My daughters do not wear pink

My wife and I were trying to recollect the memorable incidents involving B +ve and O +ve. One event that certainly happens whenever we are out is a query about the girls – Are they twins? It would be followed by another question – Are they both boys? When answered in negative and even before we clarify further, one of the girls would be pointed at and asked – he is surely a boy. To the dismay of the person, we have to answer that both are girls.

We were recalling numerous instances when this situation would have repeated itself, anywhere and everywhere, with most of the people. It does not happen anymore. After the girls turned three years, they have started having long hair. Hence, their gender gets identified with the prevalent societal norms of girls having long hair.

I was trying to come up with reasoning as to why, earlier, the majority of the people got the gender of our twin daughters wrong. I do not suppose anybody would intentionally state the incorrect gender of a child. Why would this keep happening so frequently?

The simple answer, I suppose, is that the girls did not wear PINK.

Seemingly, for whatever reason, the colour pink has got associated with the girls; similar to colour blue for the boys. There is no ingenuity about this colour-coding, but it seems to be universal.

The way the products get marketed and show-cased clearly demarcate in our minds as to which gender should be wearing what colour.

There is of course nothing wrong with the colour pink. Our daughters look adorable in the pink coloured clothing. But, they look equally adorable in any other coloured clothes. Why should their gender identification be limited to seeing the colour pink around them?

It is as if the society, at a sub-conscious level, has got it ingrained in our minds about how to dress a girl and how to dress a boy. The gender stereotypes are so deep-rooted in our culture and it gets entrenched further with the marketing ploys of the companies wanting to sell their products to the children. They want the girls to be defined as girls in the manner in which it suits their sales.

We get restless when we come across a child not adhering to the norms of the colour of a dress. And the child mercifully is not even aware of it.

Why cannot a girl wear blue and a boy wear pink? They obviously can. But we as a society would not want it to happen for it fails our ability to straitjacket a child.

I understand that B +ve and O +ve might as well take a liking for the colour pink when they grow-up as they get influenced by their peers. From my side, I am going to do whatever I can to ensure that the girls know that there is no right way or wrong way to dress as a girl.

Our girls have a right to all the colours of the rainbow. If it means getting clothes tailored and customised for them, then so be it. They are not going to be dependent on any colour for the identity of their gender. They can choose their own way, what they are happy with and identify themselves with.

It is not to make them a tom-boy or a girly girl, but a girl, nothing more, nothing less.

What is your view of labelling of a child as a girl / a boy basis the colour of their clothes?

Thumb sucking and finger sucking: The advice abound

As parents, we have had a number of inquisitive experiences, when we are in public places with our twin daughters. None beats all the kind of possible advice given to us by a few family members and a number of complete strangers, regarding the thumb sucking and the finger sucking by the girls.

The context

Like many of the infants and the toddlers, both the girls were into thumb sucking and finger sucking, respectively. I do not remember when the habit started for them. However, I distinctly remember asking the paediatrician about this and the answer he gave. As per the paediatrician, it was a question that he will not take till the girls turned four years. He told us to disregard their thumb sucking and finger sucking and let our daughters live in peace.

He is the person who took care of them for the first ten days of their life in NICU. There is every reason for us to believe and follow whatever he says and this was no different.

Both the girls merrily continued their respective thumb sucking and finger sucking with no disturbance from our side. It so happened that both the girls took up their respective thumb and finger in the mouth only at the time of falling asleep – which meant at the night and during their day-time naps.

The advice and advice and advice

I remember a number of instances when I would be walking on the road with either of my infant daughters putting her thumb/finger in the mouth and sleeping in my arms. Suddenly, I would get a tap on my shoulder from someone whom I had never met and will never again meet in my life.

The stranger would tell me that I should not allow the finger sucking/thumb sucking of my daughter. I would be told that there is an ayurvedic medicine that can be applied to the finger/thumb which ensured that someone in his family lost her/his habit. There were a number of advice listed down  – juice of some roots, bitter gourd juice, bandages, tattoos, nail paints, tying up the fingers etc and all of them were found to be effective in their respective cases.

My wife also had similar experiences, getting advice from the women she did not know.

We would go to social functions. I do not think we were noticed much, till the time the girls were awake. Once, either of the girls slept or even better, when both of them slept, suddenly we would become the centre of attraction. Some family members would walk down to us and start rattling off what we should be doing to rid our daughters of their thumb sucking and finger sucking. Few other attendees whom we would not know would descend down to us and start giving their piece of mind.

