Monday, March 18, 2019

Earthen Pot - an Idea worth considering

Local artisan selling earthen-pot (Thubrahalli, Bengaluru)

Summer has set in Bengaluru, sending temperature north-bound. The road side vendors selling tender coconuts, sugarcane juice & butter milk, and the Juice centres & Ice cream joints are making the most of their peak business season. This summer, on the road side at various places across Bengaluru a group of artisans are selling Earthen Pots, vying for a market pie of this seasonal business.

If you are someone who uses the plastic cans/dispenser at home, then buying an earthen pot, is an idea worth considering! Here's why?

  • Back to roots: Traditionally, before the advent of plastic containers, earthen pots were used to store & drink water. Today, we have been going back to our traditions in many practices for example organic farming, ayurveda, yoga, prefering copper bottles over plastic bottles. Buying an earthen pot for drinking purpose, is one such step which takes us back to our traditional practices.

  • Preemptive step for health: Storing drinking water in plastic cans, may not be a wise idea due to potential risk of plastic leaching. There is an ongoing controversy of two chemical entities present in plastic - Phthalates & Bisphenol A. The Phthalates are endocrine disrupting chemicals & Bisphenol A has carcinogenic effect in lab animal studies. These chemicals can find their way into the water by leaking out (leaching). Though FDA has not given a categorical classification, as a causal effect about these chemical's exposure in their current amount of leaching on human health is not yet established. But like me, I am sure many of you would prefer preemptive steps & an extra bit of caution, when the risks on health with plastic usage can be so high, irrespective of the probability & proven causality.

  • Supporting the artisan community: Pottery as an art, which dates back to antiquity. With modernity stepping in, the noise of economics - efficiency, convenience & mass production subdued the subtle music of age old craftsman. Earthen pot was a natural casualty to mass scale production of plastic can/dispenser. These few artisan community, who are striving to keep this age old craftsmanship alive, surely needs our support to give them a fighting change for self-sustenance. 

  • Eco-friendly: The earthen pots, cools down the water naturally. This is eco-friendly & green, in comparison to refrigeration.

  • Say No to Plastics: Replacing your kitchen plastic water dispenser with an earthen pot, is a conscious step towards reducing plastic usage at home. (I took inspiration from my cousin Raja, during one of my visit to his home. You never know, your small act could in turn inspire someone).        

This summer, I bought an earthen pot from Thubrahalli (Whitefield) & we have been relinquishing our thirst with the cool water, which feels so refreshing. It's so fundamentally different than drinking from a plastic water dispenser.

Earthen Pot, it's an idea worth considering, this summer. Do give it a try!  


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Point of View

Stairs leading to a shop - Ashoknagar, Bangalore
As a ritual, we stop by at Sandhya Veg in Ashoknagar for breakfast on weekends, after my son's training sessions at Bangalore football stadium. In the adjacent building, a few flight of black granite stairs leads one to a shop located on 1st floor. One day, while passing by, the text on the stairs written with white chalk caught our attention.

At the very first glance, it says PLEASE DON'T SIT PLEASE.

(A notice for those rich people who have the luxury of time at hand, not to sit on the stairs leading to the shop upstairs). 

But when we stood there for a few extra moments, to go beyond the first glance, we could read the same notice, from different point of views. (mischievous point of view).

See the pic above & read it from 1 to 2: SIT PLEASE.
Or read it from A to B: PLEASE SIT.

Ha ha! isn't that funny?
The shopkeeper wrote a simple notice: PLEASE DON'T SIT.
A rule abiding passerby, from his point of view reads it as, Please don't sit.
However, a rebellious passerby, from his point of view, chooses to read it as SIT PLEASE & PLEASE SIT.

So what's the takeaway, from this daily observation?

Ask yourself, what's your point of view?
Do you hold a straight-jacketed, conditioned point of view of the world around you? 
Do you keep a flexible, out-of-the-box, unconditioned point of view?

After all, the way we live our life is a reflection of how we view & perceive the world around us.
So, spare few moments to ask yourself, what's my point of view?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The other kind of Madhu (Honey)

Humour can spring up unexpectedly, even at the most mundane places! 

One evening, I was at a pharmacy store, patiently waiting at the cramped up counter to receive my medications. A new customer walked into the counter & inquired  "मधु है ? (Do you have Madhu?)
[Madhu is the Hindi word for Honey].

The elderly pharmacist, who was visibly irritated with overwork & by managing impatient customers choose to ignore this inquiry. The cycle of inquiry & no response, continued for few more times. I turned back & found an unassuming labourer standing, with wide open eyes, waiting for an answer.

I thought, probably his Hindi dialect is causing the confusion for the pharmacist. Me & another customer said in chorus "He is asking for Honey".

The old fellow, came near to the counter in a huff & asked in an irritable tone to this customer - "कैसा  मद्यु  चाहिए ?, चबाने  वाला  या  हनी चाहिए ? (Which Madhu you want? Chew-able one or you really want Honey?)

I stood there perplexed, chew-able honey! what the heck!

This stalemate was broken, when this person said "चबाने वाला" (chew-able Madhu). The pharmacist, lost his cool, scolded the person & turned him away. He then turned towards us & enlightened us, Madhu is a brand name of घुटका (Gutka) - chew-able tobacco preparation.

It was ironic & surprising, to find someone walking into a Medical store, asking for Gutka. We all exchanged gleeful looks with each other & smiling on his inappropriate act.

Few days back, while walking down the road, I was once again reminded about this hilarious incidence, when I found an empty sachet of Madhu on the road.

Instinctively, I picked it up for writing this blog & for posting the pic. Probably, others around me, might have given me undue credit of keeping the city clean (स्वाच  भारत ), seeing my act of picking it up. A funny conclusion on it's own right :) To conclude, I think humour is all around us, even in our daily mundane act & at places where we are least expecting it. Just that we need to be receptive towards these lighter moments in life.        

The other kind of Madhu 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Change Agent Series (3/3): Aishwarya's Pursuit for Equitable Education

Aishwarya with her students

The Road Not Taken - Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for  the passing there 
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - 
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Ever wandered, what makes the poem The Road Not Taken, so endearing for us? 
Possibly it's because we see our own reflection in the traveler.
Metaphorically speaking, we all are travelers in the journey of life and we confront these existential questions, along our journey -  

Should I take the road which my heart says?
or, Should I take the road more practical? 
Should I carve out my own path?
or, Should I follow the herd and take the trodden path?

