansson, Country HR manager for India, IKEA Business, and Kiran Manral, Author and columnist, during the conference on Women Achievers at World Trade Centre on Thursday. Photo: Fariha Farooqui

Storm in a C-Cup today: Of Alcohol and nooky

I can only come when I’m a few drinks down,” confessed a friend. “Otherwise, no go.” She isn’t alone. A lot of us women, and most men, think that a couple of drinks are the gateway to a woman’s unleashed libido. I grew up on Hindi movies that had women who imbibed the forbidden spirit morphing instantly into bacchanalians. But does alcohol really lead to those toe-curling, full body seismic wave-inducing orgasms we all hanker after? Or does it just, gently, catch hold of all the inhibitions that we hold ourselves back with and fling them out of the window until the high wears off and the hangover begins.

Alcohol, as you might know, is biphasic. It stimulates while it begins increasing its levels in the bloodstream and when levels begin falling, it is a depressant. For me, any alcohol consumed above two measures comes with standing instructions that I am not responsible for what I say or do, and should not be held against me in a court of law.

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Karmic Kids in The

And this really made my Women’s Day. By the wonderful Devapriya Roy in The Scroll.

How to mother

Karmic Kids: The Story of Parenting Nobody Told You, Kiran Manral

Writer and major social media influencer, Kiran Manral, after quitting her full-time journalist’s job when her son (henceforth referred to as “The Brat”) was born, cut her teeth on the internet as a mommy blogger, with a remarkably original voice. To me, her books, her presence on Twitter and Instagram, all her other accomplishments put together cannot hold a candle to what that voice meant in the early days of the blog, marking a paradigm shift in the way we talked about the general anxieties of having-not-having-having-not-having it All in the context of feminist and post-feminist mothers.

Karmic Kids, a wonderful and entirely honest parenting manual, pays homage to that time and the sisterhood that gathered around Manral’s blog (many of the other mommy bloggers went on to write books too) by including snippets of advice from other mothers that provides alternative perspectives to Manral’s own quest in the maddening drama of motherhood. Divided into ten chapters, one for each year of the brat’s first decade on Planet Earth, Karmic Kids is as funny as it is wise, and one hopes that the parenting style advocated by the “Mom with a Nutella habit” is going to become more prevalent.

Read the entire article here: