Group project, the bane of my existence

When my children were little, the one thing that drove them to the point of insanity was group projects, Often the teacher paired them with students who are not good in  their studies. I always told my children that they simply have to accept the fact that they need to learn to get along with others who are not always like them. I remember Yaya single handedly doing a group project in grade 5 all by herself because no one in her group wanted to do it  properly and Yaya couldn’t bear to hand in a shoddy project..and the tears she shed ..I think I wrote a blog post about it.

And now, I face the same dilemma. All of my assignments that I have to do by myself, I got 7 ( highest GPA) but some of the courses require me to do group project and that is the main problem. I understand not everyone is going to be as driven as I am. But this is a masters degree and by now everyone should have learned  that if you are going to do something, do it well.

I am meant to do a group project on a WHO report..and I received a mail from one of my team member.. That she spent the past 3 days searching for the perfect picture for the report cover page. Another one then commented on how beautiful the picture is and how our project is different from everyone else’s  ( based on the cover page, not content) and that we surely will get the highest mark. Sadly, the content most of my team members have managed to get is copy and paste (change few words to avoid plagiarism) wiki…and somehow they think that is sufficient.

It reminded me of this Calvin and Hobbes cartoon

There are a series of 6 comic strips and  you will understand what I mean when you get to the part with ‘ no marks for the professional clear folder’

And finally this is what I would like to place on the cover page..







Make the rest of your life the best of your life.

Last weekend, I helped  avery dear friend to move to her new place.

She came to Australia with lots of hope and dreams. She is a trained radiographer and found after arriving here that her degree is not accepted here. Her husband is an electrician , he had enough points to pass the skills category and get the visa, only to come here and find that he needs to re do his trade certificate again.

i faced the same dilemma when I landed in Canada. I went there thinking my life was going to be a bed of roses. I did all that I as an immigrant was supposed to do. Registered myself in all the immigrant support services. One even found me a job, telephone assistant in some Indian shop that paid the minimum wage, which after I paid the bus fare and the child care gave me less than 15. $ for a day’s work.

No one ever told me about student loans or how I can upgrade my skill. It was so disheartening to go from living in a Condo to a 2 bedroom underground dungeon( basement suite) and I felt so lost and sad.

My friend and her husband can’t afford to buy a house here. They have nothing to go back to their home country either..Every two years, when her rental contract is up for renewal she has to look for a new place with cheaper rental. ( renewal of rental contract always results in higher rent)

I  have told her about all the help she is entitled to get a degree here, but she doesn’t want to do it.

I am not trying to judge her..but I wish I could get her to see, you can always make the rest of your life the best.. So what you slogged years to get your degree and the govt doesn’t recognize it? Do it again…and again..till you get the job you really want..

don’t give up, just because one door closed on your face.. Kick the rest of the doors… Till you get in.


Yesterday I met a mallu guy at Uni and as usual the first topic of discussion was about children.

You know the drill. What are they doing? Where are they studying etc and the topic of IB came up.

he said ” I am a smart father, I told my daughter, to get in to UQ ( university of Queensland) you need a bit of maths and a bit of physics , so take those two and do other subjects that doesn’t require you to do any work ( PE/ Music etc).. All you need is just enough marks to get in to UQ”

Getting admisdion in UQ with least possible effort was the smart plan.

What about their knowledge, life skills, learning to strive for a better results?

I am not sure how to take the notion that as a parent you encourage your children to be mediocre. Is that what parenting all about?

Two posts in a day??

I have a full day at Uni tomorrow and won’t have time to post this till next week.

So, Yaya got her SAT score an hour ago. She got 2060.

I am very happy for her. But she isn’t and she has realized that 2 weeks of studies won’t get you a really good SAT score and wants to write it again.

It felt so good to see her score.


I didn’t know anything about homosexuality till I went to study in UK.

