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How Shamantha D.S. Went From Page 3 Reporter To Running A Rural Radio Station

A dream by a media professional Shamantha D.S., to begin a community radio station, has ensured it has impacted far many more lives than she ever imagined she could.


She is hopeful the dream continues to live on.

A print journalist, a film critic, a radio professional, a script writer, a travel journalist, documentary film maker, founder of a NGO, founder of a community radio station, author of 13 books; these are just a few descriptions of this individual spanning her dynamic 20 year professional career.

Broadcasting on 90.4 MHz

Shamantha D.S. is the driving force behind Sarathi Jhalak 90.4 MHz, a community radio station at Anugondanahalli, approximately 70kms away from Bangalore in rural district (Bangalore) in Hoskote taluk.

Sarathi Jhalak radio station is situated on the eastern periphery of Bangalore reaching over 200 villages. The programs relayed cover Malur and Anekal taluks, Sarjapura, ITPL, Whitefield, Marathahalli, and Kundalahalli gate to name a few, catering to a population of close to a million.

This has been a project that has seen growth, but has encountered various struggles to exist and is currently straddling on the thin line of existence due to lack of funds.

Yet an interaction with the president and founder of this special community radio station makes one feel she is optimistic, as the station has grown from being her baby project to something that has impacted many lives in rural Bangalore.

Recipient of several awards, Shamantha has also won the Karnataka Madhyam Academy Award for initiating the first women’s community radio in Karnataka. She has also won the Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award in 1999 for being the first woman to write in Kannada literature, for her book on Nepal Himalaya’s expedition.

Sarathi Jhalak was started in August 2012 and has come a long way in reaching out to a huge community. The coverage area has a mixed population of educated, semi-urbanized, illiterates, and predominantly young people who are at the threshold of urbanization. The community radio station believes it can enable opportunities for development, education of young and old alike including counseling and can effectively integrate the residents with city life.

The tiny station premises are nestled between tomato and cabbage gardens and is housed in a small space in a building, with absolutely no frills, unlike most urban radio stations.

Yet the station is as vibrant as any other commercial radio station even with limited hours of ‘on radio time’ from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 4pm and from 6pm to 9.30pm. Sarathi Jhalak airs various programs related to farming, health, devotional programs, education, women, among a few light entertainment programs. This juggling exercise of balancing between a community radio station and touching upon a few aspects of being a commercial radio station, has been tough according to Shamantha.

The reach and impact is higher as the radio jockeys are mostly from the nearby villages and speak in local language, primarily in Kannada.

Who is Shamantha D.S.?

Shamantha, who has largely grown up in Bangalore, did her education in law like her father who was a practicing lawyer. But somehow she was inclined towards media and landed a job in a media organization as a Page 3 correspondent.

“Initially I used to love going to these glamorous parties, covering, reporting about them, celebrities, film personalities and well connected individuals. But soon the honeymoon period got over,” she laughs.

“Gradually I started feeling that I wanted to write on subjects that would make a difference in other’s lives. I always loved books. My mother was a voracious reader and my parents ensured that my siblings and I were exposed to world literature. I was also fascinated by the great works of Kannada literature.”

“My mother wanted me to be a doctor but I was very weak in Science and Math. But after class X, I chose to pursue Arts and it then onwards that I really enjoyed learning or in fact educating myself. Until then it was a torture for me to scale up from one class to the next one.”

“It is ironical that I actually never got officially trained in journalism or went to specific colleges but media became my lifeline and I have always expressed myself through this medium, in all its channels of being a print, radio and television journalist.”

Branching out

“Soon, on a trial and error basis, I started making documentaries, working with NGOs, and did a lot of programs related to various issues that truly mattered for the society, for Kannada channels, and the Government. I slowly established my identity as an independent media professional. Apart from this I also founded an organization relevant to my interests – an NGO Sarathi, a resource centre for communications primarily for developmental activities.”

“As a developmental and independent media professional, I had started working on projects involving Anganawadi workers. Everything I did was learning on the job and right from scratch. Once I was in a session where NGOs and educational institutions were informed and educated on community radio stations. I was overwhelmed by this, and decided that this is what I wanted to do.”

