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About Me

I am an independent writer and multi-award winning blogger who writes on parenting, humour, fiction and general lifestyle topics. - Sid Balachandran



Category: Daddy Journals

Odd man out: Confessions of a #SAHD

Odd man out: Confessions of a #SAHD

If I asked you to imagine a typical traditional happy family, what is the first image that would pop into your mind? Perhaps, programmed by years of social stereotyping, we would probably picture the following:


The breadwinner husband with a six-figured annual salary, and a smiling stay-at-home mother, who despite running after a toddler and the wailing baby strapped on her shoulders, is impeccably dressed, right from the floral frock she wears down to the gorgeous pearl set around her neck.


Now imagine what would happen if you flipped this so-called “traditional and typical” family image on its head, and ended up with a wife who is the primary [or even sole] breadwinner and a husband [not in a floral frock, hopefully!] who’s taking care of a baby while, say, cleaning the house or folding laundry.


A stay-at-home husband? Outrageous!

I’ve asked a lot of people about this hypothetical scenario. The general consensus has been that it sounds unrealistic, comical and perhaps even displays shades of a marriage that isn’t functionally accurate. At first, I was amused by the initial responses. However, as more and more people chimed in with similar responses, the amusement slowly changed to anger; perhaps just as you’re feeling right now. Sadly, this cuts a very sorry image of the society that we live in; one that, despite all their educated decisions and tolerances, refuses to acknowledge that there is a wave of role-reversal in process.


Over the years, I’ve been asked plenty of uncomfortable questions; some just plainly intrusive, some others seemingly harmless but bundled neatly in a tone that I can only describe as mocking. The query of “how it felt to be stay-at-home dad” was one of the latter. Initially, I was surprised and rather shocked. But, as it went on, I started to take it in my stride and would often respond with a sarcastic reply. The truth, though, is that I am not sure that there is a definition that can do it justice. I have to be honest and say that it isn’t something that I’d fantasised about as a young kid. So, it wasn’t like I woke up one day and decided that I wanted to be at home while my wife went to work. It sort of just happened.

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This snippet is part of my article that was first published in the November 2015 edition of Complete Wellbeing Magazine. Click here to read the rest of the article, which is now live on their site.



The link opens in a new page/tab, so you can come back to leave a comment. You do want to leave a comment, don’t you? 😉

Me time : When’s yours?

Me time : When’s yours?

A few weeks back, my son’s school reopened after a rather prolonged Christmas break.

*does a happy jig*

If you’re sensing a little excitement in my writing voice, then you’re absolutely right. I am happy. In fact, I’m pretty darn ecstatic. I might even say, I feel like a million-bucks. Gosh, I sound mean, don’t I? 

Do you know the biggest curve ball that life throws at us parents? School holidays! Especially when you have young kids around. Laugh all you want, but there are moments of breathlessness and fighting back tears, when we get that message in the little squiggly handwriting. Yes, the very one that resembled a dog trying to chase its tail. And yes, the very one that glares back at us, silently mocking us at our helplessness.

You know, the one that says, ‘The school will be shut until XYZ on the occasion of ZYX’.

As kids, school holidays were something that we all looked forward to. Ah! The freedom from homework, studies (well, in lower classes anyway), timetables, early nights and mornings and much more. Everything was just exciting. However, as a parent, I can’t really say that I feel the same way. Yes, judge me all you want, but when you’re a stay-at-home  or work-from-home parent, young kids on holidays and vacations really throw you off your mojo. Firstly, they have absolutely no appreciation for schedules or quiet times. Secondly, they have a million joules of energy that they somehow need to burn off, now that they’re no longer occupied at school or with their regular activities.

So, if any parent in a similar situation, says that they’re not secretly counting down the days till the big yellow bus returns and whisks off their little one(s) to school for a few hours, they’re lying. Or, perhaps they’re teachers themselves, who are dreading going back to class themselves. It’s true though. Nothing makes you respect teachers more than over the school vacation period. In fact, I might even add that these teachers need a raise. I can barely manage one kid; they somehow manage 20+.

