Thoughts that originate deep within

Lessons from Career Counselling

 “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein.

fish tree

Ironically in our quest to give our child the best future, we miss out on this stark truth. Every child is a genius with unique strengths. The critical question is, Have you discovered that genius in your child, which could unlock his full potential. Or are we making a fish climb up the tree?!

The years of life from Class 9 till the child enters college is a very sensitive time. Body changes coupled with academic expectations and little knowledge of the various options, peer pressure and parental pressure makes it a heady mix that most kids feel very much out of place in these growing years. They don’t know where to look for, to get some solace or a patient listening ear. Many take the easier or available options and then end up performing much lesser than their potential and later I have heard many of them say… “I wish someone guided me well”

Instead what if we could gift our children the ‘Clarity’ they need at the right time, in making the right career choices, aligning their unique Strengths, Personality, Skill sets, Values and Aptitude?career couns

Having crossed a fair number of career counselling’s from ages 14 to 54 (that’s the oldest Career Counselling I have done), I have few stories that I want to share. This may help someone at some point of time. More than 93% students and professionals that I counselled in the past year have gone into the same fields which came out strong for them. For many, they were not even aware that those fields existed. Let me share with you few cases.

Case 1: A 20 year old Child is in 2nd year of B Tech. Not performing well and requesting the parent that he be allowed to stop B Tech and do something else. The parents feel that the child is not even trying to do his basic efforts. There is tension. Through word of mouth they approach me. The counselling very clearly reveals the child has NO aptitude for Engineering but would do very well in Marketing or any profession that requires Human interaction. They allow the change to happen and presently the boy is doing BBA Marketing. Parents tell me that the boy is doing well now.

Case 2: Child in class XII. Already chosen Biology stream and is pushing hard to clear the NEET. Her heart tells that she may not make it but she does not have the courage to tell the parents. Career Counseling reveals that the girl has lukewarm interest in medicine but she would exceedingly do well in Psychology. The girl feels relieved and studies well. As expected she did not find herself in the NEET merit but got through to Psychology in DU that too in a very good college.

Case 3: Class X student. Brilliant in all aspects. Yet she only wanted to become a Chef because she hated Physics. I requested the parents to change her Physics teacher or provide her extra coaching. With her potential she could do something much more than a Chef. The parents were not aware of such a need for their child. They provide her Physics coaching. Recently I get a call from her proud Dad. She has topped her school in all subjects with scores of 99/100/98 etc. She is very confident of Physics and is now wanting to take up PCM in Class XI to aim for IIT.

Case 4: Child has completed BTech Mechatronics. Doesn’t know what to do next. And when I ask  him why he chose BTech, he just said – “That is what everyone took, so I went along”. He was very unhappy in those 4 years but he managed to come out unscathed. Career Counseling displayed that he is good for Management skills and he had a preference for Logistics. Presently he has got admission in a University in Australia for his Masters in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

Case 5: Child in Class XII. Parent extremely annoyed that the boy is just not studying. Boy is very annoyed that the parents don’t allow him to study at his pace. Boy wants to do Engineering or Sports but parents feel he cannot make it with his current preparation. Career Counseling reveals that the boy is indeed strong in Engineering but his skills and abilities need to be improved. The boy on realization studies well, and is currently in an Engineering College. Both parents and the child are relieved.

Case 6: Child studying 3rd year of Engineering. Parent calls me and says the son wants to stop engineering and do something else. When I ask the child why he chose Engineering if his mind was not there, his reply stunned me –“I did not choose Engineering, it chose me. I was not given a choice and I did not mind going along with my parents’ choice. But now I am into it, I just can’t do it. It took me three years of poor performance to just give up and confess to my parents that my mind is not in it”.  The counselling reveals that the boy is indeed right. His strengths lay in Arts and Language. Currently he is doing his Bachelors in Sociology to pursue Civil Services later. A relief for everyone.

I have so many more cases to talk about. Suffice to say that playing to your strengths always pays in the long run. While there is no substitute to hard work, yet if it is done in the field that you are most suited for, the results will be visible, quickly and rapidly. Such counselling help to enable the child to focus, reduces the tension at home and makes life pleasant for parents and children.

Dr. Chinu Agrawal, PhD, Director and Founder of Feeling Minds, has trained a number of career counselors across the country. If you want to contact any of them, please feel free to write to and we shall help you and your child (above 14 years) unlock their true potential, following a scientific career counselling using the best psychometric tools to arrive at a career path aligned to their unique strengths.  So many have benefited, so Why not Your Child.

Wishing you and your kids a Happy Life! Happy Career! Happy Future!

Was Kerala Floods due to People and Policies? No!

My grandfather nearing 90 was evacuated this morning in Thrissur District. We stay close to Conolly Canal (named after HV Conolly, Malabar District Collector who built this in 1848). The canal which seems like a river flows about 100 metres from my house. After my grandpa reached my sister’s house, I spoke to him. What he told me stood in stark contrast to a message that has been circulating recently on social media.


The WhatsApp message floating in the social media says that Kerala ignored Gadgil Committee report regarding deforestation and building in hilly areas and that had its recommendations been followed the flooding would not have happened. This message is incorrect and only partially true.