Starting Sarathi Jhalak

“The people at Anugondanahalli and surrounding villages had shown interest in participating in workshops, seminars, discussions and so in August 2012, we started Sarathi Jhalak on air. We have come a long way from just Anganawadi workers working as RJs, to now where colleges are sending their students for internships with us. We currently have radio jockeys who have been thoroughly trained and can compete with any other professionals in the same field.”

“But all of them are working on minimal salaries and for a long time we went without any funds or salaries at all. The initial seed funding went into setting up the studio, equipments and other things required for setting up a radio station. It was tough as me and my friends too had to pitch in with initial investments and in September 2015, the radio station went off air for a few days.”

Local support

“But the people who have become loyal listeners from nearby villages really wanted it back on air and came out in support. There is a sense of ownership from the listeners and that’s why we are not ready to give up.”

And yes now we have begun our operations and trying to reach out to more organizations to get this going in a sustainable form in the long run. We currently depend on the resources raised by the individual contributors and voluntary efforts from individuals.

We have resolved many issues like finding a boy lost from his parents, helping an accident victim get justice and compensation, and even finding lost cows for a farmer,” she says laughing, much to my amusement.

“The community radio station has been instrumental in getting the youth professionally trained. They come and work as radio jockeys and have moved on to other careers. But they become aware of many issues, do research, get the knowledge of how to talk to people, build customer base in airing relevant programs. Of course a few radio jockeys who were there initially are even now there with us and I am glad that they have been around in spite of pursuing other careers like those who are beauticians, teachers and others who are working on part-time basis with us.”

Looking ahead

Shamantha says she is in a more of a supervisory level asking radio jockeys at her community radio station to discuss important programs with her before it gets aired and she pays a lot of surprise visits and checks. There is the second level management and radio jockeys who manage the shows on air.

Sarathi Jhalak is a women owned community radio station and though it began as an all women employee station, now they have both young men and women working in different capacities.

Shamantha can talk for hours on her project and she does that with immense pride. Sarathi Jhalak as a community radio initiative has become a source of support of knowledge and trust for many who have become its listeners.

Shamantha wants her dream project to have a better form of sustainability and manage her initiative with appropriate funding and technology to impact many more lives.

Image source: Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma.


About the author Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma

I am an independent writer, storyteller, blogger and a mum residing in Bangalore, India. Having explored various careers like being a radio jockey, PR manager, communications manager in a hospital, I have fairly been loyal to the world of writing. Besides my love for writing stories for children, I am also involved in being a content curator and editor for a page on social media called Mums and stories.

Author’s Blog:


Parenting: how much is too much?


Pic: Shree D N

Being a mommy blogger and more importantly a mother for sometime now, I have realized how many parents find it tougher to raise a child than ever before. On one hand, one is supposed to monitor the child’s activities so that he or she is guided in the appropriate path in life. On the other, parents are supposed to allow the child to grow independently and let the growing one celebrate freedom.

However, to prevent abuse and to ensure that the child is not misled by people, social media and various other distractions, a parent has to be constantly vigilant and on his or her toes to be able to take immediate action, about anything that may be suspected to cause damage to their child.

A recent video of a man forcibly trying to kiss a young child in a mall on a toy car ride sent shivers down the spines of many parents who saw the disturbing video. It made parents question whether they could set a boundary on monitoring their child’s life?

Does it include every second or minute, until the child is completely aware of taking charge of life. And when is that appropriate age? Not everyone has answers, but sharing such information to make other parents aware of unpleasant activities that can be hopefully avoided, does help. Many seem to agree that parenting in the current times is not an easy path to walk through.

Shuchi Chokhawala, a mother to young daughters, aged eight and five, says, “Earlier parents would be concerned about a few things like education or health; simpler things. Today, putting the child in a prestigious school, cannot guarantee the right development or safety, and this is a major concern. Moreover, tremendous cyber exposure is available, where children get hooked to it from the time they are toddlers. While this undoubtedly opens doors for knowledge, parents need to be cautious about what the child is learning.” Children easily get addicted to various gadgets. The trick is in ensuring that they use them the right way.