Once we would say to these benevolent, unasked for, advice givers that we, as parents, were perfectly fine with our daughters’ thumb sucking and finger sucking; long gazes would follow. We would be stared at and looked down upon at as unbeing of a worthy parent.

The current scenario

One girl left her thumb sucking at two and a half years on her own. The other girl continues her finger sucking nonetheless. We asked the paediatrician on the next steps to dissuade her from her sleep-time routine. He said that the only way was to talk her out of the habit. He instructed us not to experiment with any kind of juices, tattoos, bandages, nail paints etc on the finger of the young girl. We are following his advice and will update basis our experiences.

Disclaimer: To clarify, I am not promoting or supporting thumb sucking/finger sucking in any manner. We have been following the paediatrician advice all along and will continue to do so.

Any memories you have of your child’s thumb sucking/finger sucking?

Last week, we had gone to a relative’s place for an overnight stay. The girl invariably put her finger in the mouth while sleeping at the night. The relatives noticed. We were told about the experience with the relative’s daughter. She was given a tattoo on her fingers so that she would not take them in her mouth. When we did not show any enthusiasm for this solution, we were given the option of ayurvedic medicine. We changed the topic of discussion. It reminded me of all the past experiences as regards the thumb sucking and finger sucking of the girls and the torrent of advice, we got.

PS:

Once, we had gone to a restaurant for dinner, the four of us. The girls were about one year old. It had got a bit late; we fed the girls and started our dinner. One of the girls slept in her mother’s arms with the thumb in her mouth. Suddenly, she started crying and to our utter horror, we noticed that the waiter who had taken our order was trying to remove the thumb from our daughter’s mouth. We asked him to stop and even before we could ask him what he was trying to do; he told us that we should not let our daughter suck her thumb and that we are setting a bad example.

Needless to say, we have not visited the restaurant again.

CARA, Adoption, Shishu Vihar and Unanswered Questions

We visited Shishu Vihar Hyderabad for giving the diaper packets. The process of finding the place where the diapers could be given, reaching out to Shishu Vihar, the actual visit led to a number of thoughts and questions. I searched the CARA website for answers and it led to even more questions. Even though the subject matter does not directly relate to O +ve and B +ve, I am writing down these unanswered questions in the blog – after all, it does relate to children, the future of our country, in the same manner as O +ve and B +ve.

Who are the children in the orphanages?

I google searched for orphanages in Hyderabad and the first search result was from Justdial. There are 235+ orphanages listed in Justdial. I called up more than 20 orphanages to enquire if they had children in the age group for which we had the diaper packs. All the answers were negative and a couple of them told that the government does not allow children below 6 years to be placed in private orphanages and that they could be found only in Shishu Vihar, the government orphanage.

The question is if none of these 235+ orphanages is allowed to keep children below 6 years, then from where are they getting the children above 6 years?

Shishu Vihar Hyderabad has 250 children in the age group of 1 to 6 years, roughly 50 children in the bracket of one year. Now, suddenly what happens that the number of orphans rises so high that there are 235 orphanages in the same city? That too, orphaned at the age greater than 6 years.

Who are these children?

The most plausible answer would be semi-orphaned, surrendered or abandoned children. The bigger question is why would this happen? What would be happening to their parents that the children are sent to the orphanages? What would be happening to these children who find themselves in orphanages suddenly? Does the society know that the number of orphaned children sky-rockets after 6 years?

Why are the children present in Shishu Vihar?

The CARA website has a statement “presently there are more parents in the waiting, but fewer children available for adoption. Therefore, it is difficult to ascertain the time period to adopt a child“. The statement sounds logical and does not require any explanation.

Though what does require an explanation is if there are fewer children available for adoption than the waiting parents, what are 250 children in the age group of 1-6 years doing in Shishu Vihar?

Surely, all these cannot be the cases of special needs children for whom it is difficult to find adoptive parents? And for sure, there would be adoptive parents who will be willing to adopt special needs children as well.

If there are more parents in the waiting, why is Shishu Vihar not empty?

Why is adoption reducing in India?

Below is the snap-shot from the CARA website for adoptions in the country since 2011.

Year In-country Adoption Inter-country Adoption
2010 5693 628
2011 (Jan’11 to March’12) 5964 629
2012-2013 (April’12 to March’13) 4694 308
2013-2014 (April’13 to March’14) 3924 430
2014-2015 ( April’14 to March’15) 3988 374
2015-2016 (April’15 to March’16) 3011 666
2016-2017 (April’16 to March’17) 3210 578
2017-2018 (April’17 to March’18) 3276 651

From the high of 5500+ adoptions, it has touched the lows of 3011 and settling to 3200 for the last 2 years. Whereas, the inter-country adoption has reached back the same numbers 7-8 years before.