To pursue one's true calling on the road less traveled, demands soul searching, being truthful to oneself and to stay on-course irrespective of sociocultural expectations.

Not a mean feat! That's why stories of men and women, who take this leap of faith are so special and needs to be told and retold. A beautiful story, can inspire someone who is now standing on the diverging roads in their life's journey.

This is my friend Aishwarya's story, who once stood on the diverging roads, she took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.   

Aurangabad a district in Maharashtra is Aishwarya's hometown. Like any other child from a typical middle class family in India, she grew up recognising the importance of formal education and upholding moral values.

"I studied in Nath Valley school, in Aurangabad through class I to XII. This is where I belong...this is where I made a strong circle of friends and even today, they are my pillar of support."

All along her schooling till class X, she was an average performer. In PUC, she took up Commerce along with Psychology as elective subject. As they say, interest flares up intrinsic motivation. Her interest in Psychology, made her outshine and she secured all India CBSE 2nd rank in her stream.

"Things changed me for in PUC. All along I used to consider myself as a non-ambitious, average student. During my school days, I had thought of pursing Mass Communication, but in PUC Psychology got me hooked. Now I was confused, Degree in Mass Comm. or Degree in Psychology? On top of it, I excelled at an all India level. On a positive note, this did help me to change my self-limiting perception of being a non-ambitious, average student."

Aishwarya's elder sister during that point in time, was residing in Bangalore. Through her, she got to know about Jyothi Nivas College, which was offering a combined Bachelor's Degree on Mass Communication, Literature & Psychology.

"I wanted to apply for Bachelor's in Psychology at Christ University, but had missed their timelines. When I came across this triple combination program at Jyothi Niwas college, I didn't have to give a second thought. It had Mass Communication which I always wanted to do, it had literature which I always loved since a child and it had Psychology, which I grew very fond of during my PUC days."

Three years of college life was fun. The Mass Comm. program was experiential, it involved making short film, Literature syllabus studying various genre of literature (Afro-American, Feminism, Victorian) and the Psychology lectures were captivating.

"Campus life in Bangalore, were the formative years for my independent identity. Living away from home teaches you decision making, independent thinking, understanding freedom and responsibility. I grew up so much more as a person, in these three years."

As they say, nothing lasts forever and good times lasts even shorter. Three years went by in a jiffy.

"I was again confronted with the question - What Next? I had thought of pursuing Masters in Mass Comm, back to Pune, closer home." Meanwhile, she came across notification for campus placement opening - Technical Writer, at Oracle in Bangalore. The requirement was Degree in English Literature. Out of curiosity, she applied for it and got through.

"The What Next decision became complex now. Previously the choice was obvious, a Master's Degree. Now I had to choose between Masters or job at Oracle." After considerable consultation with family, she decided to take up the job with Oracle. This was in the year 2011.

At job, in the first year she underwent training, in second year she was assigned to products for which she had to do technical writing, documentation. Her manager was based out of US and this global working environment helped her to develop a multi-cultural, global mindset. Being a people person, she was actively involved in team engagement initiatives and soon became the go to person in her team.

"On the surface things were going great! I was working with such a big brand, I had a good job, I was in company of so many talented and wonderful colleagues, my manager was a great mentor, I had a good work-life balance, evenings were for my Zumba classes, my weekends were free, infact I had nothing to complain about. However, deep inside I realised, I cannot work lifelong sitting in front of a computer."

Though she realized, she is not meant for a career in technical domain, she was yet to clear all her cobwebs. She decided to put to use her weekends, by taking up a Diploma in Counseling, at Banjara Academy, in the year 2013. This year long course, once again got her in touch, with her lost love - Psychology.

"The Counseling program, equipped me with skills for life - being a good listener, empathetic, non-judgmental. The program, exposed me various realities of the society and made me realise that each person is on their own unique journey."

After her successful completion of Diploma in Counseling, she wanted to stay engaged in some kind of compassionate work. During this search, she came across Make a Wish Foundation and started off as a volunteer, on weekends.

"As a volunteer with Make a Wish Foundation, I used to visit hospitals and spend time with children who were critically ill.  Our work was to make these children's wish (probably their last wish) come true. These interactions hit me hard and I was baffled to see, children from lower socio-economic background having such limited awareness of the world around them."

She was continuing her parallel lives, Monday to Friday - as a corporate executive and on Weekends - as an NGO Volunteer.

"It was a phase of turmoil for me. I knew my heart lied in something else and not in my day job. During lunch hours at office cafeteria, News Channel used to beam stories of rape, child abuse and other atrocities. We all office colleagues would be overtly critical about India and it's state of affairs. Over period, I started to realise we were all in this convenient state of mind of pointing fingers, but none of us wanted to be part of the solution."

Days converted into weeks, weeks in months, months into a year and Aishwarya's parallel life's carried on. This was the time, when she felt her job satisfaction was on a down swing, she was contemplating to quit and pursue a Masters in Mass Communication. In her head, she was still trying to make sense of the ongoing social issues and about her volunteering experiences with children of low socio-economic background.

"I believe in cause and effect. If there are wrong things happening in our society, there has to be a cause. It appeared to me, the cause was people's mindset - insensitive, unemphatic, inconsiderate, immoral. Mindset is largely shaped during childhood, as it is the most impressionable age and I was convinced, if we work with today's children they will grow up into adults of tomorrow, with a healthy mindset, automatically making it a better society."

On a random evening, while watching a stand-up comedy, a promotional campaign caught my attention. It was Teach for India. In Teach for India fellowship, one commits two years of his/her life on a full-time basis, to teach school children from lower socio-economic background (Govt or private school). She applied for fellowship with Teach for India. The robust screening process comprises of online application, essay writing, telephonic round, and final round was in person, at assessment center which included written assessment, group discussion and personal interview. She made it! and was offered the fellowship.

Change management, making transitions are always the most difficult part. In her case, the change was qualitatively and quantitatively different. Moving out from a well paying corporate job, into social sector on a fellowship.

