Stories about childhood

Bullying 101: We don’t need more angry, aggressive boys – we have enough already

I had conflicted feelings the minute I saw him on screen, despite not being able to pinpoint the exact factors that made it unappealing for me. Even though I tried to watch the video after putting my therapist goggles aside, it still seemed problematic to me. However, as with most things online, I soon forgot about it and moved on. But it did not stop with that single video. A while later, another video of the same child popped up in a similar school setting, with adults apparently enjoying the expression of emotional distress through the child’s tantrums. Who was making these ...

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Christopher Robin is a warm and emotional trip down memory lane

“Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood, Where Christopher Robin plays, You’ll find the enchanted neighbourhood, Of Christopher’s childhood days.” But Christopher’s childhood days are bound to come to an end. So what happens then? That’s the story of Christopher Robin, a charming fantasy comedy based on the beloved characters that were created by author AA Milne and illustrator EH Shepard almost a decade ago (inspired by the former’s own son and his toys). In Director Marc Forster’s new film, Christopher Robin (portrayed as a kid by Orton O’Brien) leaves his childhood friends behind as he grows up, trading the imaginative lands of the Hundred Acre Wood ...

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When your son asks you “what is a mango”

While flipping through a book of fruits that I brought for him yesterday, my three-year-old son stopped on a particular page. Curiously, he gazed at the picture for some time. He tilted the little book, first left then right, and even gave it at a full upside down rotation in hopes that this thing would look familiar once he sees it with the right angle. As I was watching him making these attempts and inwardly feeling excited on actually witnessing my toddler’s cognitive process (yes, parents have these weird, rather creepy moments of exhilaration), out of frustrated curiosity, my son asked ...

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Dadi jaan was a warrior, wrapped in six yards of silk

Amidst the cacophony of uncontrollable sobs, wails and tear stricken faces, she lay there peacefully, lifeless and listless, shrouded in layers upon layers of pale white cloth, oblivious to the void she had left us with. An unfathomable sight for me, for I had spent my entire childhood admiring the grace and modesty with which my grandmother, Asiya Khanum, carried her colourful banarsi saris, those elaborately designed and intricately embellished pallus, the effortless ease with which she went about her daily chores even with six yards of fabric wrapped around her petite waist. I can’t recall anyone being on their ...

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Bid adieu to boring lectures and keep your students engaged and motivated through gamification

Have you ever wondered why children get so bored in school, yet are interested in playing with silly things? A few things that children love to do are climbing trees, playing tic-tac-toe in class or running wild. Climbing trees teaches children to trust their own judgement, so it works as a fun activity as well as a learning experience. If we pause for a moment and ask ourselves why kids like to do these things, we’d understand that they simply do them because they feel challenged. They test themselves, use their minds and get involved in activities which catch their interest. The same ...

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The shared experience of being tampered with as a child

Jack* did not have much of a childhood to write home about. That obviously did not hinder his meteoric rise, because as a young professional, he was already on top of his game. He was quite successful, with a six digit salary, vacations pre-planned for a year in advance, and stocks and bonds neatly sorted out. While he could hold onto investments with alacrity, what he couldn’t hold on to, for dear life, were relationships. Friends, men or women, would come and go from his life, with surprising frequency. To him, even his biological family, the little he had, felt like it was on borrowed time. I think the lack ...

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Parenting in Pakistan: An unhealthy mix of care and competition

Having lived abroad for nearly five years, I have become a keen observer of certain behavioural differences between Pakistani children, and those raised in the US or the UK. I firmly believe that cultural differences in early childhood decide who we become in our adulthood. A lot is determined by how parents and family members react to a child’s behaviour in his initial years of life, thereby instilling in him either a rightful or an inappropriate sense of what is correct or wrong. Each year during my annual trip to Pakistan, I noticed aggressive behaviour in Pakistani children which people in our country conveniently term as ...

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My niece is the apple of my eye, but I fear for her

I was reading the paper while having toasted bread with a cup of coffee, and my eyes fell upon a story that sent shivers down my spine – two brothers had raped a 14-year-old girl. I placed the cup back on the table since my hands were trembling and all of a sudden, I was a broken little girl again. I was transported back into the past, the same past that had affected not only my childhood, but my soul – a past where I was loved and was the apple of someone’s eye. But sometimes, love isn’t enough because I still remember. ...

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Eid lunch – For the love of family and food

Eid will always remind me of my childhood and growing up in Pakistan. I have a clear sensory memory of awakening to aromas of cloves and cardamom wafting from the kitchen into my bedroom. This is a day that revolves around family togetherness and a celebration of food, after a month of abstinence and contemplation. Though a global Muslim festival, Eid is celebrated differently in each country, highlighting the fact that this is not just a religious day, but a time to celebrate our culture and identity. But, the one unifying similarity is that Eid is a celebration of food, authentic flavours ...

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We lack the wisdom to raise our sons the way we raise our daughters

Before our son Kareem was born, my wife Priya, my daughter Madina and I were on a flight and we ended up sitting next to a woman who was expecting her first child. I sat in the middle seat between Priya and the expecting woman while the two of them discussed things only an expecting mother could discuss with another mother. At one point we asked if she knew the gender of her baby and she said, “A boy thankfully. I am so relieved.” As she went on to explain why she’s relieved, she said having a girl would be a lot more ...

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