Had Gadgil committee’s recommendations regarding flouting building norms in hilly tracts and sensitive areas been followed, yes some lives would have definitely been saved in those areas, where landslides occurred. But the rest of Kerala being totally flooded has NO relation to Gadgil Committee. Let me explain.

Our house is located in a village that has not seen much construction in the past 40 years because large tracts of land are held by one family who have allowed the land to remain untouched because they don’t require any income from the land. So there has been no encroachment in this area at all. During the conversation with my grandfather he revealed that he faced a similar situation in 1960 too. That time the flood waters had reached the house. He says it has now repeated after 58 years. Remember in 1960 there were no encroachments and no Gadgil Committee. Such a flood of this severity had come earlier too in 1924, when Mr. Gadgil was not born at all.

Then why did this flooding happen at such severity. The reason is heavy excessive rainfall that is far far greater than normal almost 200%, especially in the catchment areas of dams, forcing the dams to open up. That is the reason Kerala is flooded. Kerala has a relatively decent drainage system. Every year we do have some flooding in low lying areas and the problem compounds during high tides when the water flows inland.

Yes in few areas some people have encroached and built on drainage systems and they are paying a price for it. There is a huge mall in Ernakulam which has encroached on a drainage canal. They have been adequately punished by the rains now, with their cellar parking flooded completely. And so the excessive rains is the reason and not a displeased Lord Ayyapan, Bishop Franco or some Maulvi.Ac-road-mankobu.jpg.image.845.440

The rescue efforts from the Govt notwithstanding, it is the locals who have been organizing rescues on a massive scale with local resources. I have eye witness accounts how the local population has been rising to the occasion. Temporary relief camps in schools have been set up, and locals are ensuring that everyone is looked after. There are nearly 350,000 people already in shelters in Colleges, Schools, Temples, Mosques and Churches. But that is still inadequate compared to the catastrophe. They require clothing, food, medicines. The Govt require logistical support, boats, machinery, doctors, supplies and volunteers.

The devastation has been huge. The trauma even more. This is the time to stand together with our brothers and sisters in Kerala. Rather than discussing Gadgil report, now is the time to DO YOUR BIT by contributing to NGO’s or the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) and in case it doesn’t work for you then you may do it through or or



Let us put our effort to rehabilitate the people who have lost everything. Let our little help make a mighty ocean of love.

Rise up India – This is the time!

Olive Green Cookies: You too can Help by Eating one

When we talk of Jammu & Kashmir all that comes to our mind is the strife that is going on there, the agitations, stone pelting, terrorists being shot dead, army men losing lives…….. a population that feels disgruntled, and politicians making their career over this turmoil. But every now and then, there comes a story of goodness, struggle and success that emanates from that soil. One such was the story of Sehmat portrayed beautifully in the recent movie Raazi played by Alia Bhatt or the grit showed by Sepoy Aurangzeb before his death in the hands of terrorists.

There is another one that caught my attention recently. It is from the Jammu region of 6Samba. What was one thing common among seven women – 55 year old Biaso Devi & Chanchalo Kumari, 60 year Prakasho Devi, 56 year Sheeshna Kumari, 58 year Parkasho Devi & Gharo Devi and 26 year old Simmi Devi. They all were widows whose husbands had served in the Indian Army. After the death of their husbands, each one of them had a tale to narrate, one of suffering, loneliness and lack of finances. Each one struggled to make ends meet and look after their kids and family.

The Army in the local garrison was already well known for its close interaction with the local population. They had made a mark consistently guided by the Rising Star Corps HQ, Gurj Division and the Mission First Brigade who were well known for their Samba Super 40 academic excellence mission where in the local boys and girls had qualified for central competitive exams. That story is for another day.

The area is well known for walnuts and apples. Who doesn’t relish these goodies. While interacting with the locals one day and after listening to the sad stories of the widows, Brigadier Anil Raman hit upon the idea. Why not do something with the local resources and ensure the produce be marketed well so that there is an employment generation opportunity.

Aseem foundation, an NGO from Pune, have great experience of more than 215 years. They know and understand local problems in states like Jammu and Kashmir and the North-Eastern states. Aseem Foundation worked with the Army to establish the Olive Green Bakery at Samba under the aegis of Army Wives Welfare Organisation. The initiative involved a manufacturing point at Samba Military Station for special Apple Walnut Chocolates, Caramel Walnut Chocolates and Walnut Biscuits. All help was provided by the Army under Operation Sadbhavana. With the knowledge imparted by the Aseem Foundation members, the local produce of Apples and Walnuts were made into Apple Walnut Cookies under the brand name Olive Green Cookies.


These were then marketed all over India. You too can order your cookies. From today, let these cookies give you company along with your cuppa tea. It just costs you Rs 55/- for a box of tasty fresh 10 cookies. And it is delivered to your house through courier.

Four widowed women who were taken in this project work at the Olive 4Green Bakery. Today Simmi Devi proudly pays school fees of her daughter and takes care of her needs. Prakasho Devi is able to pay school fees of her two grand-children and also cater to their daily requirements. Chanchalo Kumari is able to help her son in day to day running of the house.   A week back Biaso Devi filled up admission form worth Rs 2000/- for her daughter Arti Devi from her first salary. These women are now beaming at this God sent opportunity and thank the Army for this new lease of life. A life of purpose, dignity and peace. Three more joined in later hearing about the new lease of respectable life this project has given them.

