I am a parenting-books junkie. If it remotely mentions kids, bringing up, parents or how to in the same sentence, nothing will dissuade me from picking it up.Though I am no authority on it, most parenting books hardly cut it with the Indian way of life. There is of course, ‘Parenting’ by Sekhar Seshadri and Nirupama Rao and Robin Sharma’s ‘Family Wisdom’ but both are too impersonal and unfortunately don’t cover the daily struggles of parents of kids these days. It was, therefore, with a sense of trepidation that I picked up Dr. Tanu Shree Singh’s ‘Keep Calm and Mommy On’.
The book was being lauded on the online book club, Senior Reading Raccoons (with over 14k+ members) that the author runs and I passed off the reviews as people just sucking up to the ‘Boss’.
Curiosity killed the cat. I read the book and now I have to eat my words. It is a fantastic take on Indian parenting. Dr. Tanushree has drawn a lot of examples from her own life and experiences of raising her two boys. For writing such a splendid manual on parenting I doff my imaginary hat to her. I caught up with the author. Read on.
Q :Tell us something about your childhood- where did you grow up; how did you get involved in reading; some vivid memories related to books, perhaps?
A: I grew up in Faridabad, a sleepy town next to Delhi. As a child, I’d tag along with mum to her college library, steal my brother’s books to read them, even be caught with questionable books between my Biology textbook – books were a natural part. My nana rarely visited us without a book in hand. In fact, stories came before books! So nana would prop me on his shoulders when he’d go for his walks and tell bizarre stories involving a train full of animals. Once you fall in love with stories, books easily follow.
Q:How did the idea of writing the book come about? Take us through the process of how you went about penning this one down.
A: The idea of writing a book has always been there; from grade 9. But this one did not start as a book. It was a blog first.
Q:The genre of parenting is still in its nascent stages in India. Was it hard to find publishers? What were some of the challenges you faced with respect to the book and its publication?
A: I have been extremely lucky! The publishers thought of the idea of compiling it all into a book. There were no challenges whatsoever. In fact, I end up feeling guilty when I hear other authors relate their struggles. I think my real fight will start with the second book, whenever that happens.
Q:The fact that it is a parenting book, and every parent’s style of parenting might differ with respect to his/her child/children, were you not apprehensive of taking a task riddled with such mammoth responsibility?
A: As I said, the book was an exercise in putting it all together. Most of the articles were already there. We never treated it like a parenting handbook. It is a collection of my experiences with ideas that worked for me. It doesn’t get theoretical or critical of any particular style of parenting.
Q:What plans from here on? The book has gone for a reprint… How does that make you feel? Have readers communicated to you about the book? How has the response been?
A: I have never made plans. Reprint feels great. Though there is a strange sense of detachment too. It has been done. So the ‘what next’ question keeps buzzing about in my head. I think a bigger source of exhilaration is the readers reaching out. The response so far has been very positive. And it makes my day when perfect strangers write to me about how the book helped them.
Q:You are admin of SRR (Senior Reading Raccoons, online book club), which must be taking quite a bit of your time. How do you balance all the different aspects of life- book-related events, work, social media and personal life?
A: I am blessed to have two superwomen as moderators on SRR. So together it gets simpler. Balance comes. Possibly because I mostly disorganized anyway! I have met interesting people through the group. So that makes all the hard work worth it.
We wish the author more reprints and look forward to more books from her. The book is available online at Amazon store.