Dreams of Children: Give wings to the future

Children, the future of country, are the creatures of curiosity and diversity.  In their eyes, every dream is possible and each task is accomplish-able. They are encouraged by parents to achieve new goals every day in different fields like academic, extra-curricular and sports activities. Debate, extempore and stage performances have become part and parcel of their life. In their early years till grade 5, they are all-rounders in each activity and full of energy, ready to be nurtured. High school students have future goals set in terms of jewelry designing, entrepreneurship, data analyst, robotics, economist, social activists and what not.

To achieve big, we have to think big. We have to give wings to the dreams.

This quote is true for youth also, with so many fields opening, any dream can be achieved. We have read so many success stories and learnt that sometimes way to achieve goal also does not exist. With hard work, dedication and networking, one has to create path, collect resources, sometimes even change people mindset and then walk on road to success. If someone is in financial stagger, because of this cannot take admission in college of dreams, he can work part-time and save for future. Some families worry that working in Mac Donald’s or as telephonic customer executive in a BPO will lower their social image, this ideology needs updating. In foreign countries, kids over 18 years age working in KFC, restaurants, shops is quite common and approved by adults. Location constraint and knowledge crunch are small constraints, other difficulties vis-a-vis` can also be overcome by willpower and continuous efforts.

India is a developing economy and its resources, institutes, technology all are adopting changes rapidly. With penetration of internet, knowledge of parents has been enhanced, they are becoming tech savvy and setting foundation stones for bright future of their children. New endeavors are opening and people are now migrating from traditional jobs to specialization jobs, public mindset is expanding from government jobs to private sector options. Business family kids are setting their career choices in service sector and vice-versa.

Children of poor families who are in daily wages or manual labor, are still deprived of education in present situation. Despite government policies of mandatory primary education, girls and boys opt out of school after class 5th and become bread earner of their family. Above situation need to be remedied, but with ever-increasing prices of essential food and their family size, this is difficult to control. Due to wishful thinking for male child, their family size keeps on increasing, while ironically, girl child is the one who bears family responsibility in absence of mother. These are often unregistered citizens of country who have no government identity or migrants whose identity is of no significance in current location of residence. While NGO’s and Corporate CSR are working towards betterment of underprivileged section, it has become social and moral responsibility of citizens to contribute to the cause.

Sex discrimination, social structure differences and subjective knowledge are hurdles in better development of the country. Well-off families with illiterate or orthodox family members often stand as obstacle in children’s educational and social growth. Ancestral rules and regulations are ill-fit in today’s environment. Educated and intelligent people have grasped this idea, and are upgrading themselves according to their children. Children of these families are most benefited and are given freedom to pursue their dreams with proper guidance and training. With return of NRIs back to India and opening their own ventures, skill development programs, colleges diversifying their programs, international competition and scholarships have created new avenues.

In recent times, popularity of kids dance shows, child actors, and singing competition has increased tremendously. Their studies are being compromised and money control is shifting from parents to young hands. Fame and finances are the evil forces for young generation, which without mature handling could result in family disintegration and disruption. Careful mentor-ship is required to nurture young minds to their full potential and it should be ensured that childhood innocence is not lost in glamour of world. With technological intrusion in schools and toys, children are now better equipped with internet and computers than even their parents. Our generation struggled with computers in school times, younger generation has been using I-pad, mobile phones practically since birth. Although there is age-restriction for Facebook account, Indians rarely follow rules and small children are being exposed to internet at tender age. Parental lock on websites may ensure some safety on home; internet cafe and mobile devices are still danger to juvenile. Futuristic thoughts are compelling us to make planned decisions towards continuous academic growth along with engaging playful side.

Closing above article, I would share my final thoughts. It is big liability to nurture children, the future of country into socially responsible, humble and independent human beings. We need to cast-off our prejudices and corporate in bright future of country. “Freedom to dream” is not a phrase but meaning of life for many people.