Why are the adoptions reducing in the country? This is something that needs research and corrective action – behavioural/sociological/ adoption procedure related / any other matter.

Last 3 years, the adoptions have been below 4000, the entire country put together. Hyderabad has 235 orphanages. Shishu Vihar Hyderabad has 250 children in the age group of 1-6 years.

Nothing is adding up.

Is adoption the only way?

The adoption is the best way for the care and the rehabilitation of the orphan children in their best interest. Given that we have so many orphanages and the children in the Shishu Vihar itself, what do we do?

There has to be some way to assimilate these children with the society apart from the adoption. Are there that exists? What can they be?

The government support for the children in the orphanages

I had spoken to the state department of women and child development about giving material to the Shishu Vihar. The person spoke arrogantly that the government buys only first-hand stuff for the Shishu Vihar children and they do not accept any used material. This is fine.

Now, can the government make the same statement about the children in the 235 orphanages of Hyderabad? Is the government not liable for all the children apart from Shishu Vihar children?

Conclusion

A developed society has to be devoid of an institution called orphanage. A developed society knows how to take care of the children – including the orphans.

The current status of affairs of CARA, Shishu Bhavan and the number of 235 orphanages in a single city does not inspire confidence for the future generation of India.

What can be done? Who is going to do it?

Visit to Shishu Vihar Hyderabad

What would you associate with a building that houses 250 children in the age group of one to six years? Noise, lots of noise, I suppose. We were greeted with pin-drop silence. Welcome to Shishu Vihar Hyderabad.

We were left with two packets of diapers after B +ve and O +ve got potty trained. I got an idea that we could give it to the orphanage and our daughters could also spend some time there playing with the children.

I called up about 20 orphanages, none had children in the age group that we had diapers for. A couple of people told me that only Government houses the children below six years. The assumption being that the Government knows best to take care of infants and will not entrust this responsibility to anyone else. Once the child crosses six years, s/he is handed over to various orphanages, unless adopted by that age. I have no idea whether this theory told to me is true. However, it is a fact that I could not find a single orphanage in Hyderabad with children below six years.

Reaching out to Shishu Vihar Hyderabad

Seemingly, Shishu Vihar Hyderabad does not have a website or any other social networking paraphernalia. Justdial and Yellowpages show a couple of land-line numbers which are either not functional or nobody picks up.

I checked out the CARA website, assuming that Shishu Vihar Hyderabad should feature as the nodal agency for adoption in the state. But it was not to be.

I stumbled upon a private website that gives contact address of all Shishu Vihars across the country. On calling up the mobile number and saying that I wanted to give diapers, the person told me rudely that I need to take permission from the women and child welfare department.

I was told that diapers should be branded (which I suppose they always are), diapers should not have expired (I suppose nobody would ever want to give expired products to anyone leave aside children). I was told that I should have a satisfactory reason why I wanted to donate diapers. He got convinced that my children had no use for diapers, hence I wanted to give.

Finally, he told me that I can come down to the office, give a written request for diaper donation, take a stamped approval and then go to Shishu Vihar for giving the diapers.

Locating Shishu Vihar Hyderabad

I got the daughters and wife ready in a frenzy to reach the place. I told the girls that they might get to meet the children of their age. They kept asking questions along the way about who these children are and why they are not with their parents.

I realized that the Google Maps and the physical address on the website did not match. The gentleman had spoken to me rudely enough to not be disturbed again. I called up the landline number, repeated the process with a lady this time. She told me that they close the office at 5 pm sharp, I should take the approval before that, and guided me to the wrong place.

After taking a couple of incorrect turns, asking 3-4 people on the road, we finally reached the Shishu Vihar Hyderabad. The security guard and the staff at the building told us that we have directly reached the Shishu Vihar without taking the approval. The department office was in the front, but there is no compound wall and no security at the non-existent entrance, so we reached directly.

I again called up the land-line number, it was 5.05 pm. The lady told me that the office has closed, they have left and that we should come back the next day. This was getting exasperating. I told the lady that our place is 14-15 km away, we cannot keep coming back and that we had to give and not take. Finally, the lady got convinced. She told me that I can give the written request to the staff and hand over the diaper packets. The next day, she will make a back-dated approval letter.