Agreeing that parenting has changed drastically, Pooneh Shah, mother to a teenage daughter and a six-year-old boy says, “Earlier, parents had it easier. There was no internet or mobiles that bombarded us with unwanted information. Today, although parents want children to be independent, it isn’t easy. We hear of many unpleasant incidents and that makes parents more alert and anxious. We want to monitor every aspect of the child’s life. Like many others, I too am forced to do many things which actually make my kids more dependent on me; a sad reality of parenting in today’s world.”

Given the scenario, it is therefore important that young people who want to be parents be aware that they must embrace this phase of life wholeheartedly, and not just because of pressure from family or relatives. It is also critical to understand that this phase comes with responsibility and that it needs to be treaded carefully. This obviously doesn’t make being a parent a less joyous experience.

However, one needs to take care to avoid donning the role of being a helicopter parent. There is a fine line between monitoring, and the damage of overdoing the responsibility. It is also essential to remember that regardless of whether one is a mother or a father to a child, we have equal responsibilities to raise responsible children. It is also equally important to make children aware of how they can take care of themselves in the world.

Parenting is tough, but not impossible.

Written by  Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma


Published originally in Citizen Matters on September 18th 2015

Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma lives in Bangalore and loves reading and writing on society and changing lifestyles.

Eight things to know to be safe and enjoy, when in Bangalore

This city welcomes all. However, if you know some of these tips beforehand, your stay in Bangalore will become enjoyable!

Here are a few things listed from a Bangalorean for a first-time visitor to namma Bengaluru.

Bangalore is the capital city of Karnataka state in South India. Kannada is the local language spoken in the city though in the current times, most are well-versed with English and Hindi. There are a huge number who speak Tamil, Telugu and other Indian languages even though it is not their native language. Similarly there are migrants to this city who are from various parts of India.

The city has established itself undoubtedly as a cosmopolitan city that offers the glimpse of the country, with its ability to welcome and live with members from any part of the globe.

The following are the ten things that I can put down as a first-hand guide for a visitor who is new to the city.

1. Masala Dosa: Bangalore is also known as Bengaluru. Make sure you eat a masala dosa at a darshini in the city. Darshinis are the hotspots of breakfast eat outs that almost run through the day. The ones that have people swarming at the eatery will surely have a good masala dosa. Popular ones are Vidyarthi Bhavan, Adigas, MTR and Maiyyas.

When it comes to eateries and cuisines, Bangalore has welcomed various cuisines. If you are fine trying a rice dish, then try out a Puliogere or a Bisibelebath. Also if possible take time to have an authentic and grand Karnataka lunch. Good options are at MTR, Pai comforts at JP nagar to name a few. And last but not the least while you may otherwise enjoy cappuccinos and black teas; try a filter coffee –light at any darshini.

2. Heavenly climate: Bangalore has a unique climate. The season though is divided between summer, winter, spring and rains; it is not uncommon to find cool and pleasant weather in the mornings and scorching heat in the afternoons. It is again not a rare sight to find a heavy rainy shower in some streets during the rainy season of July-September to have some streets which may be just few yards away a bare dry weather.

3. Silk sarees: When in Bangalore, make sure you visit a good saree store to buy a saree for a loved one. A reasonable good saree ranges between Rs, 1000/- to 10,000/-. The range can go higher too if you want to buy. A few popular stores are Vijaylakshmi, Prasiddhi, Deepam, Nalli, Soch. Alternatively you can buy a khadi kurta at Desi, Fab India stores and Grameen Angadi at JP Nagar.

3. Feast for a thiest: Bangalore has quite a few scenic temples. If you can make time then do visit Bull Temple at Basavanagudi, Rajrajeshwari temple (for its intricate work), Iskon temple (a temple that has a modern touch to it) and Venkateshwara temple at Banashankari.