Great Work Aseem Foundation, Rising Star Corps, Gurj Division and Mission First Brigade and Brigadier Anil Raman, the man behind the idea. Kudos!

This Independence Day, You too can do your bit. Buy your cookies from them. Help these brave widows of Samba to sustain their lives with dignity. Get your first order going. TO ORDER Click here -> follow the process by filling your requirement.

Every bite you take goes into making a future for these soldier’s widows. Its time for my Cuppa tea with Olive Green Cookies.


Focus and Clarity: Twin Weapons for Success for Children

For a moment I want you to imagine that a person is in a railway station. And that person hasn’t decided where to go. What ticket would the person buy? Some of you, on hearing this, would even ask me if one did not know where to go, why the hell did that person come to a railway station in the first place? I would agree with your question.

Now imagine a child studying, without knowing what s/he wants to become. Isn’t s/he like the person in the railway station, doing something without knowing where s/he has to go.

Many parents have written to me or spoken to me that their kids have displayed greater focus in studies once they got clarity on what they wanted to do in life. This clarity they received after a scientific Career Counselling. This reinforces what Thomas Leonard said – Clarity Affords Focus.


What is Scientific Counselling? Scientific Counselling is when a child is assessed correctly for their Personality along with their Career Interests besides assessing them for their Skills & Abilities, their Career Values and Career Scenarios where they would remain happy. A comprehensive assessment only can give a clear picture. The child then is focused to study the stream of her/his choice knowing fully well that these are scientifically supported.

Unfortunately many schools fall for shiny brochures and organize mass Career Counselings. What actually being done is a Career Guidance which gives information about various streams. On the other hand Counselling is a very personalized affair. Many children have been misguided by some people making judgments based on their academic performance alone. One girl approached me having done two counselings from the same organisation and still was not clear as to what she needs to do to excel. Many others were given just reports which they were unable to decipher. Some people fell for cheap options, but it turned out to be a costly affair later when the child decided to change stream or course during graduation losing precious years or were plainly disinterested.

A good counselor has to spend considerable amount of time with the child to understand and guide the child without being prescriptive. The journey has to be exploratory. In the end the counselor has to decipher the comprehensive report with both the parent and child. The child should own and take responsibility for their career and not feel it was thrust down their throats.

What is the Ideal Age for Counselling?

9/ 10th Class: Any child in 9th and above or 14 years and above can be counselled. The best time is before the child completes 10th std so that they choose the right stream. I have seen that kids in colleges sadly struggling with some engineering degrees whereas they would have excelled in Psychology or Medicine. If and only if they were guided rightly during their 10th.

11/12th Class: Any child in 11th should do the Career counselling right away so that they get a year or two to prepare for the entrance exams of their choice. If the child is already in 12th then it has to be done immediately so that they do not miss any entrance exam application dates.

College: If the child is already in college and not clear what to do, then too it is beneficial so that they will know how to take a career path during post graduation.

Who Does this? Dr. Chinu Agrawal, PhD, founder of Feeling Minds has trained numerous career counselors across the country in her mission to cover a million children to find their sweet spot to remain happy in their careers. If you want to know your nearest counselor, feel free to write to me at with the child’s, name, age, city. Few of them do counseling online through a video call for those in cities where there are no counselors present.

Wishing you and your child a stress free life filled with clear vision, clarity and focus to succeed in Life.

Save Money through Timely & Correct Career Counselling

I lost 15 lakhs. Yes. 15 Lakhs. Yes, that’s the amount I lost for NOT having the career counselling done on time.



I never knew about the benefits of career counselling. It just happened to me thanks to my friend Subhaashini who guided my child. I got the career counselling for my child done when he was almost half way through XIIth std. Even then it helped him tremendously. He understood that what he was studying for, was not as per his strength. He then prepared for the course which came out tops in the counselling. He passed the competitive exam and secured admission in a good college by merit.

I can now share with you how I have lost almost 15 lakh rupees for not having done the counselling earlier which ideally should have been done in 9th/ 10th. Had I got his counselling done in 9th/10th, I would not have wasted 3.5 lakhs that I paid for his IIT coaching from his 11th standard. Had he got 2 years to prepare for the UCEED exam, he would have aced it and got admission in B.Des at IIT Mumbai which would have cost me a total of 5-7 Lakhs only. Instead now I am paying almost 19 lakhs for the complete course. So that is 3.5+19 – 7= 15.5 Lakhs…. hard earned money that I could have used for my next child or invested wisely. What a loss!

This is the amount I lost for a child for whom I got the counselling done, but Late. You may calculate for a child who has NOT done the counselling at all. There was this child who had returned from Engineering 1st year and did not want to pursue it any further. You are wise to imagine how much the opportunity costs would be and add to it all the heart burn, stress and running around.

I came across a child who told me that he was counselled in his school by someone who told him that he is ideally fit to pursue Engineering. When I asked him, what were the test that were conducted, he told me that it was based on the marks he scored in just his Skills & Abilities test. His science marks were high and hence he was guided to pursue Engineering. This is totally incorrect. The correct method has a decided advantage over choosing a career arbitrarily based on a few choices, parents’ choice, friends choice, some role model, fascination or glamour.