‘Don’t you miss him when he goes to school?’  That’s the question a lot of people, especially the new-parents have asked me, whenever I’ve mentioned this. Yes, I do. But then again, it isn’t like he’s going into battle. He’s away for a few hours and that really helps me organise my writing, life and the rest of the activities. And that brings me to the actual reason of writing this post – the most under-appreciated, yet extremely important –  ‘Me time’.

If I’m brutally honest, I don’t get it. And by it, I mean what certain parents make out parenting to be. Before everyone gangs up and beats me over the head, let me clarify – I’m not talking about parenting style; those are unique and different to each parent, kid and family. I’m merely talking about the fact that I’ll never understand why parents are made to feel guilty, just because they choose to have a life outside parenting too. Similarly, I don’t get how some parents can give up everything and just choose to live (and proverbially die!) in the name of parenting. Either I’m just looking at it entirely wrong, or I’m wired pretty differently.

Let’s get this out in the open first. If you’re a parent who has given up everything – from an activity that you enjoyed from your pre-parenting life to what you eat – in the name of parenting, then the only question I have for you is –  Why? Parenting is a choice that you make. But just because you’re a parent, it does not mean you should not make time for yourself. Yes, granted that things can be a little difficult and even complex at times. But unless it has a direct negative influence on your child or your family, there is absolutely no reason on Earth that should make you give up everything you love doing. You are still an individual and that means, you are entitled to do certain things that you like and get some time for yourself. Being a parent (or a loving partner – mostly wives, in this case), does not mean you’re required to give up your entire identity. Having said that, yes, a bit of adjustment will be required.

The other thing that bothers me is that for some strange reason, parenting as an activity, seems to have developed this ‘attachment-focussed’ culture. Which for some god-only-knows-reason makes certain parents believe that if you’re not actually physically present 24×7 for your kids, you are not a good parent. Or that if you do actually get some ‘me-time’, you should feel guilty about taking advantage of it. And if you’re wondering, yes, such parents do exist. And I think they’re competing for a ‘Perfect Parent’ trophy; which by the way, does not exist.

Until I became a stay-at-home (and now work-from-home) dad, I never truly realised how difficult and complicated it is to be the parent who is always around. And as much as it was a decision taken after a lot of thought, I’ll be lying if I said there aren’t days when I enviously watch my wife get ready to go to work. Or bite back frustration when she tells me about their amazing team lunch or drinks after work; or melt into a nostalgic puddle when she talks about how they didn’t get much work done on Friday, because they were all sitting around yapping. Yes, I miss those days from working in the corporate space and being around other adults.

And to really appreciate that, you need to be holed up in a closed space, day-in and day-out, with a toddler who insists on singing Old MacDonald had a farm for the Nth time or hearing ‘The three little pigs’ for the gazillion-th time. Don’t get me wrong. We also have the better side of parenting – being around for those cute smiles, listening to their adorable babbling, doing random things that make them erupt into peals of laughter and much more – things that the other parent often misses out on. So, yes, it’s a trade-off at times. But it still doesn’t warrant a feeling of guilt, just because you feel the need for space and time to do things you like.

I’m going to leave you with a question. If you’re a parent with young kids, do you remember the last time you sat down for an hour and did something you wanted, without worrying about the kid(s) or what they were up to? If the answer is no, then it’s high time you re-evaluate your busy schedules and make time for yourself.

Over the course of my relatively-still-short parenting cycle, I’ve come to realise something.


[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@iwrotethose” display_mode=”box”]Being a good parent is not determined by our strength to keep going like the famed Energizer bunny[/tweetthis]

Rather, it is our ability to find the perfect balance between our own needs and that of our kids. That’s what makes a good parent and of course, a good partner too.

And as I sign off, I’ll add this too. The feeling that I presently experience on the night before the little one goes back to school is such a stark difference to how I felt before his very first day at school.

These days, the night before is more like Christmas Eve. For me, anyway. 🙂


Why do they?

Why do they?


I write this post as a concerned parent. And perhaps, I reflect the thoughts of hundreds of other parents like me too. Of course, I’m basing this on the countless conversations that I’ve had with plenty of parents who have kids around the same age as mine.


I am the father of a very active three-year old. As the parent of any toddler/three/four-year old can vouch, they are quite the handful. Perhaps, even more than a couple of handfuls too. In fact, I’ve often found myself wishing for a couple of extra limbs like one of the many Hindu gods – merely because we often have to juggle four different things, while running after these ‘very active’ kids.