It is recommended that you dress conservatively when visiting a temple. You can wear trousers and tops but shorts and short skirts are not welcomed at the holy shrines in Bangalore. And yes dressing full covered clothes would save you unwanted stares.

4. Parks: Bangalore is home to a few gardens. For a stroll you can visit Lalbagh. Cubbon Park is more of a tree park, on the face of it, it does not appear safe for a visitor, however the places near to police station or Chinnaswamy stadium are widely used by people.

5. Malls: Bangalore has quite a few malls in various parts of the city. Phoenix Market city at Whitefield, Mantri Mall at Malleshwaram, Orion Mall in Rajajinagar and Forum mall at Koramangala are th epopular ones, while there are other malls too.

6. Heartwarming performaces: The city has a great patronage for Indian art forms. Almost every single week there are Bharatnatyam performances to classical Indian music shows. Some are conducted at temples, others at specific venues for performing arts. Look in an English daily supplement to find out on the performances in the city. You can attend a few for free too.

Bangalore has a vibrant theatre scene. Right from English plays to French and German and Kannada performances, the city has numerous shows every single day. You will have to plan a bit in advance, if you want to attend a theatre perofmance. Good plays are regularly staged at Jagriti at Whitefield, Ravindra Kalakshetra at the heart ofthe city, K H Kalasoudha at Hanumantha Nagar, Alliance Francaise in Vasanth Nagar, Rangashankara at JP Nagar and Chowdiah Memorial hall in Malleshwaram.

7. Restaurants and pubs: Bangalore has a midnight deadline in restaurants, while pubs will close at 9.30 pm. Be a little careful about auto rickshaw drivers, or even cab drivers. It is advisable that you have a friend who knows the local language/any Indian language when travelling in the city, if you do not know the city. Most auto rickshaw drivers will understand English. You can check your location and destination beforehand with GPS, and have a safety-app enabled mobile with you. You can also take a pre-booked auto if you inevitably have to travel alone in an auto. Bangalore is known for being home to good pubs. A few good ones are Hard Rock café, a few at UB city and around MG road.

8. A foodie’s delight: Bangalore, due to its mixed population, is home to various inter-state and international cuisines. So if you are missing your home food then you can be assured of finding one restaurant at least that will offer Bengali, Gujrathi, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Andhra, Kerala, Mexican, Thai, Chinese and the Pizza chains. Oh yes, there are scores of KFC chains, Subways and McDonalds in the city.

Do remember that is there much more to explore in Bangalore but I hope this would be of use to people who want to get a taste of the city when they are here for a brief visit.

By Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma

Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma lives in Bangalore and loves reading and writing on society and changing lifestyles

As published on Citizen Matters online edition on September 13th 2014

New flavours in the kitchen

Are we going overboard when it comes to giving food choices to children?

Watch any channel on the television and you are likely to be bombarded with numerous food options for breakfast, lunch and dinner or even for after-school-hours snack time for children. These advertisements make you wonder if children have become fussy over the years or are we making them accustomed to new menus on the plate everyday.

Undoubtedly regular cooking has become more experimental and innovative than one could have imagined even a few years ago. Being a chef is cool and if you are a mom who can present innovative and fancy food frequently, it seems to up your cool quotient. Young children are getting used to a new cuisine every week. There are multiple options being showcased on television, food blogs, cookbooks, specialised classes in neighbourhoods and even available as key ingredients for menus on the shelves of supermarkets.

Walk to a supermarket and one is bound to be greeted with chocolate syrups to make milk more tastier to various forms of pastas, varieties of noodles to specialised cereals in mind-boggling flavours and not to forget series of special fruits and veggies that are sourced across shores to make a dish that none knew when we were young. But when the choices are overwhelming for someone who cooks regularly for families and for kids, is there a need to control how much we cook or is it time to enjoy the multitude of food options?

Says Nirguna Suresh, mom to two young daughters, “I have been brought up in a health-conscious environment by my parents and since the time I have become a mother, it has been like a natural action for me to give my kids a host of healthy options. I personally do not feel it is overdoing my activity as this suits my family perfectly fine. This does not mean that I buy instant foods or packaged foods. There is variety for my children even a noodle or pasta has wholesome nutritious accompaniments. Moreover when as parents we can afford variety, what is the need to hold back on the options we give to children?”