The Right Assessment. Remember that the best career for a child should ideally be based on an assessment combination of Personality, Career Interests, Career values and the scenarios he/she would face in life and of course the child’s Skills and Abilities measured in terms of Verbal Ability, Mathematical Ability, Visual and Spatial Ability, Logical Ability, Organizing Ability, Leadership Ability, Social Ability etc. Only an assessment that covers the entire gamut can be believed. In addition, the tests that are administered should have a high reliability and validity.

The Right Career Counselling will help a child, identify what are their chances of being “successful, happy and effective” in a chosen career. It helps them to understand themselves more deeply with regards to their potential strengths and areas of improvement. Getting a road map for improving in various aspects of a personality is a boon at this age. Otherwise they might have to wait for life’s lessons which may put them at a risk for more struggle later. It gives them an opportunity to know the wide World of Work. Many options may be available, which they would have considered, had they known that they exist.

Benefits. Children get more clarity on their strengths, finding out the best career options that lie hidden within. Parents find out their blind spots in correct guidance. Parents experience immense relief when they realize that all is not lost and there is tremendous scope and options available for their child. Most of them were looking for a treasure in the wrong place, they could not find it, and concluded there was no treasure at all….when in fact it was just there, undiscovered.

Right Time: Ideal time for counselling is 9th/10th. If they are in 11th, then it is best done immediately and if they are in 12th, do it TODAY. You may write to for more information with your child’s age and location. I will guide you to your nearest counsellor or help you through an online video call.

Let each child find their ideal path and excel in that.  So that their future job is not hard work anymore, but Fun@work!

May your children achieve the Pinnacle of their Potential!


Career Guidance & Counselling: Why should we do it?

There is a general feeling in today’s society that if you are good in studies one should take up Medicine or Engineering. Most other college options are taken on what is available amongst the many choices. Very few people actually look for what is best for the child based on their aptitude and personality.


Let me start with few examples. It was the year 1990. Computers era had begun. A bright student thought that computers field is the best and took up BSc Computer Science. He then went on to do Masters in that field. He never considered about his own personality fitment into that field. He was an extrovert with tremendous people skills who hated sitting alone. In the end, he never even worked more than 2 years in that industry. Today he is in a managerial position but in a field that he did NOT study. Imagine his potential had he gone for Business Management based on his aptitude, where could he have reached today.

Year 2017. Child currently studying in XIIth who got 10 CGPA in Xth standard CBSE. He wanted to join IIT. All of a sudden his parents are complaining that he is not focused. The child himself is confused which field is best. He thought two years back that Engineering was the way ahead, but suddenly feels his priorities have changed. He remains confused and the parents dumb founded.

Another child never knew that Design was his calling, till he was guided by a counselor based on his aptitude. He secured admission in a good college based on his scores in the entrance exam. The college academic submissions are so grinding, that he is sleep deprived for many days yet he is raring to give it a try while most of his friends have given up. Why? Because his aptitude and personality is best suited for that line of study. He never feels it is a burden.

We have numerous examples of children giving up life even after joining prestigious IITs. The suicide rates are highest there. Why would anyone who has succeeded so much take such an extreme step. Have you ever thought of it? There is a recent case where a girl after clearing the competitive NEET and getting admission to a Medical College has committed suicide. The classmates are saying that she was pushed into the field without taking her choice into consideration. Had any of them gone to a Career Counselor they would have reached their max potential with minimum efforts and each day would be fun instead of a dreary engagement. There seems to be a science behind it all.

Guidance and counselling are not the same. While Career Guidance talks about the world of work that is available, Career Counselling actually deals with the world of the individual. It is the task of a good counselor to match these two worlds to get the right fit, so that the child is not burdened.

There are some who go by the name Career Counselor without requisite certification or assessment tools for testing. Some offer services very cheap too. Many are online operators who perform the entire guidance based on outdated assessments on one parameter and actually may misguide the child.

I have experienced how much my child personally benefited from such counselling. So I wanted to help out parents and children. I searched and went to one of the leaders in the field, Dr. Chinu Agrawal, PhD, Founder Feeling Minds, who had immense experience. She has studied many popular tools being used for the Career Counseling, the world over and then designed a testing method that is extremely reliable, credible and scientific. She has trained a lot of counselors all over India. Her mission is to empower the children to make the right choices.

A good assessment of the child’s potential should be based on the child’s Personality, Career Interests, Career Values, Skills, Aptitude, Child’s Environment, Parental guidance and so on. This process has three parts to it. First, Initial Interview to understand the child and to guide him/her to the testing methodology and taking the 45 minute online test. Second part is the individual counselling based on the results. The final part is counselling along with parents to discuss the 32 page report which is exhaustive and guides the child to 5 top Career clusters that they may choose from. It is about exploring the various suitable career choices available after matching the World of Work and the World of Individual and then taking an informed decision.

It is possible that the child has other preferences. In such cases the counselor would explain the skills that are needed to be developed, to pursue that field of choice. The entire process and system is holistic keeping in view of the child’s interest, personality and the environment that he/she has grown up in. This is not to say that the child can’t change his choices. But a good counselling will minimize the risk of going to a wrong profession leading to a career change later.

This Career Counselling can be done on children who are 14 years and above. This is also recommended for those who are looking for a career change. Hence it is suited for adults who are looking for a second career, but do not know what to look for.