The Shishu Vihar

After the verbal approval from the lady, the security guard escorted us to the building where the children in the age group of one to six years are housed. The first building, where we landed up, houses children below one year.

We walked past an under-repair building, a playground full of rubble and unwanted furniture and 5-6 newly constructed buildings, which were completely empty. Finally, we arrived at the Shishu Vihar building.

The security guard told that 250 children are housed in that building. The only thing we noticed was complete silence and lots of toys kept inside with a warning sign that photography is prohibited. Again the same procedure got repeated with the staff who refused to take the diaper packets without the approval letter. The security guard intervened and told the staff that the lady in the departmental office has verbally approved.

We were given the format of the request letter and blank A4 sheet of paper. After giving the formal request, we were asked to make the entry in the register. The staff refused to give us the acknowledgement for the receipt of diapers and asked us to come back after the office opens.

We enquired about the children and were told that nobody can see the children. On being asked why the children are not playing with the toys or why they are not in the outside playing area, we were told that the weather is a bit cold so they have not been taken out. We asked if we can visit Shishu Vihar to celebrate our daughters’ birthday, we were told that it is strictly not allowed and repeated that there is no access to Shishu Vihar children. We asked if these children go to school. The staff told that 4 teachers visit them and that these children are not allowed to leave the premises.

We did want to ask more about the children, who are they, what they do, the living conditions etc. We were told that we had completed the task of giving the diapers and we should leave.

Conclusion

The government has the responsibility to protect these vulnerable children but did not understand the need for the veil of complete secrecy. These children though come from society are devoid of parental care. What is the need to keep them completely segregated? Even though the society would want to integrate them, the government does not want them to be assimilated.

I did not understand the procedural aspects of all paper-based working wherein even today; the back-dated approval letters are being made (what happened to Digital India)? But, why the approval in the first place? Why this government attitude of being a controller of the fate of these children?

I am not raising any doubt about the working of Shishu Vihar Hyderabad, as I have not seen anything. Though, I suspect if anybody is allowed to see anything here.

It reminded us of Anganwadi, wherein we developed cold feet after seeing the real conditions.

The girls came back from Shishu Vihar Hyderabad without meeting any children of their age. Going by what we saw, they will not be able to meet any children in future either, from this place.

The stones collection – A hobby

The girls have been collecting stones ever since they started taking their tiny steps outside the house. Whenever we go out, almost always, the girls come back home with a stone each in their hands, if not more.

The girls pick up stones from the footpath, from the road, from construction sites, from demolition sites, anywhere and everywhere. If we step out of the house twice in a day, then we have double the collection.

After coming back, they put their stones anywhere in the house and after an extended duration ask for their treasures.  They tend to remember why they went out, how many stones they brought and from where they brought. But, interestingly they forget where they have put it once inside the house. If we are unable to trace out their belongings, we have to endure quite a bit of their pangs of separation. We are now sufficiently trained by them to ensure that their collection is safely put from where it can be easily retrieved.

We have boxes and tubs filled with stones at our house. At times, I fear that municipal officers might levy penalties on us for our girls’ stone-lifting.

Once, their mother took them to a village during Dirty Feet field trip and they went on a stone-collecting spree. The villagers remarked that if they continue stone-collecting at such a pace, they might as well be able to construct their own houses by the time they turn adults with their collection of stones.

When the girls are collecting the stones on the road, a number of times passers-by have tried stopping them. They get surprised when we tell them that it is just fine.

Now, as they are growing up, they are also getting into collecting leaves, twigs and seed-pods.

The stones also, of course, help us in a number of their activities. They learn to sort them as per their size and shapes and colour and learn to barter between them, as well. The girls colour the stones. These stones also double up in making pens for their toy animals. The girls have learnt their number counting basis their stone collection. As kids, stones had a major part in fine-tuning their gross motor and fine motor skills.

After seeing my daughters collecting stones for more than 2 years, I can safely vouch that until now, they have not fallen ill due to this habit. It does seem to be safe collecting and playing with stones and just washing hands with plain water after that.

I suppose they are not just learning to collect the stones, they are learning to own up. They are learning to plan, execute and think through on what they are going to play/do with what they have collected and actually put it in action.

A lot many things that our daughters gather while collecting the stones. Memories for us and their own fun and learning and whatever.

10 best toys for 4-year olds

The twins have turned 4-years old. They do not go to a formal environment of pre-school / day-care yet. They continue to be in their comfort environment of home and do what a 4-year old should be doing – play, play and play. Accordingly, we require lots of toys and props to keep them occupied throughout the day. So, what would these toys be?

