Articles written and published by patrons of Banjara Academy, ex-students of Banjara Academy, psychologists, professionals from various streams, professors from various institutes, helping hand volunteers of Banjara Academy, Faculty of our academy and Dr. Ali Khwaja

Why become a Parent?

Choosing to become a parent is a decision we make. It is not something that is thrust upon u, even though we like to play victim sometimes. We very well know the challenges of parenthood, before we become parents – the sleepless nights, the financial constraints, the constant negotiations, disciplining, media, safety, you name it! We have discussed all this many times over and heard it incessantly from people around us who are already parents. Yet, we decide to go ahead and bring a child into this world (or adopt a child). Why are we doing this to ourselves? Why do we do this?

I don’t have any theories or experiments to prove or explain why we do what we do. I do have my own understanding and instincts for why we put ourselves in a position laden with challenges. One is the obvious – the kind of warmth, love, admiration and fun that comes from a child, is unparalleled! You could be mad as hell but that one puppy like hug from your child and your anger vanishes into thin air.

The other could be our natural urge to take care or nurture – I believe this is more prominent in most women, but that does not mean that its absent in men. As an adult, we are not able to play with and care for our toys and dolls and hence we get a real life one? You can pooh-pooh this all you want, but dig deep and for most of you, this maybe one of the reasons.

Could it also be because we think we can do better than the others we have heard parenting horror stories from? Then there’s also the usual explanation about the natural need for proliferating our species.

One of the reasons for why we become parents, came to me tonight, while putting my daughter to bed. Could it be a way the universe is telling us to become better? Better citizens, better friends, better listeners, better people. As a parent, each one of us wants only the best for our child – the best schools, best clothes, best toys, best opportunities, best friends. Most of the times we already think they have the best parents in the world

While we try to be the best parents we can and teach them whatever little we know, we seldom realise that our children are in fact, teaching us larger lessons – lessons we have forgotten along the way, lessons that are in the back burner to be used someday when we are free from our duties, lessons that we know will only make things better but they are also lessons that require us to step up and do more and be more. Who wants to do that willingly?

Parents! That’s who! Here we have someone who is hearing (notice I did not say ‘listening’ ;-) ) every word we say, whether it is to them or not, observing every move, every cringe, every smile, every tear held back, every piercing stare. It takes every ounce in us and every inch of our body to bring up the energy and the courage to constantly remind ourselves to do the right thing.

Parenting reminds us to keep our ego aside, be humble, realize and accept that we may make mistakes (okay, most of the times, the children will be quick to point out what mistakes you have made, but sometimes you have the luxury of figuring it out yourselves). It reminds us not to be hard on ourselves for the mistakes, but to learn from them and move on. Isn’t that what we tell our kids?

It reminds us that sometimes it is okay to be defeated and fail. We brush ourselves, get up and try again. Isn’t that what we tell our kids?

It reminds us to be better listeners. If we don’t listen when they talk, they won’t talk when we want to listen. I’m sure you have heard that! Listen to me! Isn’t that what we tell our kids?

Life is in the details for children – it is the broken crayon, it is the crumpled page or the favorite water bottle. Before you know it, it will become the broken heart, the crumpled notes to self, or the most favorite person in the world. It reminds us to care about the little things, because it is the drops of water that make up the ocean. Isn’t that what we tell our kids?

We are all struggling with understanding ourselves and our emotions even as “grown ups”. We learn to deal with some and we wrestle with some, sometimes for life. Parenting is a reminder that having strong uncontrollable feelings for something even as little as a drawing gone bad, or something as significant as body image, is okay and normal. What is important is to learn to accept, cope or change, as we see fit and possible. Isn’t this what we tell our kids?

If you are willing to put your “adult” ego aside and think, you realize, as we go through the various phases of our children’s lives, our lives at any point are not that different from theirs. We are both in this journey together. Children enter our lives and provide a constant reminder to us to show up, be better, do better and live better. Every moment with them is a reminder to be present, be your best, and most importantly, be yourself. Isn’t that after all what we tell our kids?

-Sharda Kalayanaraman (Anu)

Do your career planning when there is no pressure

When you are in the beginning of the academic year, with no pressure of annual or Board exams, this is the right time to narrow down your career goals and thereby plan which course or college you would like to go to. Once you choose your career, you will be working in that field for at least 40-50 years. Hence you need to start the process of narrowing down, even if you are in 9 th or 11 th . Once you decide your career, it becomes easier to select subjects and courses to take you towards your goal. What course you take e.g. science, commerce or arts, what degree to pursue after 12 th and even what post- graduation to take up after degree – all these should be decided based on a careful and scientific evaluation of the combination of interest + aptitude (skills) + personality traits + opportunities. Do not wait till the last moment when admissions are closing and you need to take immediate decision. Get yourself assessed at Banjara Academy. We will list out all your traits holistically and once you agree that we have analyzed you correctly, we will list out most suitable careers, and then we will work with you on what courses, colleges, subjects you need to select to take you to the right goal.

Should I Work While Studying?