"My monthly income was dropping by 70%. It required readjusting my life - I had to plan and do budgeting differently now.  Initially, most of my well wishers, including my parents, were not convinced with my decision. Materialistically I was going backward - leaving a big brand, taking a huge cut in my income, giving up a well set career where I was poised to have linear progression." Aishwarya's mom metaphorically told her with concern, "People climb up the career ladder and you are throwing away your ladder." She was justifiably concerned about her daughter's well being. She had a comfortable life, her peers were doing well and now all of sudden, she wanted to rock a stable boat and jump into the sea. 

When you are intrinsically driven, when you have clarity and purpose in life, when you have recognised your needs over your wants, outside voices stops to matter as you are tuned into your own voice. This is what had happened with Aishwarya, she had the inner conviction to reboot her life and to start a new journey on the road less traveled. "I knew I will be lot more happier from my daily work, no matter how challenging, as it was more meaningful and would touch many lives." 

In May 2016, she relocated to Pune, Maharashtra and was deployed in a private school which catered to children of lower socio-economic background. She had stepped out of her bubble, into the real world.

"Initial phase of my new journey was far from ideal and the change was enormous. Fifteen of us were living out of a small apartment before being thrown out by the association members. I was all the time into multi-tasking mode and was left with no time for myself, unlike my Bangalore routine when I had my evenings reserved for Zumba classes and weekends for volunteering. Days were cramped up with work and I started skipping lunch on a regular basis."

The community visits was an overwhelming experience. Families living in tin shed houses, their complete lack of awareness on personal hygiene, sanitary napkins, nutrition was hard hitting.

"It hits you hard. Here I was an idealist, wanting to change everything at one go and then you realize there is so much to change and it is going to be a long drawn process."

The RTE (Right to Education) Act, has been a good move for promoting education. However, this has caused other set of problems. "With RTE Act, no student can be failed till class VIII. Majority of the children from low socio-economic, have minimal parental investment in their life. There is a casual approach towards studies, lack of accountability and lack of interest in studies. There are n number of instances of a IX grader's subject knowledge being equivalent to a II grader studying in an upmarket school."

Aishwarya was deployed for two years in a private school, which had children from low socio-economic background. Total strength of the school was 650 students. "At school we have to instruct and teach experienced professional teachers new pedagogy. This is a sensitive aspect, as we are so young, half their age and we are coming and teaching them new methodologies and practices. The job demands to bring all stakeholders together, to work for the child's well-being and keep personal interests and conflicts at bay. Teach for India, message board says, Are You Ready for the Challenge? I now know why, it says so :-)."

Teach for India, functions on a two year rotation basis. One fellow leaves after his/her two years of fellowship and the new fellow replaces him/her. This cycle continues. Aishwarya was replacing a fellow, who had made a very good name for himself at his work. One of the key attribute of this fellow was strictness. "In my mind, I thought I have a big shoes to fill in, I wanted to emulate him and I conducted myself with strictness. This caused me additional distress, because this is not natural self. My expression of strictness was coming out as anger and aggression. I was making the mistake of copy someone and not being myself."

After several weeks of struggle, the realisation dawned into her. "My strength is empathy and I had come here to work with compassion, but I was foolishly exhibiting anger. From that day on, her motto became - "Change the world with kindness, not from hatred."

From this point on, there was no looking back for her. An affectionate yet assertive teacher was now in charge, to shape young minds for the next two years. 

"I realised staying true to myself was most important. I had to work on being firm and assertive without losing my essence. Being my natural self helped me in building personal relationships with my students. Over a period, the children found me approachable and they started to trust me and confide in me."

The journey was not a fairy tale with everything working out well with a magic wand. There were days, when frustration and helplessness would grip her. Factors like lack of financial resources, domestic violence, vulnerable environment were out of her control as a teacher, but these factors would hold back her students from focusing on their studies.  "It would leave me clueless about how to change the situation. Gradually it struck me that I'm here to uplift the kids so that they can change their own circumstances. I knew that with a little more faith in themselves, they truly find their greatness."

This faith, mutual trust in each other and the harmonious, learning environment did produce it's positive outcomes. Several of her kids have excelled academically, while others have shown their talent through several other mediums. They have performed street play on non-violence, a third of her class participated in the musical showcase for the school's annual day. They have conducted sessions on building and imbibing essential values for junior classes. "Marks may be important, but it’s their other, more holistic achievements that fill me with pride."

So what advice would you give to someone who is in dilemma - should I take the road less traveled?

"If you are clear on where your true happiness lies, then all you need to do is to take the leap of faith and trust the process. The journey is going to be challenging and full of ups and downs, but the amount of inner satisfaction, sense of purpose and happiness is unparalleled."

Memories for a lifetime

I asked her, about her reflections through this journey.

" This will be my happiest Once upon a time story :). I may have been too idealistic to think that my journey as a fellow at Teach for India is going to be a step towards changing the face of the nation, but now with a clearer perspective, I do believe that one child at a time we can make this happen. I want this strong cause, of providing equal and quality education, to have a ripple effect leading to the effective transformation of an individual, a society and a country."

Time flies, Aishwarya has completed her two years of fellowship. She is now joining Teach for India, as Program Manager for Pune City. She will now play a bigger role in on-boarding new fellows, coordinating with schools and doing her bit to promote quality education for all and transform one child at a time, to make a better individual, a better society, a better India and a better world.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - 
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Education Series (7/7): Self Organised Classroom

Couple of days back, Kanishk (my 8 year old son) and I were traveling within Bangalore city when we saw a traffic cop riding his bike without wearing a helmet. On this incident, father-son duo were having a light-hearted conversation among ourselves. In my improvising Kannada I told if this traffic-cop caught me for riding without a helmet, I would tell him you are not following your own rules, but advocating others. On hearing my improvised version, Kanishk corrected me by saying "Nivu helmet wear marela, mattu numge helide". (You are not wearing helmet, but telling me to wear). I was pleasantly surprised and felt very happy to see his developing proficiency in spoken Kannada, the native language of the state of Karnataka, where he is growing up.

The credit for Kanishk's improving fluency in Kannada, surely has to go to Mayur, his Kannada language teacher. Mayur creates a teaching experience for his student which is play like, joyful and simple conversation weaved into daily informal dialogue.

Wow! Mayur possesses quite a teaching prowess isn't it?

By the way, Mayur is himself a school going child, studying in grade VI.

A school kid, donning the role of a teacher, in his classroom!

