Tidbits: Aug 2017

A Beautiful Mind

One morning, I was pitching in for the wife who was travelling on work, and the breakfast conversation was about how best to get the kids’ lunch boxes ready. I hadn’t quite processed what I had to, and was thinking aloud about what to do next…

Papa: So, we have one long break and one short break for each of you, plus a football class for one of you. This means we need more than the usual lunch boxes.

Tiger: And, I want noodles – two packets.

Papa: Ok, but that will mean two more lock boxes. Let me see if I can find them.

Tiger: It’s simple. Take this one for my short break, and that one plus the other one for my long break.

Papa: That’s a good solution, thanks.

Tiger: (with a mischievous smile) Reading leads to an analytic mind!

Who would’ve thought?!


Loss Leader

Tiger is now nearly 10 years old, and Pumpkin completed 13 earlier this year. So I thought it was a good time to get them introduced to some concepts that affect the world of business and economics. I picked up a copy of the Mint and took a word from there…

Papa: Shall we do a pop quiz on words you may or may not know?

Both: OK!

Papa: Do you know what “loss leader” means in the business context?

Both: Nope

Papa: If you were to take a guess, what would you think it means?

Tiger: The term used to describe when an important leader dies

Pumpkin: Someone who manages the business when it’s down

Who would’ve thought?!

Dead or Alive!

Dinner time is that time of the day when the Bachwani family gathers around the dining table for a good meal and conversation. Every once in a while, we try to ask interesting questions of each other, giving every one at the table a chance to respond.

Here’s what happened one fine evening…

I asked the family: “Which Indian personality would you like to meet in person, if there were no constraints whatsoever?” Once we had all the answers, I expanded the question to include foreign persons, folks that are no longer alive (Indian or foreign), and finally, any fictional character.

It was a fascinating exercise in discovering our respective lenses and (current) priorities. And, I’m sure it will make for a great conversation, some day, when these answers are long forgotten…

Tiger (all of 8 years old!)

Indian alive – Zakir Hussain (Tabla maestro)
Foreigner alive – Ludacris (Rapper)
Indian dead – Mahatma Gandhi
Foreigner dead – None
Fictional character – Hulk, but without the anger!

Pumpkin (12 years)

Indian alive – Hrithik Roshan (Filmstar)
Foreigner alive – Taylor Swift (Pop Diva)
Indian dead – Mahatma Gandhi
Foreigner dead – Albert Einstein
Fictional character – Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

The Mrs.

Indian alive – Farhan Akhtar (Filmstar)
Foreigner alive – Barack Obama
Indian dead – Jawaharlal Nehru
Foreigner dead – William Shakespeare
Fictional character – Richie Rich!


Indian alive – Raghuram Rajan (RBI Governor, Economist)
Foreigner alive – Chris Nolan (Hollywood Director)
Indian dead – Chanakya (Kingmaker, Strategist)
Foreigner dead – Richard Feynman (Nobel Laureate, Physicist)
Fictional character – Sherlock Holmes

There you have it.

Tidbits: June 2016


Ever so often, I make it a point to scan the daily news and share some topics of current affairs with the kids, so that they may learn about their world (and, hopefully, avoid other’s mistakes from being repeated).

Off late, the newspapers were full of stories on how Vijay Mallya was absconding from the country. So, Mallya was the topic of discussion, that fateful morning…

Papa: Do you know about Vijay Mallya, the owner and CEO of Kingfisher Airlines?

Papa: Well, he borrowed a lot of money from various banks, and has left the country without repaying those loans. That is why the newspapers are full of stories on him and on how he should be made to pay.

Tiger: How much money did he borrow?

Papa: He owes the State Bank of India nearly 9,000 crores, and SBI has now filed a case against him in court to get that payment back.

Tiger: But, that’s not fair. What about the “interest”?!

Imagine that!

Here, I was trying to simplify the story for his benefit, instead of talking about how the principal plus interest amounted to nearly 9,000 crores. And, this 8-year-old was sharp enough to spot that if someone has borrowed X amount, he owes the bank X plus the interest on the borrowed amount.

If this is the future of India, we are in good hands, wouldn’t you say?


Tea Time

The wife and I were having a bit of a tiff on who makes better tea between the two of us. On a whim, I asked my 12-year-old daughter to intervene…

Papa: Pumpkin, will you help us settle a heated debate? Who makes better tea – mama or me?