Many students have a desire to earn some money or gain experience while they are studying. Some parents encourage, while others are apprehensive that work may distract the student, bring down his grades, put him into wrong company, or take away his motivation to study further. Those who do wish to work can follow these steps to determine the right balance:

  • First settle down in the new course you have taken up, whether it is PUC, degree or post-graduate. Get thoroughly familiar with your books, classes schedules, traveling time, and how are your energy levels.

  • List out the possible careers you are going to take up eventually. Ensure that the job you take up gives you some exposure or experience in one of them. Do NOT take up a job in a field of work that you will not be pursuing, even if the money is good.

  • Join an organization where the work culture is such that people share information with you. Do not get stuck in a monotonous repetitive job where you are doing the same tasks every day.

  • Do not make a long term commitment, and avoid organizations that slowly start extending your working hours. Periodically check whether you are able to keep up your academic standards while working, and ensure that your employer gives you holidays before your exams.

  • If at any time you feel uncomfortable with your work, or you find that you are too tired to keep up with your studies, quit immediately. Do not allow your short term earning to affect your long term success.

  • While working, ask your seniors to give you frank and critical evaluation of your work, your strengths and your achievements. This in turn will help you narrow down your long term career goals.

Taking A Break For Work Experience

Many students toy with the idea of taking a break during their studies and spending a year gaining some work experience. There are both advantages and disadvantages of such a move. Before you take a decision, consider the following factors:

  • Working, even for a short time and in an entry-level or apprentice type job, gives you a practical exposure to how working conditions will be in a particular field. Hence ensure that if you are taking up a job, it should be in the area you are considering as a career.

  • Break is better after finishing a basic degree. A break after 10+2 may neither get you a good job, nor enough exposure for you to decide what career is most suitable to you.

  • Ensure that you are the type who will be able to get back to studies, and not get enamored by the money and glamour of being a working person.

  • Finalize a job before stopping studies. It may be paying very less (or in extreme cases, not at all), but the organization should give you opportunities to learn, and not just do routine work.

  • When taking a break from regular courses, keep up your habit of studying either by taking up short term or correspondence courses, or by studying on your own the topics relevant to your work.

  • If you are already clear about what career you are going to take, then it is better to continue uninterrupted studies and acquire higher qualifications.

  • Then list out all your shortcomings (e.g. not good in spoken English, cannot speak in crowds, hate traveling, cannot see blood, scared of heights, etc.). Areas for improvement have been highlighted in the report.

School Students and Teachers
Plan well in advance

Every year I come across students who are keen to get into a course of their choice, but find that the last date for applying is already over. For example, one can give the KVPY exam for scholarships and for admission in IISERs and IISc to study pure sciences, while you are in 11 th standard. (check out Similarly, while lakhs of students prepare for years to get into IITs, not many are aware that after doing a basic degree in science, one can get into one of the prestigious IITs for a Masters in Science through the JAM exam held in February every year – but last date for admission is in October the previous year (see

Even Primary school teachers need to be qualified

Government of Karnataka has issued orders that Primary school teachers should have a D.Ed. diploma by March 2019. The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) has started registration for D.Ed. (last date 15 th Sep 2017) for teachers who have above 50% marks in PUC. Those who do not qualify by 2019 are liable for termination. Teachers can contact their nearest NIOS office. In Karnataka it is at 3 rd floor, Karnataka Examinations Authority (CET Cell) building, Corner of 18 th Cross and Sampige Road, Malleswaram. Phone 80-23464222 or 1800-180- 9393. Email:

Options through NIOS

Students who fear that they may miss out getting their matriculation certification because they are poor in one or two specific subjects have the option of choosing whatever subjects they wish to pursue, through the above- mentioned NIOS exam, which is recognized all over India. Even those who have failed in one or two subjects in SSLC/CBSE/ICSE and could not clear in the supplementary exams also, can contact NIOS for “on demand” exams and thus clear their way for higher studies.

CBSE’s course “Knowledge traditions and practices of India”

For the first time a comprehensive course on India’s intellectual, artistic, scientific and technological heritage: Knowledge Traditions and Practices of India has been offered to CBSE’s schools as an elective course for classes 11 and 12. The modules are reported to be academically rigorous yet student friendly; they are enriched with numerous illustrations , annotated extracts from primary texts, explanatory side notes, lists of online and offline resources, suggested projects and other activities. Most of them are also available online.
24 states to scrap “No detention” policy from next year

24 states are likely to scrap the no-detention policy in schools from 2018 since it had led to a fall in learning outcomes resulting in over 20% dropout at class IX. Under the current regime students are promoted automatically till class VI-VII ,but now they will be tested twice –in class V and class VI-VII and those who fail the March exam will be given another chance in May; else the students will be detained in the same class. There have been several instances of large-scale failures in class XI and these were seen as due to a lack of qualitative and quantitative assessments in earlier classes. On occasions students protested and turned violent. The class X board exam was optional and it was only recently that a decision has been taken to bring it back from March 2018. Earlier it was envisioned that with the implementation of the comprehensive and continuous evaluation (CCE) students will assessed from class I, eliminating a need for an examination to promote students to higher classes. But CCE proved difficult to implement and teachers lost leverage over students with many govt. schools turning into mere “mid-day meal” providers. The proposed amendments seeks to improve the learning levels of children.