If we calculate the entire cost of the child’s preparation for exams, college education, and the cost of a wrong choice, then the cost of going to a good counselor is so minuscule. I would always encourage parents to advise their children to understand themselves better by taking guidance from a Career Counselor. It has helped my child immensely and it would help yours too.

Should you need more information on Career Counselors in your city or to do it online through Skype (in places where trained counselors are not available), do write to us – with the age, class of your child and city (with location). We would be happy to help and guide you. If your child is in class 9 or above, the Time is NOW!

May your Child reach his/her best potential. May they be Winners in Life. 

Is your Child going to Higher Classes? What Next?

Most of us have kids studying in higher classes. Some of us do not have much idea what to do further. Only a few children have a clear idea what to pursue next. Many of them just follow the crowd. As parents we encourage our kids to study well and crack the IIT. Not because it is best suited for our child but because it assures them a good future, and because neighboring Pammi aunty’s child did that and did it well.


I too fell for this trap, because I thought the grades which my child brought home right from Class 6 in a reputed school, were quite good. His class teacher in 10th always used to tell us during PTA meetings that I need not worry about my child. Most of his friends were planning the IIT-JEE route and he too expressed interest in it. So, as a good parent, I got him admitted in a popular IIT coaching institute. I thought, I have done the best thing for my child, even though it was a costly option.

11th class was tough. My child’s efforts were never lacking. However grades didn’t match up to the efforts. That is when my wife said, may be he doesn’t have the aptitude for this field. I rubbished it. I said, “More efforts is the only solution”. As days and months passed, I realized my child was getting more worried. I wondered, – “How come, a good student suddenly looks pale as compared to his former self”. 

So when he reached 12th, I had a word with my good friend Subhaashini, who is a professional career counselor. She suggested an online Career Assessment Program. They claim to be India’s #1 Career Assessment Test, which has been accessed by over 1 million students. It was affordable. The scores were Greek and Latin to me. But she interpreted it beautifully. She told us in a conference call, that scores indicated that the child had an aptitude for Engineering Design and not the classical Engineering at IIT. Now that was like a bolt from the blue. I had missed noticing something clearly all my child’s life.

All through his childhood he had been creating things in an innovative manner. At 6 years of age, he completed a Lego design meant for age 12+. Being a photograph enthusiast, I had clicked pictures of most of his creations. I thought every child was as creative as mine. We were blind to his aptitude in Design, although it was being displayed everywhere, in his school projects, in the things he made, in his drawings and the sketches stuck behind his door.

So I searched the net and found there were Design courses conducted by IIT itself but the entrance was through an entirely different set of exam called UCEED. I downloaded the past question papers and gave it to my child. He just took to it just like a duck takes to water. He found out more about the course. He spoke to people who were already undergoing the course. He liked what he heard. He prepared for it and wrote the exam. He qualified with a good score. He was called for Interview and Portfolio Presentation from a College offering B.Des, based on these scores. All those creations he made over the years came in handy, when he had to present his portfolio to the interviewing team and they were mighty impressed. He is now looking forward to join Digital Design. I thank the day we took the decision to go for the Aptitude test and to Subhaashini for her insights, and to God for having shown us this path.

Here is a suggested road-map, for all you parents. If your child is in 10th or completed it, it is the ideal time to get an aptitude test done. So that you and your child are clear about their true passion. You may not understand the Aptitude test scores, but when interpreted by a Professional Counselor and when matched with the displayed interest of your child, you will be able to find the right career path. Once you do that, it will be easy for you to enroll the child in the chosen stream in 11th which will be useful for that right-fit career.

Once the child reaches 12th, enroll for the admission alerts from a website called even though it costs some money. Do this in late August or early September, as the period of validity is for one year. This will help you get information regarding all entrance exams, their application start date, last dates for applying, dates of exam etc. It is a one stop shop. Now search the net for colleges offering the courses that your child has displayed an aptitude, and find out the admission tests/ procedures. Make a group of like minded parents/ friends using social media Apps like WhatsApp or Telegram to get inputs from others and also share costs. This kind of research and inputs will expand your choices exponentially and you will never miss out on the many options that are generally not known. You may assist your child with additional coaching if required based on their interest. Remember to apply in all the colleges/ exams giving you the options in the chosen field. Each application costs you about Rupees 1000-2000 and most have options to pay online. Create an excel sheet with dates for exams, dates for downloading the Hall ticket, booking slots for exams etc so that the dates do not clash. Many parents apply for exams even for those where their child does not have interest in. They justify giving the reason, “It gives Practice”. I leave this decision to you even though I don’t personally recommend it.

Keep the months April to June free for you to travel to various places if required for exams and interviews. Some parents feel that online exam is better than pen pencil exams. Even IIT-JEE has both options to choose from. Ask your child which option they are comfortable with. Choose exams/ colleges depending on your location preference, quotas, fee costs etc. Our choices would vary as per our need/ requirements.

Avoid forcing your child in a field that they are not interested in. It would be akin to asking a Rabbit to swim, or an elephant to climb trees. Remember Robert H. Schuller’s quote – “Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.” If the child’s aptitude and chosen career path matches, then one does not need to motivate the child, or force him to prepare. It will come automatically. Remember each child is special and unique, so comparing him with “Sharmaji ka beta” is the most unintelligent comment we can make.

Whatever the child has created, please keep a record with pictures. You never know when they would come in handy, the way it came for me. Encourage the child in whatever they do passionately, one day their passion may be the source for their daily bread.