I felt that I should make a list of 10 best toys for 4-years old, without breaking the bank, basis our experience. So, here goes. (O +ve and B +ve see smart-phones in the house but they are not fond of it as such. They have not been introduced to any apps on a digital screen for the purpose of either fun or learning).

Mud / Sand

O +ve and B +ve love splashing in the mud. Since they were young and learning to crawl, mud/sand has been their best friend. Be it in terms of developing gross motor skills or fine motor skills for a child or just throwing around, nothing beats the feel of mud/sand.

New houses keep getting constructed in the colony of their maternal grandparents and each visit to their house brings forth an occasion to have fun with mud/sand. One of the favourite destinations for Dirty Feet, their mother’s enterprise, is Potter’s Galli and all the potters in the village now know the liking of the girls for the mud.

It is a pity that the opportunity for the girls to revel in mud/sand come few and far in between nearer to our house. Their mother did propose to our apartment secretary to make a mud-pit on the terrace. However, the idea was shot down.

Water

At times, handling twins turn out to be a handful. The kids are in an irritable mode and are throwing tantrums around. Or just that you want the children to be on their own for some time.

Enter the tubs when the children knew only to sit. Enter the buckets when the children know how to stand.

Leave them alone with a bucket half-full of water and even after hours together, they will have to be dragged out of the water. If they are backed up by paper boats, food colours, flower petals, toy animals; nothing better than that.

Packaging material

In the ear of Amazon and Flipkart, a lot of packaging material come into the house. The bubble wraps, brown paper bags, carton boxes, plastic sheets, thermocol sheets – all have a role to play.

The girls love jumping on the bubble wraps. Brown paper bags of Amazon Now plays a stellar role in playing feed the shark, feed the bunny, join the dots, draw the family, free-hand sketching – what-all and what-not. The carton-boxes basis their size becomes a cave, a slide, a see-saw, a boat etc. The plastic sheets are used to cut and make shapes and for drying the fryums they make. The thermocol sheets are used for shredding them apart, use as a sledge, as a bed for their toys.

The girls follow the principle that whatever enters the house can be used. We are actually quite popular in the apartment for people to hand over their packaging material to us otherwise thrown out as trash.

Doh

O +ve and B +ve love playing with flour in any form. They are becoming adept at making roti as well, as they continue their doh fantasy into the kitchen. They like playing with play-doh just that it was turning out to be an expensive affair. So, their mother makes play-doh at home almost on a weekly basis with maida, food colours, salt and water. Not just through the moulds, you name anything and the girls will try to visualize it through their play-doh.

Nature-based collection

The girls have a fascination for collecting twigs, dried leaves, fallen leaves, seed-pods, insects, petals, stones – anything and everything that can be found in the park, on the road – anywhere. The easiest way to engage them is to hand them their nature bags and ask to go for a nature hunt. The only issue has been with the stray dogs that do not trust the two little girls going about their task diligently.

Books

The books are kept in book racks that the girls can easily reach up to. They do not have any dedicated time to have the books read to them, it is impromptu. Once read to them, they like repeating the stories to the most unsuspected listener that they can get themselves to hear to.

 Colours

Be it the regular crayons and colour pencils, or the water colours or the rangoli powder colours, or the gerua or the food colours, it is sure to transform any time of the day to a veritable riot of rainbow colours.

House-hold material

We encourage the girls to play with whatever they can lay their hands on – spoons, bowls, straws, screwdrivers, spanners, keys, locks etc. This also ensures that they think that the house is a big play-area and we are in a state of perpetual mess, never to find what we want at a given point of time. Just adds another dimension to our already crazy lives.

Blocks

The girls do have their collection of Lego blocks. It helps to have some kind of formal structures thrown into their other-wise unstructured growing up.

Open Spaces

This is the most important toy for our daughters. Nothing else to do but just run, hop, skip and jump.

A 4-year old has to be a 4-year old.  We believe that above are the 10 best toys for our 4-year old twin daughters.

What’s your say?

Weight of school bags is not going to reduce in India

The government of India has passed the order restricting the weight of school bags of the students. The order limits the weight of the school bags of class I and II student to 1.5 kg. The school bag of class III to V student should not exceed 3 kg and the same of class VI-VII students has been restricted to 4 kg, of class VIII–IX student to 4.5 kg and class X student to 5 kg.