Pumpkin: How do we do that?

Papa: Well, mama and I will both make a cup of tea each, and you can taste and tell us which cup tastes better. Agreed?

(She pauses to process it, before replying…)

Pumpkin: OK, but I have one condition. I will judge it based on which cup of tea tastes better, not who I like more!

What more could one ask for?

Tidbits: Feb 2016

Lottery Winnings

I wanted the kids to have the experience of buying a lottery and trying out their luck. So, one day, while walking through the streets of town, we picked up a few tickets for the Sunday lottery, and gave the kids a quick run-down on how it works. While they were not so pleased about the concept of losing nearly a third to government taxes, it was a lot of fun for the entire family to divide up potential winnings in the ratio of our respective ages, and imagine what each would do with their “share”.

Next, came the day of results.

After a number of Google searches, I finally managed to locate the badly-designed website of the State lottery and navigate to the results page. My 8-year-old son happened to be in the house at the time, so I pulled him alongside to see the action…

Papa: Now, watch while we check on the results of the lottery tickets we bought last week.

Tiger: Ok, I want to see that!

Papa: Here goes… (checking one by one and not finding any of the numbers in the winning list).

Papa: Hmmm, looks like none of the tickets we chose have won anything.

Tiger: What do you mean?!

Papa: I mean, we checked each number, and we did not win anything.

Tiger: What kind of lottery is that? What do we DO to win?!

The poor li’l boy just couldn’t fathom a process where we don’t do a thing to influence the outcome, and still lose.

Lesson learnt, wouldn’t you say?

Tidbits: April 2015

It’s been a while since I posted something new on the “dad” blog. There is a lot to catch you up on, so here goes…

Food Fiesta

One evening, at a McDonald’s outlet, Tiger wanted some Chicken McNuggets. He was almost through eating it when…

Tiger: Papa, I know that the chicken I’m eating is a woman!

Papa: Really? What do you mean?

Tiger: I mean it’s a hen chicken – a girl.

Papa: How do you know that?

Tiger: See, it says right here on the packing. Made from juicy chicken breast. So, it must be a girl chicken, na?

Another day, at a dinner outing, we were waiting for our food to arrive at the table, when I noticed something smoking at the next table. In an effort to keep the kids entertained, I mentioned it to them…

Papa: Look, at the table next to our’s. They’ve ordered a dish that is smoking!

Tiger: Why is that?

Papa: They may have ordered something that sizzles or is served in a hot pot, so smoke comes out for a while.

Tiger: I feel bad for the dish.

Papa: Why? No need to feel bad…

Tiger: Because it will get cancer. Smoking causes cancer, no?

Customer Service

I was having a lunch conversation with my kids and I took the opportunity to vent a little. Instead of addressing customer service problems every day, I’ve been trying to bunch them up and address all of them at a go. One of these days, I had just finished talking to several service providers and was feeling frustrated with the progress I’d made.

Papa: Kids, do you know what I’ve been doing the past few hours?

Tiger: What?

Papa: I’ve fired ICICI, I’ve fired Airtel, I’ve fired Kotak, I’ve fired Vodafone and I’ve fired the Insurance agent.

Tiger: (Pregnant pause, then cheeky smile…)

Papa: What?

Tiger: Papa, you’re going to need a Fire Engine soon!

Can you beat that?!

Tidbits: June 2014

Team Work

One fine morning, Tiger came up to me wanting to know what our evening plan was. Here’s what happened next…

Tiger: Papa, what are we doing today evening?

Papa: Why? Why do you want to know?

Tiger: Because I have an appointment today.

Papa: Really? What kind of an appointment?!

Tiger: Today is the Beginner’s Festival, so I need to be with my team.

Papa: What’s that? Tell me more.

Tiger: The ‘Beginner’s Festival’ is a day of the month when newcomers can apply to join my team. It only happens once a month. And it was my idea!

Papa: How did you come up with this idea?!

Tiger: Papa, I am the commander of two teams… One in the the garden and one in the building. You know, like the judge is the same on Britain’s got Talent and The Voice. I am like that!

Now, you know!


Another incident happened when, one weekend, we decided to take the kids out for a spontaneous drive. We got into the car, and I asked every one where they would like to go. Mama suggested we head to the pastry shop at the Renaissance (a five star hotel nearby).