I wish you all make the right decisions in your child’s future and wish them admission to the best colleges and studies that will make their life a pleasure to live every day.

Remember words of Confucius –“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”

Disclaimer: The links given in this article are based on my personal experience. I have NO business links with those organisations, neither am I promoting them. You are free to choose based on your research –

What ails our Children? Are we Parenting Right?

Have you ever wondered if you are parenting right? Are you one of those parents who do not interfere much in your child’s growth and allow them to find their way, or are you one of those who help their children in everything and guide them to perfection?


Whatever category you may be, here is something for you to chew upon. You may thereafter make whatever corrections you feel right.

In the past 4 years I have had the opportunity to train nearly a thousand students from ages 7 to 16. I have met them in all ages, sizes, shapes and nationalities. The best among them as far as satisfaction level are the young ones from 7 years to 10 years who are bubbly and open. The older lot of are far more inquisitive and a bit guarded. One has to earn their trust before they open out unlike the young ones.

Recently I was involved in a Training where children had to build and program Robots. It was a 7 day 4 hour per day course. I had two batches to handle in a day. Across the batches I noticed some common behavior traits. And this got me thinking.

Robotics as you would understand in a mix of technology, hardware and software along with oodles of logic and reasoning. This means that what can go wrong will go wrong. The things that go wrong are usually very simple and can be easily resolved or overcome with a bit of patience, reasoning, logic and thinking.

Every day we did encounter such issues. As a policy I never went forward to resolve the issue when it occurred. I used to ask the children to resolve the issue themselves. One child even went to the extent of complaining to his parent that I wasn’t helpful when they faced a problem. The common behavior that I noticed was that they were a very impatient lot. They wanted the Robot to work in the first instant almost like the ATM giving money when we insert the card. Failure was not acceptable in their rule book. They used to blame the kit, blame it on their group, blame it on the software, but never ever took the blame on themselves. Very few had the patience to go through the process and rebuild or reprogram to find the fault to understand, why something that ought to work, did not work at all. Many just gave up. Few lost interest in no time. Some children wanted to do everything themselves as they did not trust their peers. Only few displayed true leadership and good communication to get everyone to work as a team. I kept observing the various reactions, day in and day out.

I only stepped in when I felt there was no progress. And very soon the issues were resolved and lessons were driven home. My observations about the behavior led to some revelations regarding how we bring up our children in today’s world where inter personal interaction has become more through gadgets than face to face. Where material things have taken over human feelings.

Most of these behaviors stemmed from the fact that parents in our enthusiasm to protect our kids, to save our time, have been delivering ready-made solutions to our kids rather than they discovering it themselves. Kids have been over protected because we wouldn’t want them to be disappointed. That has made them wanting to win each time. There seems to be a refusal to accept that they could fail once. There is a need to drill home a lesson that failing is not a bad thing and what is important is to try again and be patient to get the work done or reach the goal.

Single kids, being brought up in neighborhoods with even lesser kids, hectic schedules of books and homework, have caused kids to remain at home instead of going out to play. This had led to lack of communication skills to resolve issues, to work as a team and get things done. This behavior could be a cause for a big failure when they grow up.

It is time therefore for us to be less of a parent and more of a guide allowing them to explore, make mistakes, learn the consequence and get hit by Life, rather than giving them Life in a platter. It is essential that we do not help them out every time they get stuck. We just need to show them the way and they need to walk that way, rather than we doing everything for them. We need to be tough at times, so that their life becomes easy later.

Little did I realize facilitating a Robotics Class would involve much more than mere technology. Along with Robotics I ended up imparting the much needed Life Skills and learning from them as well.

What is our parenting style? How well equipped are our children with the Life skills crucial for a Happy , Successful life?

Let’s pause and reflect a moment.

Pay More – You don’t get More: The BSNL Paradox

One always feels, that when we pay more, we always get better service and more benefits. While this should be the norm across many industries, it may not hold good if you are a BSNL telephone user. If you are not a BSNL user you may stop reading further.


I am one of those satisfied BSNL users of both mobile and landline broadband till couple of days back when I got a very unreasonable bill. Four years earlier when I shifted to the current place, I got a FTTH connection (Fiber To The Home). It was always ON, blazing speeds, unlimited downloads for Rs 1099 a month. I was happy paying the amount. Somewhere down the line around 6 months back, there were pop ups stating I have consumed my quota and the speeds would throttle to lower speeds unless I clicked a top up amount of 300 bucks. The slow speeds were good for me and I did not bother. But I still got a bill two months back for an additional amount. I thought either my wife or kids must have clicked for higher speeds. I paid and kept quiet. This month that bill increased by additional 800 bucks. That’s when I realized something was indeed fishy.

Reliance has disrupted the internet data market and was giving away 1 GB data for 10 bucks and here I was paying so much. I called up the BSNL Customer Care and conveyed my apprehensions. The girl at the other end said, “Sir, why are you in such a plan where you get far too less data. You need a plan change.” I got irritated, – “What? Do you mean that I have to shell out more?” She immediately corrected me “No, Sir, there are far cheaper plans out there with much more Data. Your Plan is really really very old”. It was then I realized that my ancient unlimited plan had just 8 GB max download at 10 Mbps and unlimited thereafter at much slower speed. I was smug and happy with the service totally unaware that the world of Data had grown bigger with lower costs. I requested her to change the plan, to which she asked me to visit the BSNL Office.