My son is no different either. He has his moments of tantrums and stubbornness. He also has those moments where he will completely ignore you and pretends not to hear anything you say. There are also times when he has reluctance to do certain things; and a tendency to keep doing things he likes – repeatedly. He plays with some toys, but not with others. He likes to sing and dance, but not so much to write or paint. He even talks to his animals and toys; sometimes even to the characters in the cartoons. He can memorize lyrics to rhymes and songs even if he hears it just once; but then again, he has trouble recognising an apricot from a peach. In short, he does some things well, some really well; and some others, he does them differently. Just like every other kid his age, he is similar, yet unique.


But when people – strangers/neighbours – start to label toddlers with terms like ‘hyperactive, slow or having attention-disorder’ – it makes my blood boil. He may or may not have any of these symptoms; but why are people quick to label kids  – especially not their own? Why do these people feel the insatiable desire to find fault with kids and worst of all, compare ? Why can’t we just realise that these are little kids- each of them unique and differentnot a herd of sheep. They all develop differently and at distinct times; their backgrounds are diverse – their characteristics, even more so. Yes, kids these days, spurred on by technology and the rest – they develop a lot faster than you and I probably did at the same age. But even then, you’ll find that they’re all similarly dissimilar – from the way they speak to what they eat.


Maybe if we look closely enough, we’ll see that they have talents that are much more than a neat handwriting,  doing their homework properly or memorizing a bunch of things and reciting it back.


So, stop those comparisons. Stop judging them on the ability to hold a pencil  properly or draw a straight line without help. So what if they have trouble staying within the lines when they colour? Or they read better than they write? Or they sing better than they read. Or they use their left hand to write and not the right?


Just don’t squash their dreams and creativity. Not just yet.


Let them be kids a little longer.


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I may get crucified for this, but I’m increasingly starting to feel that one of the root causes for these comparisons, especially at schools, are some parents. While it is absolutely natural for a parent to want the best for theirs kids and make sure to give them everything they can afford, what isn’t are their ‘unrealistic expectations’ to train their 3-year old to say 15 different words for each letter of the alphabet or to write words/sentences even before they join preschool. So please do a favour and take it easy on the rest of us, please.

We’re only human. And we’re not in a race. And neither are our kids.






For those of you who don’t know me well – my mother is a teacher. While she has never made me feel it, I’ve always felt this unspoken pressure. Not just to perform well at school but also to set right examples and tread down recognisable paths. My parents have never wanted anything but the best, for me. Just like all of us would want for our offsprings.


But what they missed is talking to me – about what I was good at and what I wasn’t. About sowing those seeds that might have made me think, perhaps a couple of decades earlier, that ‘Maybe I could look at writing as a career’. It isn’t their fault. I didn’t know that I wanted to write either. But I wish they had spotted that fire that I’d missed.


So for those of you who are parents, and reading this, look for those signs.


[bctt tweet=”Don’t ask a square peg to fit in a round hole.”]


And to mom and dad – I know you’re reading this – thank you!


As a parent, I now realise how difficult it can be to hear someone else say that your kid is or isn’t doing something. No matter how well we know them, sometimes, it just feels bad. I know that you’ve probably had a lot aspirations and dreams for me. – some fulfilled, some not yet. I can only hope that in some ways, my writing has made you proud.

Would you like a drink?

Would you like a drink?

This story is from a year or so ago, back when my threenager was just shy of the age of two.

It was a period when he loved to play ‘the host’. In fact, every time the doorbell rang, he would push everything (and everyone) away and rush to open the door. He’d then gesture to them to come inside, while attempting to say, “Welcome!”.

Of course, we soon had to put an end to it. Lest we find ourselves playing host to Raju – the ‘Iron’ man, Sudeep – the ‘letter man’ and Iqbal – the ‘garbage collector’.
Understandably, my son was upset for a few days. But he never let it get in the way of his hosting skills. So he would often throw ‘virtual parties’ where he would bring out all the utensils and then, compulsorily feed every stuffed animal, object and of course, me – because I was always around. And not wanting to break his little heart, I would continue to ‘pretend eat and drink’ all this invisible food and drink.