While there are moms who feel being experimental in cooking is a matter of choice, on the other hand there is a tendency towards instant food and dining out.

Marketers view children as emerging consumers. Pester power and a disposable income leads to culinary experiments.

Says Vidhya Ramasubramanian, a nutritionist and a mother of a five-year-old, “I have met a few mothers, who are quite obsessed with every meal having to be nutritious and they over feed their child. As long as you can balance out on how much to cook including buying special ingredients with your regular food, it is fine. Have a blend of food options including simple menus featured on your weekly menu list.”

For Smitha Anand Rao, a mother to two kids and an architect, “I have one child who is a picky eater and the other who is really casual about food like me. Generally, I keep my cooking priority simple and believe in presenting fresh food. However, I do allow for a few easy options in my kitchen, considering the practical constraints my life. It is after all about choices and I am clear on not being a super-mom.”

In the age of consumerism, perhaps it is on to the parents how one can present healthy choices and yet not forget that being simple and plain is fun and acceptable too, even when it comes to food.

An offer you can refuse

Beware of the reduced price shopping syndrome or you will end up with stuff you don’t really need

Have you noticed how you buy stuff you don’t really need thanks to sale and discount ads?

Welcome to the world of impulse shopping where gullible shoppers repeatedly fall for offers. Even supermarkets have discounts tied to specific days.

Preeti S, a homemaker says: “In the last two months, I have bought several things to revamp my wardrobe and ended up with a few unnecessary home décor items thanks to an offer.

Vishal Parashar, a college student says, “Peer pressure ensures that we buy clothes, shoes and mobile accessories often.

Sometimes I buy high-end branded clothing when it is on sale. I find everyone doing it.

Moreover it’s a nice feeling to be seen in good clothes.”

Vishal admits he spends a large percentage of his pocket money on clothes at these discounted stores and so needs to spend at least a fortnight every two months with practically no money to compensate his sudden expenditure.

Malls and branded stores are super accessible these days given that every locality has them, which also contributes to impulse buys.

However, the easiest way to deal with the lure of discounts would be to say no and move on.

A few tips for the next time you go shopping

? Carry a fixed amount of cash when you go to a mall rather than a card

? The next time you see a tempting offer, work out whether you really need to have that outfit or implement.

? Analyze your needs against your wants

? With plenty of options available, browse a few stores and online before taking the plunge.

? Try and postpone your decision for a few days and review whether you really need the purchase.

Published on September 9th 2014

Breakfast in speed up mode

With busy schedules dictating food habits, it seems that instant food mixes and batters are here to stay.

One cannot ignore the Deepika Padukone starrer commercial that talks about her two-week challenge for a slim waist for an upcoming wedding season, thanks to her choice of diet- a bowl of cereal. In the times of enormous marketing for global foods and breakfast options with breads, cereals and smoothies, we might have become diet conscious or ready to try an increased menu for variety, but we have not yet given up on traditional menus.

The time-constrained urban Indian consumer has started adopting quicker fixes for preparing traditional cuisines. Many urban Indians pick up a pack of ready-to-use batter meant to cook idlis or dosas when they are out shopping. It is not just instant idli or dosa batters that are making way to our kitchens.

Even traditional rice recipes that were earlier manually ground at home involving multiple ingredients have changed to instant rice recipes and masala powders available in convenient pouches. Convenience and non-fussy efforts in kitchens are bringing about a change in the traditional south Indian palatte.<

Ten years ago, it was not uncommon to find a heavy grinding stone in the kitchen or a bride using a traditional coconut scraper . Today with modern kitchen equipments, from food processors to easy-to-use swanky looking coconut scrapers, These items have started to become obsolete in urban areas. Ashwini Nath, a customer service executive says, “Nothing beats the convenience and variety of instant batter that can be churned anytime to make a good south Indian breakfast. There are days when I do end up making sandwiches for breakfast. The availability of read to use batters and breakfast mixes ensures that you can cook a nice meal in quick time.

