Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A design pattern to make your toddler eat?

In software programming we have design patterns to solve recurring and frequently occurring problems. I wonder if anyone discovered a design pattern to make your toddler eat?
Courtesy here
Found the picture on the web, I bet the food or may be the entire bowl was courtesy Photoshop :). Rarely have I seen Avani happy about eating. In fact when she's extremely hungry she gets super cranky and well not excited (I wish) at the sight of food.

A usual meal follows this sequence:

  1. Ask her if she's wants to eat- which she says Yes
  2. Get the food on the dining table
  3. Before the even the first bite she will ask for "nani" (Jump to step 8 for explanation :)
  4. Coax, plead to eat
  5. May take couple of bites and stop
  6. Then make light threats "bahar leke nahi jayenge", "garden jaana hai na" etc for the next few bites
  7. Stop again - at this point nothing works
  8. Show her favorite video "Nani teri morni ko mor le gaye" on phone. After this its relatively smooth till she's really full. Lately she has been asking for specific videos! (Batameez, Kathi, Chidiya/Aunty, Monkey, Jimmy)
We have been trying to get her to like and enjoy her food (without using distractions) - hopefully we'll get there at some point! 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Don't Panic

I got a new phone from AT&T (iPhone 4S) this week. I have been using the GPS & google maps on it to navigate Charlotte "ki galiyan" extensively. I was on my way to a friend's place when inexplicably the GPS on the phone decided to play a foul trick on this poor little brown fella. So I am driving around in the streets of a foreign town, that too after a really long time in a foreign country, with a GPS showing my really really approximate location - within a half km radius. Its for this very situation you need to read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or at least its cover:
Courtesy here
Its a best seller because of it has the words "Don't Panic" written in large friendly letters on the cover :) (1). So after about 2 hours of trying to reset my phone, driving around in crazy circles, getting scared of stopping in unknown neighborhoods and doing all of this over again, I found my way to the safety of the place I call my home these days.

That's just what we need!

Ever wonder how frequently we use sarcasm in our speech. Its so habitual that you forget who you are talking to. Meera (my 4 year old niece) & Avani (my 15 month old daughter) are frequently at receiving ends from their respective mothers. Sample this:
  1. When she refuses to eat - Khana mat kha! phir pet nahi dukhega to kya
  2. When she skipped her day naps - Tu so mat! aur phir rotey baith
  3. When she's throwing things - Wo tod de tu!
  4. When she's rolling on the floor  - Aur poch le purey jameen ko apne kapdo se!

If I were hearing this as a child, it would be really confusing to understand why I am being shouted at, when I am doing exactly what I am told:

  1. Don't eat your food
  2. Don't sleep
  3. Break that
  4. Roll on the floor
This is really funny to observer and I guess a bit damaging - depending on how your child takes it. I think its just better to make it very clear on what you expect from your kid rather than getting frustrated and resorting to sarcastic language. Some food for thought...

Thursday, January 23, 2014


I recently tried online shopping for clothes as part of the GOSF on jabong.com. The overall experience was surprisingly satisfactory. Like most people I have had a mental block for shopping for clothes, shoes & other apparel without trying them on. However the variety and the size of their inventory and the huge discounts they were offering encouraged me to take a leap of faith - with very pleasing results.

Some of the things I liked over traditional shopping:
  1. Perennial discount offers that give you better deals than any year-end mall sale
  2. Massive inventory - so no dearth of choices
  3. Amazingly simple & free return policy - I had to fill an online form and the courier picked it up from my house. Money was credited back in a day after the pickup.
  4. Didn't have to drive to the city for visiting a mall :)
And some improvement areas:
  1. Introduce an option to get your clothes altered (obviously with no returns)
  2. Get rid of coupon codes to avail discounts - if you want the discounts to reach a broader audience just offer the discounts as part of standard checkout process. Why should I have to enter a coupon code to avail an offer.
  3. I prefer my order to be shipped together, rather than arrive a item at a time (due to different retailers)
And the reason for the title:

flipkart.com has also expanded its offerings from books & electronics to fashion with an equivalent inventory.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Does a fox eat grapes?

My niece Meera, who's about 4 and a half, attends kindergarten. She has a story telling session today. Her teacher gave her a short story of Aesop's fox & the sour grapes.
Courtesy here
I asked her if she understood the story - which was funny because she still does not understand the meaning of "understand" :).  So I tried explaining the story in words she would comprehend with a mix of Hindi & English. Got as far as "fox tried to jump, aur fox gir gaya (the fox fell while jumping)". The moral of the story that was given to her was "Try, try, don't cry" - I am sure even a child twice her age will not understand the "sour grapes" analogy that the story hints at.

I found the entire idea ridiculous, trying to have children recite stories when they are not at a stage to understand the language that's used in it. So I gave her my version of the story:
Once a fox was very hungry. He was trying to look for food - he found cheese in the fridge (which Meera likes) but could not open the fridge. He found chuda in the dabba (again something Meera likes) but he could not open the dabba.
He came across a tree that had a bunch of grapes but was very high. He tried to jump (make her jump) but could not reach the grapes (kyonki bahut ooncha tha). Jumped more but he fell down. Then he saw a chicken passing by. He caught it and ate it and said (pat on the stomach) "Yummy".
Moral of the story: Chicken is very tasty
Courtesy here
As to the original question - foxes are carnivores.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Short trip around Pune

We made a short trip last Sunday to the Lohgadh Boat Club. Nice place for 3-4 hour visit.

IMO the boating's a bit on the expensive side - we paid 1400 for a ride on the speed boat. No peddle boats available (my favorite kind). There's a restaurant providing a fantastic view of the sunset. The snacks we were served was pretty good, onion bhaji & omelette. There's also a random collection of animals (peacocks, ducks, cats, horse-ride) which would definitely excite the kids (me as well :). The 3 kids we had with us definitely enjoyed the visit.

The shortest road via Somatane Phata is not good, it took us hour and a half from Chinchwad. I recommend taking the road from Kamshet, which we took while coming back, and was much better.
Recommend stopping at Kinara Dhaba, Sunny Dhaba or Tony da Dhaba for dinner while returning via the old Mumbai-Pune Highway.
Some pics:
Couple of pet friendly featherless peacocks
Prachi, Aadit, Pooja & Avani in the speed boat

The Agarwals