Next morning I was there at the BSNL Office in front of another lady. I asked her why I was being fleeced when I am paying more. “Don’t you think, I should be getting the best service, for the amount I am paying?”. She just shrugged her head and in a typical Govt fashion asked me to change into another plan that would only cost me half but will give me nearly 10 times the Data at even higher speeds. 75 GB at 15 Mbps speed for just Rs 645/- That shock did not stop. I also found that if I paid another 98 bucks, all my calls would be free from the landline to any network. Then I got yet another shock, that at half my present post paid connection rate, I could have three times Data, and unlimited free calls to any mobile or landline network. I realized the cost of not keeping abreast with the changes. I have been shelling out far more for far less. I immediately opted for all the required changes which will save me at least 2000 rupees per month.

To all my friends in whose mind the bulb just lit, go to your BSNL office and change your plan to the current ones. And check every July and April for changes. They never tell you if you are paying more for getting less.

I was thinking how much we paid for a call way back in 1995. A five minute call on STD used to cost me nearly a hundred bucks. Thank You Mr. Ambani. You have really whacked the shit out of these sleeping giants. I got benefited.

Where are you investing next? 


The Tipping Point: Give Me One Last Chance!

Some time back, I got a call – a girl’s voice and I expected it to be another of the pesky marketing calls. She introduced her name and said, “I don’t know if you remember, I had spoken to you long back”. Her name was unique, it connected somewhere in my mind. I quickly put two and two together and replied, “Of course I remember you. You are Abhi’s sister”. It was her turn to be surprised. She said, “How come you remember my voice after so many years?” I confessed, “Your name is unique, and I follow Abhi’s updates on Facebook. Your name did come up couple of times and I just guessed, it must be you”. She was asked by her brother to contact me, to know more about a career in Corporate Training.


Her call opened up the closed pores of my memory. It was Y2K. Computers were being introduced in a big way at the National Defence Academy, Khadawasla, Pune – The Cradle of Leadership. Technological advancement was happening big time, yet the cadets remained the same. Trying the same old ways to outwit the Divisional Officer’s (Div-Os) without realizing that these instructors had walked the very same path many years back and were aware of all the Tricks of the Trade. Yet at the end of the day, we often learnt a lot, from these young men.

The squadron I was posted as a Div-O was doing well. Things were going in absolute harmony, till one fine day, Cadet Abhi, a fourth termer from another Squadron, was relegated on disciplinary grounds for some major breach of Discipline. He was transferred to our Squadron and my Division. My Squadron Commander Sqn Ldr Sharad Srivastava, told me, “Sajan, this boy requires guidance.

I was a No Nonsense guy, who disliked people who broke the rules. I was nicknamed “Bajauddin” by the cadets because I was extremely strict. I knew this because this name cropped up during the spoofs done by cadets during the end of term Squadron Socials. During my first interview with Abhi, I made myself amply clear, “Son, you have to play by the rules, You have made a mistake, for which you have been punished with relegation. It is a big blow, I understand. Now it is time, you got your act together and be disciplined. This Squadron and I, will show NO mercy at all.”

The next thing I did, was to take out the cyclostyled sheet and send a Withdrawal Warning Letter to his father stating that, he better advise his son, Abhi, to improve his Discipline, failing which he would be withdrawn from the Academy. The rule position was very clear. You could not get relegated in the same subject again in the same term. And in all, you couldn’t get Relegated thrice in all the terms put together. The cadet would be withdrawn from the Academy if that happened. Unlike other subjects where one had to clear regular tests, Discipline was assessed differently. Punishments were awarded for every breach of discipline and published in the Academy Routine Order. Each punishment carried with it a physical endurance activity as well as some negative points. For example, Extra Drill would be 1 point, Endurance Training Run awarded the cadet 2 points, a Hike to Sinhgarh Fort collected 4 points, and a Restriction added 7 points. Anyone who collected more than 200 negative points in a single term, was relegated on Disciplinary grounds. So Abhi, having collected 200 negative points, got relegated right in the middle of the term itself.

Unfortunately, this boy was of a different mettle. He just couldn’t care less. He went about his life as if nothing happened. Very soon, I received a report from the Academics Dept about his continued absence from class. I confronted Abhi and he promptly confessed that he had bunked. He used to sit in the library instead and browse through his favourite books, magazines or the internet. I awarded him 5 days Restriction, and counselled him NOT to miss classes anymore. But this boy cared even lesser. In less than a month I received a number of reports that he had missed his classes again. This time I marched him up to the Squadron Commander, who warned him to be careful and awarded him 7 days Restriction for the repeat offence. Since he was approaching the half way mark for relegation (in his case withdrawal), a letter was shot off to his parents asking them to warn their son. Surprisingly, I never got any response from his parents.

Yet this boy would not improve. He was caught bunking again and this time due to the nature of repeated offence he was marched up to the Battalion Commander, who awarded him 14 days Restrictions. I called Abhi and advised him that he was continuing to play with fire and that he better be very careful. If he received any more punishments then he would be withdrawn from the Academy. Despite this, Abhi collected some more punishments elsewhere and crossed the 200 points threshold. As per rules, he was to be withdrawn from NDA. A letter went out from the Academy asking his father to come and collect his son after paying up the training costs. His father had to pay up almost 1.5 lakh rupees for the 4 semesters he was at NDA. I thought, this boy will never learn in life.