A few months later, as he started to eat and drink independently (relatively anyway, because he was into this Terrible Twos), he started to offer me actual food. This was usually a combination of the some leftovers from his meal or from his stockpile that he had started hiding at various locations, throughout the house. And I was delighted. No, not just ‘pretend delighted’ as  I used to – but really delighted. Because he was finally offering me food.

However, one thing perturbed me. He never offered me anything ‘real’ to drink. It was always the empty cup filled with ‘virtual’ tea, coffee or juice. This went on for a few days, until once he brought me something in his little cup. I was busy writing, when I heard him push around some vessels in the kitchen. Before I could get up and check, he ambled out of the kitchen with his cup in hand.

“Papa, juice!” he said, animatedly pointing towards the cup in his hand.

One look at the cup, and I was ecstatic. My son had brought me water – yes, the actual liquid version of it and not the ‘imaginary’ version. Fighting back those tears (yes, don’t judge me – I can be an emotional person), I gulped it all down and smiled at him. He looked at me, as if amused, and then returned with a smile of his own. Of course, at that point I never thought twice about asking him where he’d got the water from.
He was obviously delighted with my response, and all through that day, I found him bringing me regular cups of this refreshing magical water, that had a very earthy taste to it. So that evening, I impatiently paced up and down the living room, eagerly waiting for my wife to return home from work. I had this whole amazing idea in my head – I would make her sit down on the couch and ask Rishi to bring her some of his virtual noodles – cooked using a real wok,  spatula and lots of imagination – and then top it off with a glass of water. I know what you’re thinking – It’s just a glass of water. But in my head, it wasn’t. I was over thinking it and taking it as a sign of his big-heartedness. Especially since he’d never offered me a drink, before.

However, as Murphy would have it, my wife got caught up with work and was late to return.

So when she arrived, long after Rishi had gone to sleep, despite my ‘lowered’ enthusiasm, I told her about what Rishi had done. I even tried to make her feel bad for having missed Rishi’s cup of magical drink.  What surprised (or rather, shocked) me was my wife’s lack of animated reaction. She was visibly calm, and soon her face spotted a smirk, which in no time evolved into a smile and then into, what I can only describe as ‘Roll-on-the-floor-laughter’. Of course, I was really confused. And a tad angry too. So, I just stood there with my hands folded, waiting for her to finish so that I could give her a good verbal reproach.

A few minutes later, she got up from the couch and gestured for me to follow her into the kitchen.  Half-heartedly, I followed her with a frown on my face. She walked through the kitchen and into the balcony, and pointed towards the corner where there were a few dirty dishes and a couple of our potted plants. Confused, I looked back at her.

Amused by my bewilderment, she smiled and said, “The only place he can get water from, is that bucket we collect the dirty rain water that leaks from the roof. That’s the source of your magical water!”. 

Mess with them at your own peril.

Disclaimer: [Updated]

So here’s the thing, I’ve just been told by one of my friends, that a slightly different version of this post (that well predates my post, of course) has been doing its rounds for close to a decade as an email joke.

So if you’ve read that before, all I’d like to say is mine is a true story and any coincidence is unintentional and accidental.



Of hair and toddlers

Of hair and toddlers

Kids. They often find the strangest things attractive and develop affinity for weird things as they grow up.

My son, for instance, has this affinity towards hair. If you’re anywhere in his vicinity, he will nonchalantly (and very secretly) put his little hand into your tresses and slowly start to roll the strands of your hair around one of his fingers. A mostly harmless activity, unless you happen to have long-hair, of course.  Because one of the challenges, once he’s done with this ‘hair-rolling-and-clumping’ is the struggle to ‘unknot it’. And having seen the pain my sister, mother and wife experience while trying to play Houdini and break-free those knots from their hair, I know it’s no child’s play. Even if, a child did do it in the first place.

Since I’m follically-challenged and suffer from rapidly thinning of hair (though rapidly-disappearing would be a more appropriate phrase here!), I make sure he doesn’t get a chance to pull my hair at all. Because not only does it hurt a lot, I’m often worried about the possibility that I’ll be left with a Bruce Willis or Jason Statham-like hairstyle. And believe me. I cannot carry that look off, without looking like a thug. Of course, the fact that my hair is almost eternally out-of-bounds for him, is something that angers my three-year old a lot. And if you have toddlers, you’ll know that they are not used to taking ‘No’ for an answer. Not from their parents, anyway.

