Thursday, 19 February 2015


All living beings (at least most of them) need their share of sleep every day. It's sleep that gives our minds and bodies the time to relax and recharge our batteries. Without our 40 winks (or more), we would never have the energy to do any work. Research has shown that man can survive for a month or more on just water, but without sleep, he will SURELY die in 11 days.

Human adults, no matter how busy their lives might be, never compromise on their sleep. They devise innovative methods and put to use all their time and situation management skills to get some sleep. Some of us are fortunate enough to have chilled out working hours. As a result, most adults tend to have more or less fixed sleeping hours. With kids, however, things are a little complicated. They obviously don't follow a fixed sleep pattern, their body clocks are simply not from this world, and adults have to struggle to tuck them into bed so that they themselves don't lose out on their sleep. All parents will vouch for the fact that kids have given them sleepless nights and drowsy days.

My son is barely 15 months old now. But at close to 2 feet in height and enough strength in his limbs to knock out Chota Bheem, he's way past the days when swaddling could get him into slumber mode. Me and my wife have spent sleepless nights dealing with a cranky kid in the wee hours. A cheerful kid on a night prowl isn't any better, what with him practicing hair pulling on the wife and WWE-style wrestling maneuvers on yours truly at 3-friggin-o'clock in the night, or even  simply jumping up and down and making eerie noises or shouting and laughing aloud in the still of the night.

But being resilient adults, we tried and tested a few methods to manage mayday. Some work most of the time, some worked only initially, and some gave the false impression of working only because our son had pity on us and played along. So, for the benefit of young parents, and soon to be parents, here's what we did:-

1) Hum a tune - You need not be a Shreya Ghoshal or a Kishore, or even a sleep-inducing singer from the 50s to be able to pull this off. You don't even need to know lyrics - you could fit the lyrics of Jack and Jill to the tune of a kid-friendly version of a Marilyn Manson track to get the desired effect. Use his pet name to come up with a song like "Shonu boy, sleepy boy" to the tune of the Spiderman song (old tune) for best results. Psst: Avoid taking a video clip of your antics to avoid embarrassing yourself in front of family and a grown-up kiddo in the future.

2) Pretend you're sleeping - This initially seemed to have a wonderful magic wand-esque effect. Within a minute (or maybe 10...patience is a virtue), your kiddo is likely to go into hibernation like you. Beware: This is one game in which he/she can be a step ahead of you and play along for some time before giving you a rude shock later.

3) A head massage - Works wonders, especially when it's done by a favourite grandparent. Here again, it's not a privilege that your kid might have accorded to you, so no guarantee.

4) Hand him/her a feeding bottle - Some kids tend to sleep during breastfeeding. Using a feeding bottle can replicate the effect. Dunno why it works.

5) Entertain the kid - A lot of times, kids are hyperactive simply because they need your attention and want you to indulge them. Reading a story book, getting into an impromptu jig, playing with toys along with them can give them a reassurance of your presence and their well-being. On the flip side, you might end up losing your sleep for the night while he/she bids goodnight.

Watch the video below to see how Pampers can ensure at least 12 nights of peaceful and comfortable sleep for your child.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015


There is an English phrase that sounds cliched and done-to-death. It goes "Live Life to the Fullest". A simple phrase, without any difficult spellings, without words that are hard to pronounce, and yet a phrase that is JUST SO HARD to put into action.


Because our lives have become so mechanical that we hardly find time to do much. Everyone wants a piece of us - our bosses, colleagues and partners, our families, our neighbours, our subordinates, the government, society, and even ourselves. Most of us end up giving 99% of our lives to work and family, with less than 1% left for ourselves. Life is a mad rush, which begins as soon as we begin to work and start setting and achieving one goal after another. Thereafter, we get caught in an endless loop of never-ending worries.

So what would I do if life was without worries? What would I do if there was no fear of failure? What would i do if I was guaranteed a chance to start afresh after every failure without much damage from a fall?

Here are 5 things I would have done if life was BEFIKAR UMAR BHAR:-

  1. Go globetrotting - Those close to me know that I love places of historical importance. So be it a fort, or a palace, or a museum, or maybe even an ancient torturing device, I'd love to take a piece of history away with me on every tour. I wish I could visit as many historical sites in the world - right from castles in England/Scotland/Wales/Ireland, to the pyramids in Egypt, to Indian Forts, to ancient underground tunnels, to medieval churches. I'm sure though, that one life isn't enough to see everything.
  2. Play a musical instrument - I'm a great fan of music - be it ghazals, or filmi stuff, or R&B, or Gospel, or even Death metal, I listen to a wide range of genres. I always wanted to play the drums, but I figured it would be expensive to buy a drum kit. As a college kid, guitars fascinated me too, like all young dudes I'm sure (they still fascinate me). I tried learning the guitar, but I guess I lost patience too soon when I couldn't pick barre chords or identify chords by ear. But someday I wish I could play an instrument like a pro. And maybe even do a gig with friends.
  3. Try out all kinds of cheese - I'm a big cheese lover. I love my cheddar and gouda, and wanna try some other varieties. Unfortunately, cheese tends to get converted to lard on various parts of my anatomy, and so I have to shy away from indulging (besides the fact that some varieties of cheese are too heavy on the pocket as well). But someday, I wanna indulge without a care in the world.
  4. Write a book - I always thought that writing a book is a difficult task, but after having interacted with a few writers, I realised that the actual struggle starts after the book has been written. It entails a lot of money (if you want to self-publish), time (writing, proof-reading, editing, promotions, approaching publishers, etc.), and patience. But if life was any simpler, I wish I could write a book - maybe an anthology is more practical.
  5. Go on a killing spree - The world is becoming an increasingly horrible place to live in, what with heartless terrorists and criminals gaining power and control, and doing their stuff at will, without any resistance. If life was BeFikar, I'd like to go trigger happy on these scum.

Unfortunately, those who have responsibilities and loved ones depending on them can not feel Befikar, no matter how hard they tried. But there are some things that can give you some sense of security about your dear ones' well being and future, no matter how little it might seem. Insurance is one such thing.

For 5 reasons to be Befikar Umar Bhar with IDBI Federal in association with Ageas, visit the link

This post is written for IndiHappyHours Campaign  #BefikarUmarBhar