I call this classroom as Self Organised Classroom.

In my mind, Self Organised Classroom is a space for community learning, which is lead and governed by children themselves, with minimal adult supervision.

So where is Mayur's Self Organised Classroom?

These classes takes place while playing football, between board games, watching TV and chatting among friends.

What are the rules of his classroom?

While setting up the framework, I put across few mutually agreed upon rules:
  1. Mayur was designated as Kannada teacher.
  2. Responsibilities of the teacher and of the students, were defined and mutually agreed upon.
  3. All the non-Kannadiga children were requested to try conversing in Kannada (for minimizing communication in English & Hindi).
  4. Whenever, someone speaks in English, Hindi, other's should remind them to follow the rule 'Kannada mataru' (speak in Kannada).
  5. On occasion, I would offer some coaching on right conduct of a teacher & of a student, on the best practices like praising efforts, celebrating each other's progress.
With this broad framework, Mayur started facilitating conversations in Kannada, by translating his friend's English and Hindi sentences into Kannada and help them to repeat it. Over a period, the children started showing good process in their spoken Kannada abilities.

Few simple rules and occasional guidance were the only ingredients for setting up a Self Organised Classroom.

Hmm....interesting, but this be replicated?

It definitely seems so!

With the similar set of rules we host another Self Organised Classroom at our home: an After-School English Support Program. This Self Organised Classroom is run by Kanishk who himself is a grade III student along with Mayur (in grade VI).

They partner in teaching English, while Kanishk brings in subject knowledge, Mayur facilitates conceptual understanding. The students in this classroom are three of their less privileged friends Malu (grade IV), Jaswant (grade V) and Yogesh (grade VI), who are studying in a nearby Kannada medium Government school.

The teacher duo, use Youtube contents like Sesame Street, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and other animated English learning videos, for running this Self Organised Classroom.

Upon self-reflection, I didn't create the Self Organised Classroom by design. Rather it started as a social experiment, which evolved over a period of time and took it's current shape and form. This experience has given me the following insights:
  1. A group of children can self-learn with minimal supervision, if a learning ecosystem is created.
  2. Children do take their role-play of teacher and student seriously and execute it with all sincerity.
  3. It is possible to create Mentor-Mentee relationship among children.
  4. In a group setting, children collaborate among themselves and explore learning materials (e.g. internet, books) to co-learn.
There appears to be several benefits of a Self Organised Classroom:
  1. Children develop self-responsibility, to self-learn. In other words, they are not spoon-fed, rather they feed themselves.
  2. Through this process, children develop empathy, leadership, communication, planning and organisational and social skills.
  3. Children understand the concept of rules and how to work creatively within this framework.
  4. Children enjoy the learning experience, as it is not top-down, rather a community learning.
We all can create these Self Organised Classrooms, in our own community spaces. Ideas are unlimited!....just to list a few: Public Speaking Clubs, Debate Clubs, Newspaper reading sessions, Subject specific classes, Hobby Club, Sports coaching, Computers creative as one can get.

So what are we waiting for? Let's empower our children with little bit of guidance, to form their own Self Organised Classroom and let's put back learning in their own hands.

Self Organised Classroom: Learning English from Youtube (Sesame Street)

Self Organised Classroom: Learning basics of Coding (Scratch)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

What's in a Name?

Remember the question "What's in a name?" from Shakespeare's play Romeo & Juliet. (Juliet argues, it does not matter that Romeo is from her family's rival house of Montague). This dialogue 'What's in a name?' from the play Romeo and Juliet, has been immortalized in our regular conversations, when we quote it wittingly for making an argument; names are secondary, qualities are primary.

Last week, few of us (colleagues) had been on a team lunch, to socialise & bond with our home-based employees, as we don't get opportunity to interact in person with them, on a daily basis. All of us, being in similar phase of life i.e. parents with young children, we were asking each other, names of their children and what was the meaning of their child's name. It was fascinating to come across so many unique names and profound meanings, which has roots in our rich heritage, culture, history, religion, mythology and ancient language Sanskrit.

Like all engaging conversations leads to different layers of discussions, this too wasn't different. My colleague Rizwana, asked me "Abhi, do you believe names have an influence on a child's (person's) behaviour and personality?". [Thanks Riz, your question became the impetus for this blog :-)].

It would be fun, if before reading further, you take a moment and try to formulate your opinion -
"Do you believe names have an influence on a child's (person's) behaviour and personality?" 

Welcome back! after the commercial  thinking break! I hope by now, you have your own opinion to the question asked by Riz :)

For now, this is my opinion: May be...

Thinking loudly here, let me elaborate....

We all (me included) spend lot of time in selecting names for our new-born (either our children, or children for our extended family and friends). Google search, visiting websites, consulting a pandit (counsel), calling up friends/relatives, combining alphabets from father's and mother's names, etc, etc, are many of the frenzies, we enthusiastically engage in with so much of love, affection and excitement, for shortlisting probable names for the new born child.

Few of us, mostly likely would have known at least one friend/colleague/relative/acquaintance who have legally changed their birth name, during their adulthood. There are of course, so many well-known artists who have two names, one for their creative profession along with their birth name. There are also instances, of people and celebrities, modifying their names by adding or removing an alphabet (possibly advised by a numerologist, to bring in success). 

The process of giving a new-born child a name, the sustenance of interests in their names, by so many people into adulthood, strongly suggests, names holds a very special meaning for us (probably, it's across all cultures).

If we didn't believe in the significance of name and if name didn't have a special meaning for us, would be devout so much of emotions and time, while selecting a birth name and for taking the trouble of modifying/adopting a name?

In continuation, to our conversations over lunch, Riz humorously asked me "Do you see Maharaja like behaviour in Kanishk?" (my eight year old son, who is named after King Kanishka a second century Kushan king, a patron of Buddhism who spearheaded the spread of Buddha's teaching).

Here's how the name was given to him. The Guruji, of my wife's family suggested us to keep our new born son's name starting with the alphabet क (K) [don't ask me why? not because I will get offended, it's because I also don't know :) The closest answer I can get to is - it's a cultural thing].

Me & my better half, have lot of affection for Buddha & we relate to Buddhist philosophy. So when we had to select a name for our son starting with the alphabet क (K), after lot of soul searching, we chose the name Kanishk. Now that he is 8 years of age, able to comprehend, we have told Kanishk, the meaning of his name and about King Kanishka.