Pankh katne ka Gam nai karna,

Apni Aankhon ko nam nai karna,

Ek din Asmaan ko Chu loge,

Hosalla Apna kam nai karna!!

Cherishing motherhood with Maternity Wear

Kareena Kapoor Khan has set new standards for maternity by openly embracing her pregnancy, doing photo-shoots, ramp-walks and public appearances. She was looking gorgeous as well as heavily pregnant while continuing her usual work routine.

Maternity wear is still new term for many people in India. When a women is pregnant she is supposed to wear extra-large clothes, which may have drooping shoulders, or misfit in other form, just because her normal size is no longer an option. There is no need to wear lose clothes to conceal your baby bump, however in tier II and tier III cities, it is still unconventional for women to openly show her pregnancy state. For those women who want to break society norms and still appear sweet and sober, new options in ethnic collection have emerged.

Maternity Photo-shoots,usually done in eighth month of pregnancy, are phenomenal in making statement that modern women are proud to flaunt their pregnancy state. Working women can be seen in office just days before their due date, wearing conservative and formal clothes. In corporate sector, women are shown respect and care in their delicate condition, this approach has boosted confidence in many.

Maternity wear clothes have been in Indian market for many years, but now they are gaining awareness with concept like maternity photo-shoot blooming. Working women in metro cities are specially open to the concept and are indulging in Maternity wear clothes for daily as well as special occasion. These clothes are specially stitched such that they do not look extra large for your size and can be worn till the arrival of big day.

E-commerce sites for maternity wear

Various e-commerce sites such as Jabong, Limeroad, Firstcry,  HnM India, Ajio, have a range of clothes for pregnant women. Customers can purchase online with lot of options, from tops, tunics, dresses, lingerie, ethnic suits  to trousers, jeans, sweatpants, tights and leggings  in bottom wear. Some exclusive ranges: HnM India has some woolen collections available while maternity footwear are available on Firstcry.com, which include sandals, ballerinas and flip-flops. Nursing tops is another range which can be browsed, sometimes nursing tops and maternity tops are same.

While there are options available online, there are very limited options in brick and mortar shops. Some boutiques have started displaying maternity wear suits which are in order-to-stitch state or semi-stitches condition, so that they are of individual’s fitting. But these kind of options are again limited. Superstores like Shoppers stop, HnM India have started separate section named Maternity Wear in some locations.

For Nursing  Mothers

These days, nursing friendly clothes such as tops, dresses are available which are comfortable, trendy as well as useful. Often, when you are travelling or visiting someone, you need to breastfeed your baby. These types of tops combined with nursing stole provide escape even in emergency/awkward situations.

If you are a first time mother, consider including above options in your wardrobe to appear stylish and comfy at same time. With time India is progressing, people’s mindset is gradually becoming liberal and new alternatives are emerging which will aid in new mothers immensely.

New Baby preparation tips for Indian Mindset

Being a to-be-parent is a wonderful feeling for most of us. First time parents are often excited about every small detail and readily subscribe to weekly mails for week by week Pregnancy Updates(like http://www.babycenter.com).  These weekly mails provide huge support in educating women about bodily changes, necessary precautions, and help in preparing for little one’s arrival with useful tips.

When I was pregnant for first time, I relied on these weekly mails for my education, since experience of our mothers have become ancient and many preparations done in their time have become redundant.

In India, it is bad omen to buy things before baby is born. So most of the parents face dilemma in end time how to select goods and purchase efficiently. There are lot of tips and sometimes it can be over-whelming. But no need to panic. As you continue your pregnancy, keep on talking with others regarding their experience, observe new mothers and just relax. You will do fine.