As a child, the church indoctrinated me from the very young age that homosexuality is a sin, so I never even spent any time thinking about it as it was something that didn’t exist in my life. Even after leaving the church system, homosexuality still wasn’t part of my life, it was also not part of my medical curriculum. We were never taught anything about homosexuality as if it is something that didn’t exist. The only gay person  I knew while doing Medicine was Freddie Mercury ! But again he was a famous singer and his sexual orientation didn’t matter to me. In my world all inhabitants were straight.

During the student orientation day at my University in UK, I was given a bag full of pamphlets and student news papers. When I waited for the bus to go back home, I went through the pamphlets and I was scandalized! There was a full news paper for gay people. I quickly threw it off in the bin before anyone could see me reading it, let alone hold it in my hand.

But slowly, I met normal people who didn’t share the same sexual orientation as me and I learned that they are just like me..humans..with the same ideals and goals that I have with the only difference is in their choice of sexual partners. I learned that I do not have any right to judge another person based on their sexual orientation. Today if I am upset, the first person I call is my best friend who is a Dr and is openly gay. He is compassionate, gentle and has a sense of humor that rivals mine. When he calls me “darling” in a typical Aussie drawl it makes me smile.. He makes me see the silver lining in every grey cloud and I am fortunate to have him in my life.

Today, I can tell you I have come a long distance from the person who threw away gay newspaper without anyone seeing me to a mother who doesn’t care a bit if my children turned out to be gay. My children’s sexual orientation is irrelevant to  me. They are my children, be they are straight/gay/bi.  However, If my children are gay, I want them to be able to get married to their partner if they want to and no one should tell them they can’t.I support same sex marriage because no government/church should ever have the right to determine who can live with whom.

No child should ever be ostracised for their sexual orientation. No society to should ever judge someone for their sexual orientation.

I am proud of you Padma Iyer, you have finally made India to have an open debate about homosexuality.


I know there are various categories of parenting.. here are few types.

I don’t really know what type of parenting I do. I have had consistent rules for my kids since they were born and they were all based on one simple fact ‘respect’.

I respect their right to be a child ( teenagers now) and now their life revolves around their mobile phones.

A lot of parenting guides talk about restricting children’s access to social media, checking their accounts etc.

I do not restrict my children’s access to social media.

I raised them well and expect that they know when is a good time to chat with their friends. They have to make that decision, I don’t want to do it for them. As I said so many times before, every rule my mother set that restricted my rights as an individual, I broke them without her knowing and I know without any doubt that so will my children.

I read this article and I thought, that is exactly why I have never asked my children to hand in their mobile every evening. ( My friend’s daughter used an old ipod touch when her parents took her mobile away every evening and her parents had no clue) You don’t want your children to do things behind your back. If they are going to talk to their friends at 2 AM, they should do so in front of you. With the amount of school work and deadlines kids have, the last thing they would do is to talk to their friends in the middle of the night.. and even if they do,  there is often a reason for it. ( My son once told me he talked to a friend at 3 AM because his friend was upset with something and needed someone to talk to and was so grateful that my son cared enough to talk to him in his darkest hour)

It is not too hard to raise children without having too much of conflicts and anger and without making them finding ways to cheat you. All you need is to remember that they are your children and they are smarter than you.




I found this poem on a facebook post by  a colleague claiming, all parents should follow this.

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
?William Martin.

Imagine if every person from the beginning of time spent their time just eating a tomato, apple or a pear and relishing its taste, and then held each other’s hand  and cry when their pets die ! If that was all that meant to live in this world, then perhaps, we wouldn’t have sent an unmanned  spacecraft to Mars, we wouldn’t have almost eradicated Polio.. If it wasn’t for the people who lead/led extra ordinary life, we would still be living in caves and eating raw meat! It is the extra ordinary that made all the scientific discovery possible.

I am not saying children shouldn’t be taught to be compassionate or find joys in little things. However enjoying little things in life alone  doesn’t make your life extra ordinary. You need to work for it, for that you need to teach children, Determination, work ethics, good attitudes, positive thinking..they need to aim for the extra ordinary.

At the end, It is not how you can relish the taste of a freshly plucked tomato that will define your life. It is what difference you made to this world.. your contributions ( However small) is what matters at the end. So teach your children to  strive for the extra ordinary today, the tomatoes will still be there tomorrow..