If Kanishk embraces Buddhist philosophy as he grows up, would it be a consequence of the name's influence on him or because he identifies himself with the name or for a completely unrelated reason? I don't know...may be both ways...

When we are asked about our names and it's meaning and when we explain it, does it reinforces our belief and self-identity, with our name?
I don't know....may be....

Let me take a slight diversion and touch upon the concept of Label (Labeling), from the field of Psychology. Labeling is defined as, assigning a person to a category. I am sure, you must have come across N number of articles and videos, cautioning parents and educators, to refrain from negatively labeling a child. A repeated association of a negative label (e.g. stupid, lazy, dumb etc), can reinforce the belief and self-identify, in this label causing long-term damage to a child's self-esteem and personality. (By the way, this is not only restricted to a child, but also applies to adults. Ill practices like bullying, discrimination are manifestation of negative labeling).

Label (labeling) may not be cent percent equivalent with a Birth Name (naming), but it does share the same principle of belief, self-identify and reinforcements. Think about it!

Seems to me, I have a shift from my previously held opinion - 'may be'.

"What's in a Name?", with all due respect to Brad of Avon, I would say, there is "Lots in a Name". 

What's your opinion? Requesting you to share your comments on this blog post. It would be insightful for me and for all the readers, to get to know different perspectives, thoughts and opinion, on this famous question 'What's in a name?'

Image credit - Anurag Gaggar, Jan 07, 2017, Official OYO Blog

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Adaptability is a Key Ability


When we stumble upon the word adaptability, many of us are reminded of a famous quote "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent species. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.", isn't it?

Quite rightly so, as adaptability refers to the attribute of being able to adjust to new conditions & to reinvent oneself.

Keeping the theme of adaptability in background, let me ask you a question - What are Locusts?
I can hear you calling out, "Locust is an insect, which migrates in vast swarms, causing extensive damage to vegetation." & I hope you could hear me saying "Correct"!

By now, many of you might be thinking, what's so special in this seemingly irrelevant question & what is the connection between locust & the theme of adaptability?

This is where, the narrative becomes very interesting.....

Boris Uvarov, a Russian entomologist, during his early researches, made a strange observation - In one incipient locust swarm, he noticed swarming locusts and local grasshoppers were together. Also to his surprise, he noticed in this incipient swarm there were insects which seemed like an intermediate form of a grasshopper and a locust.

In the past, entomologists had always been mystified by the way locusts suddenly seemed to swarm out of nowhere & cause havoc on farmlands. Finally in the year 1921 Boris Uvarov, had the insight and he was able to connect the dots, with the observations he had made long time ago.

Locusts and grasshoppers were same species, but under stressed conditions of drought and diminishing food, grasshoppers laid eggs that hatched into locusts.


Let me ask you the question once again - What are Locusts?
I can hear you calling out a different answer this time, "Locust is a phase in grasshoppers life and during this phase, they behave very differently." You are right!

Under stressed conditions (droughts, scarcity of food), grasshoppers exhibits adaptability by laying a kind of eggs which hatches into locusts. Locusts have the ability to swarm and to fly far off in search of food. Thereby, they survive through drought seasons, by adapting themselves to the changed environment. When conditions become favourable (abundance of food), future generations would revert to being solitary grasshoppers.

I was amazed, when I read about the story of Locusts and Grasshoppers. How species adapts themselves with nature & how adaptation helps them to survive, is simply mind boggling!

The Locust story, also offers us lessons for life - to be adaptable and to be agile. The time we live in, is dynamic, constantly changing & is in a state of flux. Such times, calls for a special ability to survive. So let's be adaptable, after all Adaptability is a Key Ability, isn't it?
I can hear you calling out, "Yes" :-)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Education Series (6/7): Bridge the GAP between Classroom & Real-World

Bridge the GAP between Classroom & Real World

A school starts at 8:30 AM & closes at 1:10 PM. How long does the school work?

A bus starts from Mumbai at 7:20 AM & reaches Pune at 11:45 AM. How long does the bus take to reach Pune? 

These are typical questions in Chapter Time from Maths syllabus, taught in grade III. (My son studies in grade III, in urban Bengaluru).

In my observation, I find my son having difficulty grasping the conceptual understanding of time (clock). Problem statements like Quarter past..., Quarter to..., 12 hours-24 hours format, are typically confusing for him.

I do assist him with his studies & I have seen with regular practice he has made significant improvement in other chapters (numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). However, with Time chapter the conceptual understanding still remains shaky.

Few weeks ago, he wore his watch (digital watch, gifted by his Didi) to school. After 2-3 days of he wearing the watch to school, his class teacher told him, "Watches are permitted only from grade V onward" & he was advised not to wear watch in school. For us, this was a passing incident & I forgot about it with passage of time....

One fine day, while assisting my son on solving Time problems, a moment of insight struck me!

He is learning about Time in classroom but not practicing the learning in his day to day life (real world). On our part as parents, we have given him a digital watch instead of an analog watch. By using digital watch, he is unable to comprehend time concepts like 'quarter to 3 o'clock', 'quarter past 3 o'clock', 'half past 3 o'clock', but he has to face these questions in school.

On part of schooling, students are not allowed to wear watches till they reach secondary school. In other words, concept of time is being taught in primary school but they are restrained from putting their learning into practice, by not allowing them to wear a watch (analog).

This GAP between classroom & real-world, seems to be the root cause for his lack of conceptual understanding of Time (calculation related to watch).

Over the weekend, I got him a simple, economical Analog watch for regular use. The idea is to make him familiar using an analog watch in day to day life, so that conceptual understanding of time becomes a natural outcome of his daily life, rather than it remaining just a theoretical construct.

For few, this narrative may appear quite trivial, if one look's at it as one specific example (Chapter Time). In my mind, the larger question is "Do we consciously try to Bridge the GAP between classroom & real-world?" This is a profound question, worth introspecting for every parents & educators.

From my son's Maths syllabus, taking another example - Chapter Money. In this chapter, grade-III children are taught calculations related to Money (Rupees & Paisa). Typically in our culture, most of us (parents) seldom expose our children to real money, during their childhood. In other words, children are learning to calculate money (Rupees & Paisa), only as a theoretical construct without any real-world application. But imagine if we give our children nominal pocket money & offer them guidance & supervision on spending money (e.g. buying something in a departmental store), their learning of calculating money will transcend from classroom to real-world.

