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A Travel Back in Time: Visit to City Palace in Udaipur, Rajasthan

Last weekend was a memorable one for me and my kid . We visited the City Palace in Udaipur (Rajasthan, India). The beauty and grace of this magnificent historical monument cannot be described in words. The construction of this beauty was started by Maharana Udaisingh, but was gradually enhanced by his successors.

The Palace is located in the heart of the city, just a few meters away from the famous Jagdish temple. It is easily accessible by auto rickshaws. You need to purchase tickets at the entrance. Cameras are allowed, but with fees. You can also opt for a boat ride in Lake Pichola. As the palace is located on its banks, the boat ride gives you an exquisite view of the palace.

The palace has numerous domes, towers and totally comprises of 11 beautiful palaces, each exhibiting a different insight into architecture as shown by the person who built it. You can see amazing artwork created with the use of marble, glass, tiles and mirrors as well. The Sheesh Mahal and Mor Chok (peacock courtyard) shown in the images below are two of those.


As you ascend through the mysterious passages and stairs, the balconies on each floor give you a picturesque view of Lake Pichola on the banks of which the City Palace resides. There are numerous galleries exhibiting paintings, art and the memoirs of the various rulers. It takes you more than 2 hours for a walk through. You cannot help but admiring each and every aspect that you see.There are numerous Mahals, choks, balconies in the palace.

The beauty of the palace has been maintained and the rich heritage has been conserved by the management. The delicate artistic sections have been covered and protected by glass. The rich antiques are exhibited but amidst proper security.

The visit was a historical treat for all of us. My kid got a better feel of history through the visit than what he had been reading in the books.



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Harry Potter: The Super Hero of my Little Hero

My association with Harry Potter has a different story.
Like every other child, my kid too has his favorite series of super heroes. Ranging from the age old favorites like Phantom, Spiderman, and Superman, he has been coloring his imaginations with a lot of them. But since he's started understanding these fantasies and imaginations, one hero has remained constant throughout and that has been Harry Potter. This character has so much been into his and our lives, that finally I decided to write a post about this!

I do not need to introduce J K Rowling or Harry Potter. There is hardly anyone out there who is not aware of the mind boggling series of novels and the movies based on them. The Harry Potter series takes you away to the land of wizards, witches and magic. Its fascinating not only for the kids but for the elders as well.
As for us, we all are fans of this magical series. Though I have not read the books, I have watched every movie with equal excitement.The movies have done equal justice to the imaginative skills of the author. Hats off to the team who has worked on them.
But my kid? Well, he's probably the greatest fan of the author and the series. He had finished reading the complete series when he was 10 and has always loved to have discussions on it as well!



Being an avid reader, whenever he finds time, he gets hooked on to the books, needless to say, preferably the Harry Potter ones. As he became a die hard fan of this kid, his imaginative world spread around us too.

So now, Harry Potter, Ron, Hermione are our friends too. We give a patient listening to what Albus Dumbledore, Rubeus Hagrid and Minerva McGonagall  do, we listen to how Voldemort has dark shades in his character. The constraint of space restricts me to discuss the other exciting characters, but they exist too.

Moreover, there are discussions and debates on why Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the best and how Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is exciting of all. There is an analysis of how he feels that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is more fascinating as a movie than as a novel. Same goes with the other novels as well.

Finally, the bottom line is that the character Harry Potter and the imaginative world is not mere a child's play. It has helped my kid evolve a lot. He's got the fascination for reading complete novels and understanding them at an early age. As the stories fix him on to his seat, he's developed the perseverance too. He has learned to think and analyze. He compares the two media and is eager to project their comparison.

Isn't this a lot more than what parents can expect from children's literature? Thanks to Rowling and to Harry too.
 


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Raising Kids: Are we on the Right Track?

I met my friend last week. Her son is 4 yr old and she is a career woman. Yes, I won't say working mom, I would put it as a career woman. She has kept her work life balance with the help of her parents and a lot of maids. The kid goes for 3 hours to the playschool and she meets him late evening, when she spends some so called "quality time" with him.
Like every mom, she feels she needs to give the very best to her kid and look into his all round development. These are the measures she adopted:
Being a single child, she wanted him to socialize, so she fixed up his 2 hours in a day care.
She wanted him to be a bit religious, so she fixed up his hour at a coaching that teaches the chants and prayers.
Like any other kid, he's not very keen in studying (which is actually not a big deal at playschool), but she is worried of his school grade and put him on to tutions for an hour.
All this didn't seem enough for the worried mom, so she engaged him on to extra curricular activities for 3 hours on Saturdays.
Well, I was shocked at all this. And, I was disgusted at the way she was justifying her decisions. I couldn't imagine a 4 year old running from one coaching to another training all the week round. Does the little soul even realize what he was into? Does he know the reason to do all this?
He's not the only one. My neighbor's seven year old is a Brown belt in Karate and  performed her Arangetram  in Bharatnatyam! So she is mastering classical dance and martial arts at the same time, along with a hectic school routine.
It is true that kids adapt to routine easily and are fast learners, but as parents, we should decide on how far to stretch their patience. They have to grow up and face a big competitive world ahead. That is the time they will need to be on their toes. For this they need a calm, peaceful childhood. If we engage them at this stage so fiercely, they will already be exhausted by the time they face the world. If we put ourselves in their shoes, how does it feel to run around at others whims? Should we not wait for them to grow a little and express what their interests are?
I sincerely think, it is time for parents to introspect today.

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