On the face of it, the order looks great. The parents, the educationists, the schools, the media – all have welcomed the step taken by the government. Now, the question is – Is the heavy school bag a problem in itself or is it a symptom of a greater order malaise affecting the Indian education system?

After all, the weight of school bags does not increase on its own. The child has no say in what to carry and what not to carry in the school bag. So the child cannot be responsible for the heavy school bags. Who is responsible for the weight of school bags? What goes into increasing the weight of school bags? Without answering or at the least, raising these questions, the government of the day has passed the order restricting the weight of school bags.

I suppose there are three issues plaguing the weight of school bags. All the three are known to everybody. The first is evident to all on a daily basis. The second issue can only be spoken about anonymously. The third is so much interwoven in our lives, that we would not be even aware of it.

The school timings

Majority of the school timings are for 8 hours – 8.30 am to 3.30 pm. Even for the class I and II, rather seemingly for all the classes. Now, when a child has to spend 8 hours in a school, it would be expected that the child has to carry enough material to occupy herself/himself throughout the day. (A full-grown working adult spends 8 hours in the office. A growing child also spends 8 hours in school. Unlike her / his parents, a child also has to participate in extra-curricular activities, project report, homework, prepare for exams – wonder where is the childhood?)

Unless the school timings get curtailed, the weight of school bags will not reduce. One may argue that will the weight of school bags definitely come down with the reduction of school timings? The answer is no due to the other two issues. However, the reduction in school timings is the first step in bringing down the weight of school bags. Else, what will schools do with the children for 8 long hours?

The school fees

This is the elephant in the room that nobody talks about. The school fees per annum in India range from 40-50 k to 1 lac to 2 lacs to 3 lacs to 4 lacs to 5 lacs to 6 lacs to 7 lacs and more. This is without transportation and food. I am not sure about the other incidental expenses.

Now with such exorbitant fees, the schools need to have the 8-hour school shifts. Else, what all will they claim in a 5-hour shift for charging such high fees? With these fees, the schools need to show the parents that their children are learning something very important. Hence the weight of school bags. Even for schools with lesser fees, they need to stand in the market. They also need to show that they are up to something. How do they do it? The weight of school bags.

Again, one may argue that the school fees are important for the schools to invest in infrastructure, teachers etc for a better learning output for the children. Well, if a school fee of 6-7 lacs per year is a pre-requisite for a successful learning environment and results, all other schools can very well be shut down for spoiling the future of other lesser children.

One will not speak about the school fees openly lest his / her child studying in one of those schools face an issue from the school management.

With these two issues of inflated school fees leading to 8-hour school timings, the weight of school bags is not going to come down.

The parental expectations

Narayana schools start their Medichamps programme and eTechno programme for cracking medical entrance and IIT-JEE from standard 6 onwards. The government has restricted weight of school bags for standard 6 students at 4 kg. Now when the child has started studying for something that is 7 years away, what is to be expected of the weight of school bags?

Expectations from a child get so much ingrained in an Indian parental mind that it has to manifest itself somewhere in a tangible form for a parent to be convinced that the child is on the right path. Nothing better than the weight of school bags.

Conclusion

Indian laws and rules suffer from practical execution issues. This government order is no better. Who is going to ensure that the weight of school bags is as per the norms? The schools, the parents, the government – Who?

If the parents/schools are so concerned about the weight of school bags of the children, they can address the issue themselves. The schools would not do, for that affects their profits. The parents would not do, for that affects the perceived future of their children. The government, anyways, would not do anything apart from passing orders (they run anganwadis and government schools with no stellar records, rather no records at all).

For all I know, the weight of school bags might get transferred to a smartphone/tablet someday and everybody, but the child, will claim success.

PS:

i. “As per the curriculum, six textbooks have been prescribed for classes VI to X. Three textbooks for three languages and one for Maths, Science and Social Studies each,” said the circular. “There shall be one notebook for each subject for exercises, projects, Unit Test, experiments etc. which the students need to bring as per timetable. Students should not be asked to bring additional books, extra material to the school.” The above adds up to 5 books, including the textbook, for each subject. With 6 subjects, this becomes 30 books. Even if the child carries 50% of the books, how it will remain within the limit of 4 kgs for a class VI student?

ii. As per education experts, heavy bag brings stress on the child due to which back pain and muscle pain occur. The posture of the child also gets affected by the heavy load of the school bag carried on the back. Apart from the visible physical stress, there is no mention of the mental trauma of a child. He has to study for 8 long hours whatever he carries and, needless to say, the expectations of the parents.