Personally, this incident (chapter Time) has given me some food for thought, to ponder upon. Different subjects & so many topics, gives us opportunities to innovate in our teaching methods to Bridge the GAP, between classroom & real-world.

As a matter of fact, schools following international curriculum have Bridge the GAP between classroom & real-world, as an integral part of their pedagogy. Technically, it is known as Experiential Learning (Hands on Learning). From my personal experience, I can say other parents like me (untrained educators) can incorporate the concept of Bridge the GAP between classroom & real-world, in their teaching methods by being conscious & creative, in their approach.

Tell me & I forget. Teach me & I remember. Involve me & I learn. - Benjamin Franklin

Image source: HubSpot 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Education series (5/7): Learn to Code, Code to Learn

Image from

In today's hi-tech, wired world 'Digital Native', is a very commonly used contemporary term.

Digital Native - A person born or brought up during the age of digital technology & so familiar with computers and the internet from an early age. (Definition from English Oxford Dictionary)

As today's children (digital natives) are exposed to technology from their early years, we intuitively believe, it gives them greater familiarity & understanding of technology, in comparison to previous generations.

Mitch Resnick (Director - Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab), convincingly expresses his skepticism about this general belief, in his TED Talk (Nov 2012, Brookline Massachusetts).

He asks us a pertinent question - "How do young people spend most of their time using new technologies?

From our personal experiences, we know children's (digital natives) interaction with technology is primarily browsing, watching videos, listening to music, chatting, texting & gaming.

Hence Mitch argues, digital natives are familiar interacting with new technologies, but they don't know how to create something original, by using technology.

"It's like they can read, but cannot write with new technologies." - Mitch.

In other words, children know how to use the codes (program), but they don't know how to code (create a program).

In today's digital world, coding has become a fundamental skill, irrespective of schools including coding in their curriculum or not.

With IoT, Robotics, AI, Machine Learning becoming the order of the world, learning the fundamentals of coding during their student life, empowers our children with awareness & understanding of coding (ability to write technology).

To help children learn to code, Mitch Resnick & his team, at Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab have developed SCRATCH.

Image from

SCRATCH is a programming language, which is Lego-like, drag & drop, visual & interactive. Children can learn fundamentals of coding (programming), using SCRATCH, in a playful manner.

It is designed as an educational tool designed especially for children between 8 to 16 years of age.
It is available online, free of cost.

Parents & Educators, can make use of SCRATCH, to help their children to Learn to Code. The children will eventually Code to Learn.

Learn to Code, Code to Learn!

Link for accessing SCRATCH:

Link for Mitch Resnick's TED Talk:

Requesting you, to spread the word around by sharing this blogpost. Through your thoughtful gesture of spreading awareness on SCRATCH, many students can get benefited from this free of cost, global educational tool. Thank You!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Education Series (4/7): Big History Project

This blogpost, is written for spreading awareness of free educational resources, which facilitates conceptual & experiential learning.

Can a Historian & a Technology Wizard collaborate on a project?

Generally, history & technology sounds like North pole & South pole, as history mirrors the past, while technology mirrors the future.

However when the technocrat is Bill Gates & the historian is David Christian, path breaking exceptions are bound to happen! Their collaboration has resulted into BIG HISTORY PROJECT.

Watch David Christian & Bill Gates, talk about Big History Project in a 2 minutes video:

Big History is an unified, inter-disciplinary approach of studying the history of Cosmos, Earth, Life & Humanity. BIG HISTORY PROJECT has been conceptualized to teach Big History (not for profit - free of cost) to middle & high school students across the globe.   

Big History syllabus covers the length & breath of almost everything, under the sun....ah! I mean, under the universe.

Big History syllabus
The Big History was introduced to the world community by David Christian at TED Conference - March, 2011. (Big Bang to Internet age, in a riveting 18 minutes talk) 

Big History Project can be accessed at: 
Teachers/Schools can register themselves & share the classroom code with the students, for accessing the course. 
If one does not have the classroom code, they can access the 'Lifelong Learners' module (shorter version).
Big History Project is also available on KhanAcademy.
Big History (taught by David Christian & David Baker, Macquarie University).
Available in both offerings: free version (no certificate) & charged (with certificate).

Benefits of Big History Project:

  • Thinking across scale
  • Integrating multiple disciplines
  • Offers different perspectives
  • Offers holistic understanding
  • Inspires love for learning

Requesting you, to spread the word around by sharing this blogpost. Through your thoughtful gesture of spreading awareness on Big History Project, many students would benefit from this free of cost, global classroom offering. Thank You!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Education Series (3/7): ChronoZoom - Big History made Visual

This blogpost, is written for spreading awareness of free educational resources, which facilitates conceptual & experiential learning.

Memories - Collage & Timelines....

One of the feature of Facebook, Google Photos, I like the most is auto-generated collage & timeline of our photos (good old memories & time gone by). Watching the timeline unfolding in front of our eyes, is like walking down the memory lanes & reliving those beautiful moments all over again.

This feel good factor, underlines the basis of human perception & information processing. We perceive & process far better, when information is presented in the form of visuals/images, rather than text/data.

Just imagine, how enriching a student's experience would be if they could visually perceive Big History Timeline, rather than reading it as text & dates!

Big History is a unified, multi-disciplinary approach of trying to understand the History of Cosmos, Earth, Life & Humanity. The timescale of Big History is an unfathomable 14 billion years (Big Bang to today's modern times). It's next to impossible, to gain a holistic understanding, unless a student is able to perceive the big history timescale, in the form of interactive visuals/images.


Is it possible to view big history in an interactive visual form?



By using ChronoZoom!

What is ChronoZoom?

ChronoZoom is a zoomable timeline of Big History. With ChronoZoom, a student can browse knowledge & interact with the time scale (zoom in zoom out). It makes the relation between time & events clear, vivid & easy to comprehend.

Is ChronoZoom, free?


Where can I access ChronoZoom?