”“When we were young, preparation of a meal involved a lot of time and effort. There were no distractions and it was an accepted practice for women to grind at home, pound the masalas and ensure that every meal is prepared . Today it is the time of instant results for everything in life, so how can cuisines be left out?,” quips Saraswathi Rao, a sixty year old home-maker.

Published in the Hindu Metro Plus, Bangalore on June 13th 2014-

Tread the solo route

July 23, 2014, DHNS:

The top most benefit of a solo holiday is finding out that you can do it! Also, that no one is present around you to dictate how your holiday should be is an icing on the cake, avows Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma.

A recent blockbuster Hindi film, Queen, traced the story of a young woman, Rani (Kangana Ranaut), from a conservative family, who decides to go solo on her honeymoon trip, after her fiance calls off the wedding. Her journey of self-discovery, while making for a delightful movie, also drives home the reality of space, individuality and freedom that most Indian women crave for in our patriarchal setup.

There’s a lot of apprehension regarding a woman travelling alone. Indian parents, no matter how old and mature their daughters are, put their foot down on solo travel, and certainly don’t give in to their wishes without a fight. To add to it, increasing crime rate against women does not paint a happy picture for a lady who wants to go on a trip alone.

Few though they might be, there are Indian women who travel on their own. Says Shivya Nath, a travel blogger, “While on the outset it may seem like not many Indians travel solo, I think more women are taking the plunge, or at least opening up to the idea of travelling alone.

 It’s the reason why I took to blogging and writing, because I wanted to share the joys of going solo, of finding friends in strangers, of learning to trust your own gut, and the sheer liberation you feel when you discover a place on your own terms.” 

Another trend catching up with young women is that of going on a solo trip just before they get married. They believe that’s a privilege every girl should have before she goes from being a maiden to a wife.

Reminiscing her holiday in Singapore last year, Meghana Srivatsa says, “I knew I had to fulfill my dream of going on a holiday far away from home before I was married. With a husband, it will always be ‘us time’ rather than ‘me time’, and it was important for me to be on my own for once. So when my wedding was about to be finalised, I quickly chartered out my travel plan and took off to Singapore for a week. It was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.”

Karnataka, North Kerala, Meghalaya, and even the Spiti Valley in the Himalayas are amazingly safe for women travellers, as are Singapore, Southern Spain, Bahrain and New Zealand. True, few destinations might not be all that women-friendly, but they might not be dangerous either.

Contrary to the general notions, it doesn’t take a herculean effort to stay safe during a solo trip. Simple measures like staying at hostels or crowded hotels and not staying on the outskirts – especially while abroad – carrying pepper sprays, not wandering off alone in the dark, eating in a restaurant close to your booked hotel, keeping your family members updated enroute, using the services of a trusted travel agency and the like will do.

Travel enthusiast and blogger, Mariellen Ward, explains how to take baby steps on that all-exciting journey. “If you are a first-timer, begin with a weekend jaunt to a nearby town. It makes sense to pack light. You can repeat your clothes and not carry unnecessary items like makeup kits, jewellery and more than two pairs of shoes.”

The experience of going solo is sometimes mightier and more important than the destination itself. It does not even matter if you got around to doing everything on your bucket list while at the destination; the fact that you managed a solo trip in itself can feel like a huge achievement. The top most benefit of a solo holiday is finding out that you can do it! You will find that you are stronger and more capable than you think.

It will give you a huge boost of confidence and pride, making you feel more alive than you have ever felt before. An added perk, apart from discovering yourself, is that no one is present around you to dictate how your holiday should be; you may sleep like a log or wake up early and not miss a beautiful sunrise because of somebody else!

Says Padmini Balaram, who is in her early sixties, and indulges in solo travel every now and then, “After I retired from my career in banking, I wanted to travel around the world, a wish that had been long pending in my life.

When I found that my family and friends were not as keen, I decided to travel solo, and I am extremely glad to have done that. I can fulfill my travel fancies, without having to accommodate others’ convenience or budgets. It is quite liberating!”