[bctt tweet=”Toddlers would rather jump off the eighth floor rather than listen to their parents when they say ‘No!’”]

The only two instances that my son gets access to whatever-little-is-left-of-my-hair are:

One: when I’m forced to carry him on my shoulders; he holds on to my hair for support, inspite of my numerous warnings and repeated requests to hold onto my neck.

Two: to balance himself when he tries to wear shoes or shorts; though I fail to understand why he chooses my hair of all things.

Otherwise, I’m largely safe from this game of ‘knots and braids’ that he subjects most people to.

A few days back, I had one of my blasted migraine attacks. For those of you, who may be fortunate enough not to have experienced this malady, a migraine attack can only be described as a glorious medical condition where you feel like your head is being frequently pounded by Thor’s legendary hammer while ‘The Hulk’ crushes your cheek bones into pulp. You sort of lose total focus and even concentrating on a single task is something ridiculously difficult. When I get such attacks, , I often resort to the use of a strong painkiller that is quite literally, my army in shining armour that puts the migraine in its place. However this time, it wasn’t the case. I was travelling and had used up my quota of painkillers. So there I was – pacing up and down the room, like a caged beast, grunting and growling, in the hopes that I could ‘scare’ the migraine away.

My three-year old, who hadn’t previously met this ‘Mr. Hyde’ side of mine, was visibly confused. Whilst he had often been privy to the ‘angry-Hulk’ side, this was something new to him. But based on my reactions and grunts, I believe he figured out that something was wrong with my head. Or so, I believe.  So, as I thundered around the room, I felt a little tug on my pyjamas. I looked down and found him giving me a wide-eyed stare, with a twinkle in them. Now, do forgive me for this particular ‘thought-process’ and for having the audacity to be honest about it. But at that moment, the last thing I wanted was to deal with whatever it was that he wanted. So I glared down at him, almost daring him to ask for what he wanted. Now, if you’re a parent, you’ll probably know that when it comes to toddlers, threats often fall on deaf ears.

[bctt tweet=”Threatening a toddler is like negotiating with someone who is a cross between a terrorist and a politician. “]

 Either way, you’ll probably walk away thinking you won, when in reality they were holding all the cards to start with. 

Paying no heed to what I said, he ordered, “Papa, come with me!”, as he turned around and ran off into the bedroom. Sighing loudly to express my discontent at having failed at ‘my threats’, I follow him into the bedroom where he sat crosslegged on the bed. As I wondered about what he was going to do next, he gestured for me to come over and lie on his tiny lap. For a brief moment, I stood there – both amused and astounded by his reaction. Of all the things I’ve expected my little one to do, offering me a place to lay down with my head on his lap, wasn’t definitely one of them. All of a sudden, I felt a bit overwhelmed and a tiny tear escaped from the corner of my right eye, that had started to fill up rapidly.

‘Papa, come and lie down and I do this’ he said, his little arms making gestures that indicated something reminiscent of a head massage. Fighting back the tears, I obliged and placed my head on his lap. As he gently started to massage my head, running his nimble fingers through my hair, I felt drowsy and nodded off to sleep. 

When I woke up, about fifteen minutes later, he was missing. I could hear the high-pitched nasal voice of the narcissistic Mickey Mouse, singing the famous ‘Hot Dog’ song, so I naturally assumed he was watching TV. I was also pleasantly surprised to notice that my migraine had disappeared – perhaps because of the power nap; or perhaps it was on account of those tiny little magical fingers of his, that had cured me. Either way, I was extremely refreshed. So, I got up from the bed, stretched and called out to my son, who responded with his own rendition of the song.

As I slowly ambled towards the hall, I caught a glimpse of myself in the hallway mirror. And this is how it looked. (Ok, it looked much worse; this was taken after I finished a yell-session with him and then a ‘semi-detangling’ session)

The result of my son's hairstyling
The result of my son’s hairstyling

And then it dawned on me. He asked me to lie down on his lap so that he could knot strands of my hair into little clumps like these.