What are the benefits of ChronoZoom?
  • Helps in visualising big history
  • Interactive timescale (zoom in, zoom out)
  • This technology, makes comprehension of 14 billion years possible
  • Facilitates conceptual & experiential learning
  • Makes learning fun

Requesting you, to spread the word around by sharing this blogpost. Through your thoughtful gesture of spreading awareness on ChronoZoom, many students would benefit in their conceptual & experiential learning. Thank You!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Parenting Series (5/5) - Financial Literacy (money management, a life skill approach)

There are many memories from college days, which stays with us for a longtime. Among them, one of my memory is of a classmate who used to maintain an Expense Log Book, keeping a track of his monthly allowances (pocket money). (We were in a residential program, living away from our families).

It has taken me two long decades since then to today, to fully appreciate my classmate's good money management skills & habit (maybe being a parent makes you wiser). Ironically, during our college days, most of us felt his daily ritual of accounting was overtly practical & boring. For us, college days were supposed to be carefree & careless. Running out of our pocket money by middle of the month, phir wohi udhari, len-den :-) (borrowing & lending), eagerly waiting for next month's money transfer & the cycle continued. In fact, by end of the academic year, our entire friend circle would be in debts :-).
In contrast this classmate of mine, would always have money in his bank account. Let me explicitly mention, so that one does not assume him to be a miser or a rich guy. He too enjoyed - watched movies, went to eateries, pooled in for birthday parties, joined us on excursions etc, all well-managed within his reasonable monthly allowances (pocket money). On top of it, he was our go to person (money lender) when we used to run out of cash (he financed us, without any interest %) ;)

After graduation, we all took different paths & we drifted away from our friends....knowing such intimate friendship would never be forged again in our adult - professional life.

In this new phase, with no best buddies around, it becomes a necessity to suddenly switch over from being careless with money to becoming careful & methodical with money management. Unfortunately, for many of us this transformation does not come naturally. For years our orientation towards money management has been random & lacked awareness. It's an uphill task to expect an overnight 180 degree turn in our conduct, from campus life to professional life.
In reality, our money management skills & habit, may take years to reach an optimal level & sadly for many of us, it may never transcend to the highest level of wealth creation.

At a fundamental level, my personal experience touches upon two key aspects:

1. Kind of people (students): 1st kind - Financially Literate (optimal money management skills/habit) & 2nd kind - Financially Illiterate (sub-optimal money management skills/habit).

2. Why Financial Literacy levels are different among people (students)?

In my opinion, the answer to Why Financial Literacy level differs? can be found in our approach towards parenting. And Financially Literate or Illiterate, is just an outcome of our approach towards parenting.

Think about it!

Our parenting style does not originate out of thin air, isn't it?
Rather it is deeply rooted in our socio-cultural-belief systems & it manifests itself from this paradigm.

Referring back to my personal story, during my growing up years my exposure to managing & understanding money (financial literacy) was negligible. Reflecting back, I realise it was a natural outcome of my socio-cultural background & my upbringing in a Bengali educated-working-middle-class family background.
Financial illiteracy during growing up years is not just limited to my personal experience, rather this is a typical scenario a child experiences during their growing up years, in an Indian educated-working-middle-class-family background.
Our Parenting approaches are more focused on formal education, good marks, entrance examination & aiming for a good job. In this road map of upbringing our children, sadly imparting life skills - Financial Literacy, is excluded from the syllabus.

Let's ask ourselves, what are the consequences for being Financially Illiterate?

Well not a rosy picture - financial bad habits, debts, low on savings & investments, risks not covered, no financial goals, forever dependency on job, lack of wealth, not achieving financial independence......a gloomy list!.

As a matter of fact, for our future generation, Financial Literacy will become far more important than ever before. Our children are going to live as adults (working professionals) in a future economy (world), which probably would be more uncertain & fast-paced change would be the only constant. Consumerism, targeted marketing (data analytics), push for instant gratification, easy loans, EMIs, spending through apps, digital wallets are going to be their constant companion. Therefore, Financial Literacy is a necessity for today's children & should be inculcated through their growing up years, before it's too late.

By being little creative, as parents we can develop 'N' number of ways to introduce Financial Literary (money management concepts) to our children. Listing out few broad approaches, in this direction:

  • During Late childhood (approx. 6 years to 12 years)
  1. Inculcation of Numismatics (coin collection) hobby in our children, is an interesting way of raising awareness about money/currencies.
  2. Piggy bank - introduces children to concept of savings & delayed gratification.
  3. Introduce children to concepts of M.R.P. (price), quantity (weight, ml), expiry date, best buy options, verifying bills etc. A fun & effective way of doing this is through experiential learning. Give them opportunity to shop, make payment, check bills in super-market/shops, under your guidance.
  4. Give them understanding of household cash flow (i.e. you work to earn money). So that children don't assume for long, ATM machines are Santa Clause in disguise :-)
  5. Introduce children to different modes of payments (hard cash, online, digital, cheque, DD etc)
  6. Opening a minor bank account, introduces the child to simple concepts of banking. Guide them to put their money in their bank account (e.g. their piggy bank collection, money they received as gifts/blessings during birthdays, festivals).
  • Adolescence (approx. 12 years to 16 years)
  1. Giving children pocket money (weekly/monthly allowances) & offering them basic guidance on how to effectively manage their expenses, within their budget (allowances). 
  2. Encouraging children to keep track of their allowances. As parent, you can go through their expense tracker on a periodic basis. (the idea is not to scrutinize, but to engage with them in a dialogue & help them learn best practices)
  3. Gradually & systematically, introducing our children to advanced concepts: Investments, Risk covers, Loans, Assets-Liabilities, Tax filing, Financial goals etc. You can offer them experiential learning by involving them in your regular finance management practices.
  4. Encouraging children to think, to ask questions, & to express their opinion. (Don't super-impose your thinking about money on them. The idea is to educate & empower our children by making them well-informed & not to sub-consciously super-impose our socio-cultural-beliefs of money on them).
  5. Last but not the least, the most difficult act - being a good role model :-) Children learn by observing. All the above strategies would be less effective, if they see us walk the talk. We will have to lead by example.

Food for thought!

All of us teach our children, 'HOW to earn money', by educating them to become independent working professionals. Unfortunately most of us, don't teach our children, 'WHAT to do with money', once they start earning!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Decoding Advertisements: Cocktail of Emotions

Image courtesy: Psychologist world (no copyright violation intended)

Our species, scientific name is Homo Sapiens.