Make a solo trip safe with a sound plan. Because when you have a plan, you will be confident about handling any emergencies that might come your way, and soon, you will be hooked to the concept. Even if you decide to never go solo again, it’ll be an experience to remember.

Link to the article-

Follow the paper trail

Spell it outIt is not just ink and paper but a whole lot of memoriesPhoto: T. Singaravelou

Spell it outIt is not just ink and paper but a whole lot of memories-Photo: T. Singaravelou

Authored by Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma

Electronic reading devices or hard bound books—the jury is still out on this one

“Sonali, we are going to a library today”, says Harshini Bharadwaj, a mother to her seven-year-old, trying to induce some excitement into the planned outing for the evening. The young one looks a trifle irritated as she thinks momma is a bit outdated. There are stories to be read on gadgets like the iPad. And they are readily available to her thanks to her dad’s involvement in digital tools.

Apart from digital tools, there is always telly and kids are glued to it with Chhota Bheem and Ben10. So are there parents, trying to keep the tradition of reading from a book?

Ashish Verma, a graphic artist and a parent says: “When you hand out a digital device like a flashy smart phone to children even before they turn one, it is natural that they will be attracted to it and want to watch content rather than read it. Unless parents make conscious efforts right from the beginning to read from books, it is not going to appear exciting for the children.”

On the other hand, there are those who feel digital is the way forward, considering how much content is digitised these days.

And keeping children away from technology is not particularly helpful. To those, the argument is there is more to books than just a reading tool.

Varsha P says: “I have been a voracious reader since my teens. It’s an amazing feeling to be surrounded by books in a library or a bookstore or for that matter to hold on to a book in your hand. While I do encourage my daughter to use the laptop, I do not think books will cease to be anytime soon. Don’t we like to read a newspaper, watch a news clip on television, read a forward joke on the phone? So in my opinion children can read from new devices, but the charm of a book cannot be ignored and I do hope children and parents understand this point.”

According to Kavya Hegde, marketing manager of Just Books, a library chain, “Reading from a regular book and reading from a digital device can be complementary.

Both can co-exist, in fact over 60 per cent of our readers are mothers who want to introduce their child to the world of books end up taking a book themselves too. We feel there are a lot of parents who want to let their children cherish the reading experience from a hard-bound book.”

A recent comment by the former President, Abdul Kalam endorsed the view on reading from regular books when he said there should be a library in each house with a minimum of 10 books, to encourage children to read. He also urged parents to take steps to increase the collection every now and then. The verdict seems to indicate – get ready to embrace the digital form, but do not ignore the traditional form of storytelling or reading.

Reading from a regular book and reading from a digital device can be complementary. Both can co-exist

Published in the Hindu Metro Plus on July 2nd 2014.

Yogurt recipes

So many optionsMaybe a smoothie…?

Curd is one of those must-haves in Indian kitchens. You can whip it into a thick lassi or a fruit smoothie or even make the traditional buttermilk or majjige as a quick trick to beat the heat. Here are three curd based recipes



Fresh curd: 1 to 2 cups

Sugar: 5 to 7 teaspoons

Water: Half cup

Cold milk: 1 cup

Cardamom powder: One fourth tea spoon

Almonds: 5-7 sliced

A pinch of saffron strands (for garnishing)


Pour curd, water, milk, cardamom powder and sugar in a blender and make it into a smooth liquid for about 20 to 30 seconds. Do not go overboard as you may get butter floating which is not required.

Serve lassi in tall glasses

Add saffron strands for garnishing. You can also add a few sliced almonds as an option for garnishing.

Note-Lassi can be made thicker by increasing the quantity of curd and sugar.



Chopped bananas: 1 cup

Chopped apples (peeled): 1 cup

Fresh curd: 1 cup (Most smoothies are made from yogurt. Curd can be used if yogurt is not readily available).

Milk/ water: half cup

Sugar: three tea spoons

Ice cubes two to five (optional) for garnishing effect or while blending the entire mixture.