Almost on cue, Tiger started singing: “Mama’s thinking pri-cey!”


Tidbits: Apr 2014

Art of Story Telling

One lazy Sunday afternoon, out of the blue, I found Tiger (now a little over six years old), writing in his book even after his study time was over. When I asked him what he was upto, he answered that he was writing a story! This is how it went…

One day Motu found some ladoos in the fridge.

Mama I want ladoos said Motu.

Not now. First have lunch said his mother.

How cool is that?! 


Growing Up

Off late, it seemed like Pumpkin (now a little over ten) was growing faster than ever, and looking taller too. So I decided to talk to her about it. Here's what happened next.

Papa: Pumpkin, you're growing too fast. Why don't you slow down a bit?

Pumpkin: What do you mean, papa? 

Papa: I mean that you should slow down a little and not grow up so fast.

Pumpkin: No, papa. I will not slow down. I will grow as fast as my birthdays come each year.

Now, you know!


Tidbits: Dec 2013

Art imitating Life

Today's newspaper carried a story of a painting by Gaitonde selling at an auction for more than Rs. 23 crores (i.e. 230 Mn). I thought I'd use the opportunity to teach my kids a little about the Art world. Here's what happened next…

Papa: Did you see that? A painting by an artist called Gaitonde has been sold for more than 23 crores?!

Pumpkin: Show me, show me. What? That painting?! It doesn't look all that special.

Tiger: Show me, show me. How much is a crore?

The next few minutes were spent explaining how an auction broadly works and how much is a crore.

Tiger: How can anyone have that much money?

Tiger: The man who bought it must have had to take from his wife and his kids' piggy banks also!

Now, you know.


The Big Race

Earlier this month, both the kids had their Annual Sports Day. While Pumpkin was participating in the march past, Tiger was all excited about his race. When the time came for his event, the wife and I were ready and waiting – me with the camera trying to capture the race in all its video glory.

For the life of us, both me and the mrs. kept a sharp lookout to spot Tiger in all that mayhem, and could not find him at all. At the end of the race we discovered that he actually won the first prize in that race!

When it was all over, he hurried up to us and excitedly asked us if we saw him. We both confessed that we tried really hard, but just could not spot him in the race and were actually worried if he had fallen ill or had hurt himself.

With a mischievous gleam in his eye, he said: That's because I ran so fast you couldn't even see me!

Tidbits: Sep 2013

Slow and Steady

One fine morning, at breakfast, Tiger decided to bring out the virtues of the malted chocolate drink he has every day.

Tiger: Papa, do you know what Bournvita does?

Papa: No, what does it do?

Tiger: Bournvita gives you energy. It makes you run faster!

Papa: Really? It makes everyone go faster?

Tiger: (slight pause) Except if you're a tortoise. Then it can't help much.


Laws of Physics

One day, over dinner, the conversation revolved around every one's weight. Here's what happened next.

Tiger: Papa, I need to tell you something funny.

Papa: What is it?

Tiger: I think there is something funny about my legs.

Papa: What is it?

Tiger: Just one of my legs weighs 20 kilos, and both together also weigh 20 kilos!

Papa: How is that possible? Show me what you're doing.

Tiger takes me to the weighing scale, stands on it with one leg, and then stands on it with both and shows me what he meant.

Now, you know.

Tidbits: Mar 2013


Identity Crisis

We were passing by a billboard with kids dressed up in a variety of roles, and I was curious which of these roles appealed to my son…

Papa: Tiger, what would you like to be when you grow up?

Tiger: Hmmm… an “autographer!”

(I thought to myself that he has aspirations of becoming a star figure that is always signing autographs, but I persisted in my enquiry)

Papa: What’s an autographer?

Tiger: Simple – he’s someone like you.

Papa: What do you mean?

Tiger: Someone who is always taking photographs.


What’s in a Name?

I read a brief write up about a king and decided to test my son’s perspective on the subject…

Papa: Tiger, how about we change your name to something more interesting?

Tiger: Like what?

Papa: Well, I was thinking we could change it to Gajendra Singh II – Then, everyone will think you are a King of someplace.

Tiger: (Thinks for a bit and says) No, papa. I don’t want to.

Papa: Why?

Tiger: It’s too difficult for me to spell.


Now, you know.