In today’s age of internet, there are many options available to help you get ready for the big day. Some of the to-dos are:

  1. Do Window shopping in top-end baby stores to know what products are available in market. You can then make note of things which strike useful and later search on internet for possible variations.
  2. Since would-be-mother will be busy in hospital, responsibility lies on father, or near relatives to buy  baby essentials. To ensure that mother’s choice is included, make list of things required early. You can even be as specific as which product of which brand to purchase. This would save time and dilemma of shopper.
  3. Talk with lot of new mothers (who became mothers within 1-2 years) regrading what they chose. I talked with some whose children are now 3-4 years old, believe me even their knowledge can be outdated. Since, there is rapid expansion of products in market, thing which exist today and readily available, may not have been 2-3 years back.
  4. Front opening clothes for baby: Body suits are available for new-born which are easy to wear and change diapers. They have buttons from chest to legs bottom, so open garment, put your baby on top of it and simply close the buttons. In case of diaper change no need to change baby clothes also, simply opening leg buttons will expose private area.
  5. Diapers vs clothes nappies: It is individual’s choice but nowadays, quality of diapers has improved. Baby skin is delicate in starting, but even then good brand diapers are effective and soft. Wipe you baby’s skin with distilled water and cotton for initial 30 days instead of using baby wipes. Clean skin folds thoroughly and pat dry before covering baby’s genitals. This will ensure optimal protection in case of both cloth nappies and diapers.
  6. Quick dry sheets, changing mats have replaced specially made baby bedding. The purpose of these bedding’s to avoid bed wetting. Now,  no need to worry as quick-dry sheets absorb water, are easy to wash and dry. Always stock 2-3 sheets, as baby may wet them quickly.
  7. Baby skin friendly detergents are available in market which are gentle for your little one’s clothes, in turn gentle for baby skin.
  8. Nursing pillow, nursing stole, nursing tops are some of the new options which make breast feeding easier.
  9. Stem-cell banking: Talk with your doctor about stem-cell banking in advance. You may wish to secure your baby against some diseases in future. It is still relatively new concept, but in recent 2 years, awareness has increased and lot of parents are opting this benefit.
  10. Prepare Hospital Bag by 36 weeks:  In end of pregnancy days, you may never know when emergency hospital visit is needed and you get blessed with your new born. Pack essentials like 3-4 diapers, baby wipes, 2-3 baby clothes set for starting. If you have easy access to hospital from home, then other essential things can be brought later on also.
  11.  Always keeps a change of adult clothes while travelling. Babies are unpredictable, you may get baby poop or baby milk on your clothes and need change. This tip applies for fathers also, who want to be active in baby care.

Booking Doctor appointment online is easy

I remember, there used to be times, when we needed to talk with doctor, then book appointment.  Earlier, we had to stand in long queues on government hospital(like AIIMS) since early morning for registration. But in today’s time , various websites and apps have been developed which can book Doctor’s appointment online. Now, whenever my mother-in-law visit AIIMS, she goes at her allocated reporting time only.

Government of India is working towards Digital India with lots of effort and positive results towards online patient profile management and appointment booking. With ORS (Online Registration Portal), a Digital India Initiative, 58 government hospitals across country have been linked currently. AIIMS, Delhi has also launched its separate mobile app,  AIIMS@Delhi . I have not tried other hospitals but in AIIMS Delhi, only one appointment can be booked at a time. In my case, we required two appointments in two separate departments(one in Cardiology and one in Pulmonary). We had to wait for one appointment’s day to arrive, then only were able to book appointment in other department. But, this feature helps us in ensuring that people do not misuse appointment booking app by booking multiple appointments and not being sure when they will actually go and see doctor.

Below are the  easy steps to follow to get an appointment on the ORS website or on the App:

  1. Verify yourself using Aadhaar Number
  2. Choose Hospital / Department
  3. Select date of appointment
  4. Get confirmation sms

For appointment in Private and Semi-private hospitals

Majority of middle class families go to private and semi-private hospitals for treatment as there is less waiting time and affordable treatment(thanks to medical insurance). In this area also, patients need no worry! Various companies have come forward and developed platform joining doctors and patients and guarantee more transparency through reviews.