Add all ingredients in a blender and blend till the mixture is smooth and frothy.

Pour the smoothie in glasses and serve immediately.

Garnish the glass with a slice of apple.




Curd: 1to 2 cups

Water: 4 cups

Salt: as required

A few lemon drops (optional)

To grind

Green chillies: 2

Chopped/ grated ginger: Half tea spoon


Oil: 1 tea spoon

Mustard seeds: half tea spoon

Curry leaves: half tea spoon

Asafoetida: a pinch


In a bowl add curd, water, salt and whisk the curd using a hand held whisk until you get a diluted liquid. Grind chillies, ginger and curry leaves and add to the buttermilk.

Dilute the buttermilk with water and lemon drops according to your desired taste and consistency.

In a pan, pour oil, add mustard seeds, asafoetida and a few curry leaves. Add this to the buttermilk.

You can strain the mixture if you desire.

Garnish the buttermilk with a few coriander leaves. Refrigerate for one to two hours for the flavours to blend well.

Serve in tall steel glasses or in small earthen tumblers for the authentic desi look to the drink.

In case you want to reduce the spicy flavour to give it to children, avoid chillies.

The stay-at-home women

Once upon a time, society questioned why a woman needed a career, when her man has one. Today, it’s a society that questions why educated women would want to stay at home, when they can make a career for themselves, muses Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma.

Most of us would have met at least one career-oriented woman, a go-getter, who wears multiple responsibilities at home and at work, who wants to prove she is no less than her male peers.

There are also a few spirited women who try to get back to work, either through a part-time job, or by freelancing, or just lingering on to the hope that one day they will get back to what they love – working in an office set-up.

Then there are these other set of women who do not have great career ambitions; they might have worked once upon a time or never had a career.

They do not crib about not having a career, and never feel that they are missing out on something important in life.


Meet the new breed of educated, married and confident women who are happy to be “stay-at-home-ladies”.

There was once a time when the society questioned why a woman needed to work, when her man could do it.

Now, it’s a society that questions why educated women would want to stay at home! Throwing aside the somewhat feminist concept that women find contentment only when they get to have a sound career, stay-at-home-ladies are proving that women can create happy environments for themselves wherever they want to be.

Voicing it out in a recent interaction with the media, Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie said, “Acting’s a very lucky profession to be a part of, and I enjoy it, but if it went away tomorrow, I would be very happy just to be at home with my children.”

Says Smitha Rao, a young woman in early thirties, “When I got married over a decade ago, my primary focus was to understand the relationship and invest time in it. Life had changed and I wanted to take it in my own pace.
Stay-at-home women have to deal with a lot of unwanted questions and in my case, I was ever-ready to pounce at people and defend myself as to why I was not working. Today I have mellowed down and choose, many a times, to ignore unnecessary questions.”

It’s not easy to deal with questions that society demands them to answer, say some of these stay-at-home women.

It seems like everyone wants a justified answer trying to explain if you are educated, qualified, smart, then you cannot deny that you do not want to be a working professional outside home.

But it is the hardest when they start questioning themselves, they admit.

Women like Sindhu Sharath, a chartered accountant by qualification, and a mother of two, opines, “At times I do ponder over the question as to what I’m doing, not using my academic credentials. I also wonder what will happen when my little girls grow up and I will have nothing to do. But these are momentary botherations. What I do know is that at this very phase in my life, I want to be a complete mother and not bother about the judgemental eyes (mostly women’s) of the society. So I will figure it all out on the way; I’m in no hurry.”

Whether or not they have kids, these women believe the stay-at-home option is a luxury, for the simple reason that single income, in a time of ever-rising costs, is bordering on economical risks. But if a couple can afford it, then, why not?

After all, being pulled in all directions is not everybody’s cup of tea. It is a matter of personal choice.

Leaving their children in a day care, for pursuing a career, is not all that easy and nor is coming home to household chores after a hectic day at work. When such is the case, why not keep it simple and fulfilling, by choosing to bestay-at-home women if they can afford to, they ask.