Life – A school of hard knocks !

One of our favourite programs on TV is “Shark Tank”. Season 10 is on and we record it each night so that we can watch it the next morning. With the recording, the advantage is that we can fast forward the adverts and save a ton of time :).

Last night the episode had “Kudo Banz” being presented to the Sharks. It was a family of five who came on the show – the children were 11, 9 and a tiny little 6 year old girl and their parents who had come up with this parenting tool called “Kudo Banz”. Check out their website –

The oldest boy Mickey made the pitch and he took on Mr. Wonderful, even leaving him speechless with his comebacks. But they didn’t get funded. The kids were heartbroken and I thought one of them was going to cry but they bravely trudged out and one certainly hopes they do well.

I was very impressed that the sharks never let emotion take over and that was an important lesson to these three kids. In the school of hard knocks called life, they will fail many times before making a go of something. Its a tremendous lesson and I so wish parents in India watch this program. I am also hoping that schools show this program during class hours because the urban, upper middle-class and rich parents in India are raising entitled brats. Sorry to sound the way I do, but this is my pet peeve, all the more aggravated as we travel for ShikshaDaan and see the kind of hardship that many poor students go through.

I loved the article that Manu Joseph, had recently written for LiveMint. Indians scorn “dynasties” but are raising pampered children. Do read it. We have countless examples of our friends working ten more years at a job they hate, just to fund their child or children’s education in some university in the US. We have cousins who have sold their houses to put their child through an expensive MBA or a medical degree. Friends who have borrowed to make their child’s expensive dream education come true ! I am waiting to see what these kids do in life. Some of these kids I know are super grounded and know exactly what their parents have done for them and they are taking off even as I write this.

My favourite example is my niece Vishakha. Her mother and I were room mates during 1989 when we came to Delhi for our faculty training at NIIT. Vishakha is an only child and Sharmila and Neeraj dote on her, but they have brought her up as a totally grounded child. She got great marks in 12th, went and did her engineering in Jaipur, took up several internships during the course and finally joined a good company in Bangalore through campus placement. What a rockstar she is, totally independent and I know she works really hard. Both her parents work hard and what better examples than your own parents. Also they never pampered her or made things easy for her even though they could afford it.

I see a lot of me in Vishakha, besides just being a fellow Arian. My father doted on me but he prepared me for life so well. He took me to a bank early on and forced me to deposit and encash a cheque all by myself while he was standing at the door. He would make me walk everywhere or use the cycle. I had two sets of clothes till college because he would say – you will outgrow the clothes and anyway, 2/3rds of the day is spent in your school uniform. He was ready to spend for any new skill that I wanted to learn or attend some class to learn something but he had no money for clothes, toys or anything that he considered frivolous. I didn’t like it then but when Krishnan and I went bankrupt, we could live frugally, we could manage with very little till our fortunes changed. We had the guts and the perseverance to keep trying till things got better. All the NO’s that we heard growing up helped as we faced the biggest failure of our lives.

So parents out there – prepare your child to play with the sharks and survive shark attacks. By giving them everything, you are doing a disservice to them and to the rest of the world. Giving them everything is not love, because they will face ups and downs. Love is to prepare your kids for the downs.

Life is indeed a school of hard knocks. 🙂


2 thoughts on “Life – A school of hard knocks !”

  1. Bindu, which channel gives you this program Shark Tank ? I was regularly seeing this program whenever we visited out daughter in US and I loved them.

    Yes, I subscribe to the same view like you. My children studied in Kendriya Vidyalaya. Strictly no Tuitions. They were instructed to listen to teachers carefully in the school and make do with self studies. I provided some help where needed. They did fairly well. My son got about 80 % in his 12th and daughter 96% Both went into the same premium Engineering college on free seat basis and they are doing extremely well in their life. Daughter is in Microsoft in Ca, US for last 12 years and son a Senior director in McAfee software India Pvt Ltd in Bangalore. Throughout their college they went by Public Transport (Bus). I could have afforded them a two wheeler. Mobile was coming in when my son was just about to leave the college and neither he nor his sister who went to college six year later got the mobile from my money. They grudged it alright when I refused but I stood my ground.

    I have also seen parents in the close family circles who pampered children beyond limits and getting into unaffordable loans and agony to educate them in some primary school abroad. What a misery they undergo. These parent I am referring to are horribly blind to the realities of life to the extent that they are not aware that the very child whom they financed calls her mother a Psycho. Can you believe that.

    In nutshell, parents should learn to say “NO” and keep emotions at bay, in the interest of themselves.

    • Colonel, the Shark Tank program comes on Colors Infinity at 9 pm every day except weekends. Thanks for sharing your story as a parent – your son and daughter must be valuing that upbringing now even if they didn’t like parts of it while growing up. Appa would always say that its better you struggle when you are young and its better to be shouted at by your parents than someone else later in life. Love that enables is true love :).


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