Some of the platforms available are as below:

Practo: established in 2009 and working connecting patients with  doctors in clinic and hospitals. We can search for particular specialist in our specified region and view doctor’s consultation charges, education, clinic opening times as well as book appointment online. Once appointment is confirmed, a message is sent by the website ans well as reminder message is sent on the day of appointment. I once used this website, there was change in appointment time due to doctor unavailability and i was given due information via e-mail as well as given another appointment.

kare4u: Operating in Hyderabad, Bangalore, New Delhi, Bhubaneswar, Pune, Kolkata, Vijayawada, Cuttack, Chennai, Visakhapatanam, Kurnool, Bhimavaram and Gobardanga.

BookDrAppointment: Operating in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Chennai, Ahemdabad, Hyderabad, Noida, Guwhati, Visakhapatanam, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, Patna and many more cities.

Visitdr, BookMyDoctor: These websites shows a list of hospitals tied-ups in a particular city. Then patients can choose Hospital and doctor from list.

You may also like: Nutrition: importance of healthy food

Crowdfunding: Benefits and Opportunities in India

What is crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is the latest trend to raise money for different causes in India. People are moving to crowdfunding for various reasons: raising money by sportsperson, artists, medical treatment,  new movie producers, even by early stage startups(less than 2 year old) to raise funding.

According to the SEBI Consultation Paper 2014, Crowdfunding in India can be defined as[1]

“Crowdfunding is solicitation of funds (small amount) from multiple investors through a web-based platform or social networking site for a specific project, business venture or social cause.”

Is it legal in India

There are four broad categories of crowd funding: Donor based, Reward based, equity based and Debt based crowd-funding. According to SEBI, Equity Crowdfunding, specifically digital equity crowdfunding platforms, is illegal. Reward-based crowdfunding and donor-based crowdfunding is not.

Rules and regulations

Your campaign idea should be original and well structured.You need to define your project/product in details like planning, budget, estimated execution time and completion time.

Also, one of the major step in crowdfunding is creating two-minutes pitch video. A pitch video is contains important information like why your product/project is good, what is the future, how it will affect society in general, five year growth plans(in case of startups). It is always beneficial to include charts and facts after proper market survey and consumer validation.

Another criteria for your success in raising crowdfunding money is how well you promote your product on social media, in target investors network and capturing public attention. Some campaigns are offering lucrative rewards on particular amount of funding received. Rewards such as early-bird copies, autographed or limited edition merchandize, invitations to the launch, personalized thank you messages, etc. encourage backers to support your project.

Websites offering platform for crowdfunding

Crowdera, Bitgiving, Start51.com, FundDreamsIndia, DreamWallets are some of the websites offering crowdfunding platforms in India. They allow campaign to go for maximum 60 days live to raise money.

India for Sports is a Not-For-Profit Organization dedicated to bring a change in the condition of Sports and Athletes in India through the idea of Crowdfunding.

Wishberry:  is exclusively dedicated to funding creative projects – music, stand-up comedy, film production, art, dance, design, photography, publishing, theater.

Ketto: supports fundraisers in three main categories:  Community/social projects (NGOs/Non-Profits/Charities), Creative arts (Movies/Music/Theatre/Fashion/Technology) and  Personal development (Health/Education/Travel).

FuelADream: It is a rewards-based crowdfunding platform and focuses on creative arts projects, social causes and charities.

Catapooolthelps fund raisers bring to life creative, sports, and political projects, social enterprises and business startups.

Ignite Intent: India’s 1st CrowdFunding Website to initiate College and Entrepreneurial Projects.

Besides above mentioned websites, many others exist which focus on peer-to-peer lending, supporting rural development entrepreneurs and other projects.

References:

1. SEBI (2014), “Consultation Paper on Crowdfunding in India”, June17, 2014. (http://www.sebi.gov.in/cms/sebi_data/attachdocs/1403005615257.pdf)

Image source: Internet