The literal meaning of Homo Sapiens is Wise Man.

In this meaning, lies the satirical humour. Though we would like to believe we are wise, rational & make decisions based on deep thinking. The reality is by & large, we are driven by our emotions & feelings. Modern day Neuroscience, research studies in Behavioural Economics have exposed our irrationality & made us aware that our emotions overrides our rationality.

Let's look into the origin & meaning of the word Emotion.
As we can see in the below image, Emotion originated from Latin & French words which meant 'move' & 'excite'.
In the context of English language, Emotion means strong feelings, which drives us towards an action/thing/goal/behaviour.

Understanding Emotions a bit more: Emotions has a broad range & have many facets to it, intensity, time-span, explicit-implicit, verbal-non-verbal, cultural etc. For the sake of simplicity, let's fall back on the landmark study 'Constants Across Cultures in the Face & Emotion, by Ekman & Friesnen, W.V.' 1971 published in Journal of Personality & Social Psychology.

This study has shown, there are Six universal emotions which are recognised by all, across the globe, across all cultures. These six universally recognised emotions are:
  1. Happiness
  2. Sadness
  3. Anger
  4. Disgust
  5. Surprise
  6. Fear
The above landmark study was published in 1971. Since then till today year 2017, we have come a long way. With advancement of neuro-imaging technology, Neurosciences & Behavioural Sciences research has provided empirical evidences on brain-functionality (emotions & decision making).

These growing knowledge is finding application in several areas, just to name a few: Education & Teaching methodology, Policy making, Organizational/HR practices, Advertising & Marketing.

Let's take Advertising & Marketing, as a specific example. At this juncture we need to recognise, we are living in a consumption (consumerism) economy. To keep the consumption & hyper-consumerism galloping, advertising, selling, branding & marketing are deployed by companies to push their products & services. Infact, we find ourselves surrounded by advertisements - outdoor (billboards), print-media (newspaper, magazines), social media (FB, Youtube), TV, Apps, Radio/FM.

The knowledge of how emotions/feelings drive buying decisions & behavioural changes in a consumer, forms the core of an advertising strategy. Advertisements brings in these emotions into their story telling, which resonates with the audiences at an emotional/affective level. These feelings & emotions, sets the consumer into an act of buying, upgrading, change in behaviour.

A short video from Brand Equity show on ET Now, elaborating the above point: (Emotions behind the consumer buying decisions)

Examples of advertisements deploying these Six universal emotions in their story telling:
  • Happiness: Coke ran an ad series with tagline 'Open Happiness'. The ad associates the product (Coke) with the emotion/feeling of Happiness, in the consumer's mind. Hence for happy occasion like reunions, family get-together, celebrations, festivals etc the recall factor for Coke is high in the consumer's mind.

  • Sadness: HDFC Life ad series #memories for life, weaves the emotion of sadness into their story telling (portrayal of family members missing their dear one, on their special days). The insurance advertisement effectively uses sadness to make the consumer think - emotional loss can't be compensated, but at least one can leave behind financial independence for their family, God forbid if something untoward happens.

  • Anger: Policy Bazaar ad series 'Cancer se Ladai mein Insurance kaam aayega', depicts a cancer survivor, in anger (resentment) inspite of complete recovery. He is angry on himself, because he didn't purchase the insurance policy & he lost his life's savings for meeting the treatment cost. His anger (resentment) makes the audience think, what if this happens to me?
  • Disgust: In general, disgust being such a strong negative emotion advertisers are averse of incorporating it in their sales pitch. However, Govt. Campaigns which are targeted for social changes, behavioural changes, includes disgust to make their story telling more compelling & hard hitting. In these campaigns, disgust evokes a strong aversion in the mind of the audiences & makes them to critically introspect on their own behaviour.
Example, Anti-smoking campaign which portrays a disgusting deteriorating health symptoms (coughing) & a smoky, gloomy, unhealthy public place (canteen).

Example, Swatch Bharat campaign which portrays disgusting behavior of people, mindlessly throwing garbage, splitting, at public places, which causes the Lakshmi (Godness of wealth) to go away from these people's home. In Indian cultural context (religious), linking disgusting behaviour of garbage dumping & Goddess getting angry, will seed a thought in the audience's mind.
  • Surprise: Several jewelry companies, incorporate the emotion - surprise, into their story telling. The protagonist (giver) surprises his close one (e.g. spouse, partner, friend) by giving them a gift. The receiver expresses joy, happiness & feels elated upon receiving the surprise gift. Such compelling narrative, has the power to make the consumer replicate similar gifting behavior, for their loved ones.
  • Fear: Once again, in general fear being such a strong negative emotion advertisers are averse of incorporating fear in their sales pitch. However, fear is used specifically for specific segments e.g. OTC medicines, Insurances, Safety gears (helmets) etc. Fear is also incorporated for Govt campaigns which are aimed for social changes, behavioural changes. For e.g., campaigns for filing tax, campaigns for preventive health measures etc. Below is the link for advertisement. It's story telling narrative, portrays a daughter's fear for his father's (a small time farmer) well-being (what if there is no rain & he is in debt?). This fear leaves a lasting impression in the mind of the audience & they are able to appreciate the importance of the product (skymetweather), which offers real-time weather information to the farmer, assisting in his farming practices.

I hope this blogpost, has helped to some extend in raising understanding about how & why advertisements deploy emotions. In this concluding part, let's briefly look into the application of this Knowledge:
  1. Being self-aware advertisements appeal to our emotions & feelings. This self-awareness, puts rationality back into our decision making process.  
  2. Consumer (audience) can use their wisdom, to understand which advertisement has a positive influence (e.g. adapting healthy foods based on ads) & which advertisement has a negative influence (e.g. overindulgence, overspending). This understanding offers an opportunity for making well informed decisions.
  3. Children, teenagers are more gullible to advertisements compared to adults, due to their limited awareness & maturity level. As parent/guardian, we have a responsibility to raise awareness among children, teenager & guide them during their formative years. After all, today's children, teenagers are going to live their entire life in this era of Big Data, IoT, Social media, Digital & Vritual world. Therefore, knowledge of Behavioural Sciences is going to be a key life skill, for today's children, so that they can nurture their well-being during their adulthood!