First let me explain how Gamsat works.

You have a full session of reasoning in humanities and social sciences.. here is where you find the most obscure poems and prose with even more obscure questions. 75 questions in 100 minutes.

Then you have a writing part, 2 essays in 60 minutes. ( there is no break between section 1 and 2 and you are not allowed to take any food/coffee etc , except a bottle of ‘clear’ water)

Then an hour break for lunch, followed by reasoning in biological and physical science..110 questions in 170 minutes.

As a doctor, I can assure you, there is nothing in this exam that tests your ability to study medicine. This test is designed in such a way that majority of the students who write will fail. For eg, there was  a set off questions calculating torque of the ankle joint. Never in my life as a doctor, I needed to calculate torque or even work with torque principles, but Acer, the company that runs these tests thinks, it is my thinking ability/analytical ability etc that will enable me to calculate torque and if I could do that, then Bravo !! I could get admission to do Medicine.

So, we now come to the title of this post.

So, How many times do you think I wrote this stupid exam?


3 times, I burned midnight oil, spent enormous amount of money ( fees for the test is exorbitant) suffered severe migraine after the exams and two times I had to tell my children and each and every friend/colleague/neighbour etc that I failed.

It was really easy for me to say OK, this tests are really hard and I am too old. I should just give up.

Years ago, someone taught me ” having choices doesn’t equate freedom, making decisions sets you free” Context of the quote was different then, however in this situation, I had plenty of choices to say I am not doing it, it is too hard, too difficult.too old, waste of time..But then I made the decision, that I will do this test till I pass, even if it meant I have to write in 100 times.

Today I am free to pursue my dreams. Imagine if I had quit after the first and the second time I failed!


Double standards

Sometimes it is the little things that shows you how prejudiced you are..

My son is on a mission to save money.. Every time I give him 10 $, he spends 8$ and deposit the 2$ in his bank. Yaya on the other hand will spend the full 10$ and more if she could ( often borrowing money from her youngest sister !)

Because of this, when they go out together, there is always complaints, the brother saying sister spending all the money and sister complaints brother is a Scrooge.

So finally I asked my son

“Why do you need so much money?”

“to buy a car” he replied

“But  you can buy a car for 700$ ( old junk of course)” I responded

“Nope, I want to buy a Merc” He replied

“For goodness sake, why?”

“Chick magnet Mom !!! Do you think girls will give me a chance if I am driving an old junk?”

“But, son, you shouldn’t be dating a girl because she likes your hot car, you should be dating a girl because she likes you for who you are”

Then I looked at Yaya and realized, I would really be a bit unhappy if she dated a guy who could only afford to buy an old junk and be a bit more happy if she dated a guy who owns a Merc. Hypocrite… that is me.



Yaya and Baby go to the same school and they look exactly like identical twins.

They hate being compared to each other and each claims she is the better looking person than the other.

Everywhere Yaya goes, grade 8 kids ask her “Are you Baby’s sister?” and everywhere Baby goes the rest of the school, including the staff ask her ” Are you Yaya’s sister?”

In my defence, they have the same father !!!!!, which usually cracks up people when they tell me that my kids look exactly like each other.

This morning, both came out of their respective room wearing exactly the same kind of outfit, black and white stripped top and black jeans. ( top is from different brands and the stripes are different in the thickness)

I waited for the fireworks.

Yaya only noticed Baby’s outfit as they were leaving

“Oi, you are wearing the same thing as me, you better go and change?” she said to Baby

“I am not changing” I wore it first, etc were the arguments and counter arguments.

They had already missed the first three buses (karangifying instead of getting ready) when Yaya saw Baby’s outfit. But still Yaya chose to change her outfit, given the chance that she will miss the next bus and will be late for school.

“As it is everyone talk about us looking like twins mom, imagine what they will say if we wore same type of outfits.”

I didn’t say anything. But sometimes I do wonder about the first world problems my children have to deal with !!!!!