Kids. They’re freaking unbelievable.

Just a side note to apologise to my readers because I’ve not been as ‘active’ as I’d like to be. Let’s just say I’m not feeling ‘like myself’ at the moment and hence writing anything is an arduous task these days. 
Promise to be back soon.

Airports, an Award and a break

Airports, an Award and a break

The issue with wishes is that sometimes they inadvertently come true. Of course, these are never the things like winning the lottery. Or the wish that something you had penned or created goes viral or incredibly popular. Or even that silent wish that escapes your parted lips when you see a sumptuous buffet spread, and mutter to yourself that you are able to eat the entire thing. I am talking about the wishes that we sort of mention in passing. The ones that are often very spontaneous in nature and rarely something that we plan on doing or following through on. Like wishing a particular essay is asked for an exam because that’s the only one that you’ve studied. Or maybe wishing that the neighbor’s cat would stop tip toeing into your house after going through the neighborhood trash can and then through the swamp before deciding to deposit some remnants on your front yard.


Of course, if you’re a parent, these sort of inadvertent and spontaneous wishes are all the more prevalent. Like when you’ve been running after the little one around an airport and you’re utterly exhausted. Times like these, I’ve often found myself wishing that I could just travel alone in peace. It’s one of those momentary and spontaneous wishes – one that you don’t really mind if it doesn’t come true, but  something you just mutter so that you can just vent.


I sort of got my wish true a couple of days earlier. A solo travel. No playing catch in the middle of the waiting lounge. No picking noodles from random places on your being – from the hair to inside your pockets, making you wonder if you’re actually producing them. No ‘Papa, I’m bored or I want to watch the Animal movie’  (which by the way I’m yet to figure out what that means – I suspect it means a movie with animals). No ‘let me go and ask that lady for some crisps just to embarrass my parents’. And no ‘I’m going to just lie down here on these marble floors and wail my heart out just because I can.’


And you know what- I might sound crazy for saying this – but right then, as I sat in the airport lounge, surrounded by thousands of others going about their own business I felt kind of alone. I’ve never been someone who minds doing things alone. Of course if I had a choice to have company, I would choose that option for most things and activities.


But that day, it felt rather strange and incomplete at the same time. On one hand, I liked the peace and quiet and the fact that I didn’t need to look after anyone else’s needs , but just mine. Yes, I know I sound selfish. But hey, me-time is essential. If you’re a parent, you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. However the partly sad truth is that I also feel alone. In fact this is the first time I’ve travelled without Rishi and stuff in tow since his birth. Kind of sad don’t you think? But that’s just how it is. Of course, the other person I miss is my better half.


So as I sat there at the airport with a wry smile watching someone else’s kid make their parents cater to their every whim and fancy, and hear the *tsk tsk* of passengers who were perhaps not parents, I inadvertently found myself wishing again – that I never had to take a solo trip again without my family.


Of course, I also know that the next time I have Rishi threatening to test the break-ability of an airport restaurant’s fine China or throw the mother of all tantrums because I declined to buy him something that caught his eye, I will wish otherwise too.


[bctt tweet=”Parenting. It’s truly a random roll of the dice every time. “]



I’m now back from my solo trip. For those of you who must know, I had gone to attend an annual blogging conference in Mumbai hosted by BlogAdda. It was a great networking event and I met plenty of fellow bloggers – it was especially great to put a face to a name.

Oh, and I won this 🙂

Yes, you're presently reading the best personal blog in India.
Yes, you’re presently reading the best personal blog in India.


So thank you my dear readers, bloggers, friends, family or even if you’re reading this for the first time. It means a lot that you all keep returning to read what I write.

So at the risk of sounding like a pompous douche,

Award-winningly yours,



Update 2:

The original post was written on my return flight from Mumbai.

I am travelling once again. My wife, J, decided to surprise me with an impromptu (well, impromptu to me – she obviously had been planning it for a while) to Goa.

So right now, we’re sort of living the high life – lazing in a pool, munching on some amazing food, drinking cocktails I can’t spell while watching a gorgeous sunset over the sea.

Until later, thank you and stay safe.

Six 'little' feet.
Six ‘little’ feet.
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