The end of semester was in progress. One day, a scraggy looking, tired and weary, thin, bearded man walked into my office. He introduced himself as Abhi’s father. I was very annoyed with him. I asked him why he had never bothered to reply to my numerous letters. Now that his son had been withdrawn from the Academy, what was the use for him to finally come. He spoke with lot of humility, “Sir, I can’t read. Letters used to come to me, and I used to call up Abhi. He used to tell me that they were letters praising him for good work done in the Academy. It is only when I got the letter asking me to pay up huge amount of money, I took the letters to my office colleagues and they told me to rush here.”

I was annoyed further and told, “Now, nothing can be done. Please take your son back. Kindly pay up the training cost at the earliest.” His reply resounded like a tight slap to me, I am a class IV employee from Railways. I hardly earn anything. This is a huge amount for me. I came here on a Railway pass, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to. All what I earned in my life, I have educated my children. When Abhi qualified for NDA, I thought a huge burden is over. This much amount of money I can never pay back in this lifetime. And the he delivered his punch, that left me stunned, “Even if I SELL my wife and daughter in Agra market, I can’t raise this much money. You do one thing, please take my son and SHOOT him. He doesn’t deserve us.” I was knocked out!

Tears rushed into my eyes. What have I done? How could I ever resolve this issue? How I wish the father had spoken to me earlier. How I wish I was not instrumental in the punishments awarded to this boy. No one, I knew could ever turn the clock back. This poor family was doomed, and I cursed myself partly for it. I thought there is only one man who could do something. That was the Commandant, Alas! He could do Nothing, now that the orders for withdrawal had come from the Army Headquarters.

I pulled a chair near the computer and furiously typed out a letter addressed to the Commandant from the Father. I poured out the angst of a defeated parent into words. Took a print out and made Abhi’s father sign it. I requested him to post it from his hometown. I told him, I was sorry for what had happened, but the only hope was Commandant acting on this letter. With that letter and Abhi tagging along, with drooping shoulders and his face, writ with pain, the poor man left my office. I got calls from his sister and mother. I told them, I was sorry for what happened, it was Abhi’s mistake, but now, nothing could be done by me. Abhi stood withdrawn from the National Defence Academy on Disciplinary grounds. His father was given some more time to pay up.

Vacations started and I went for my Annual Leave. The pain of this incident receded. Soon the next semester commenced and things started buzzing again in the Squadron. One day I was going to the office and all of a sudden, one cadet jumped into my path. I screeched to a halt almost falling off my Bajaj scooter. The cadet gave a smart salute, standing in perfect attention in crease-less uniform. I realized, it was Abhi standing there. I was shocked, and sweetly surprised. I asked him what he was doing here.

He narrated to me that, he went back to his hometown. He realized that he had brought immense sorrow to his parents and sister. He prayed if and only if he had GOT ONE MORE CHANCE. Miraculously the letter did its work. They received a reply from the Commandant informing that he was taking Abhi back, for one last time. I looked up, thanked God, turned towards the other God inside Sudan Block, the Commandant – Lt Gen SBS Kochar, PVSM, AVSM and thanked him as well. Now Abhi was in another Squadron. He then promised me one thing, standing right there on Trishul Marg, “Sir from today, I will not get even one punishment in my life. You will see this”. 

I kept a close watch on Abhi, even though he was in another Squadron. True to his word, throughout his next three semesters, he did not get a single punishment. Not only that, he did not get any punishments at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.  He kept in touch with me through letters. He took my guidance to opt for his Choice of Arm. He asked me if his dossier from NDA would ever come in his way when he became an Officer. I assured him, what happened in the Academy stayed there. Soon he informed me about him donning his stars as a Commissioned Officer. I was relieved. My Cadet had kept his word.

IMA Passing Out Parade-

Occasionally I got his letters. Years later, we got in touch on Facebook. He was doing well in life. His passion for photography was unmatched. In one of his updates, his Dad, Mom and sister were standing in the picturesque surroundings of Wellington where he was posted. I was not only happy but proud of this reformed cadet.

Today, Lieutenant Colonel Abhi is doing exceptionally well. He was awarded three Commendation Cards for Gallantry in consecutive years. His undercover work broke the back of one NE Militant group where the entire hierarchy was apprehended. He has completed a tenure abroad with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. I am confident that soon he will be approved for his next rank too. His sister, works for a top MNC traveling often to US. Their Dad is retired, content and happy. A few weeks back, when we talked over phone, I was asking Abhi about his Dad, he said, “My biggest assets in my life are my Parents. My family today is what it is, all thanks to the love and care given by my parents.”

The long journey from the dingy Class IV houses of Railway Colony in Agra to the place where they are today, really is a journey that gives hope to many. Along with it, I learnt very valuable lessons to….. Never Judge a Book by its Cover or even the first few chapters. And to always provide another chance to someone who makes a mistake, once twice, thrice….

Give them their, One Last Chance! You never know when the change happens suddenly, to last a lifetime. Never ever ever give up, on anyone!

This article is dedicated to Abhi, his Dad, Sis and Mom, and to Gen Kochar.

Jai Hind!

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