Dearest Darling Friends,


We are in Bhutan this summer holidays. Yes, this LSM comes to you while I am in Bhutan. Cool, isn’t it? The right choice, isn’t it? Did I hear you say a resounding YES? Well, thanks a ton. No credit to me though.


Bhutan was not our first choice. Our first thought was, let us go to a place in India during these summer holidays.


I bravely suggested – Ajanta and Ellora. My proposal was quickly shot down on the following grounds.


1. It’s too hot there.


2. What else is there besides these caves?


3. What is attractive about caves? We are not Bats! Ouch.


The fact that I am going to foot the bill got me no concessions on the choice of holiday destination. So sad. Can you hear the soft and sad, melancholic music emanating from my heart? The kind of music one hears when a part of them feels lonely. Remember the Akon song…Lonely, I am so lonely….I have nobaadyyyy…Ufff


My wife Bharathi, who is an adventurous soul, and who was happily immune to my travails, proposed chirpily – “Sri Lanka”.


My son Neeraj looked at her out of the corner of his eyes. Now, Neeraj almost worships his mother. Both, me and my younger daughter Mahek agree to it. Bharathi is embarrassingly delighted with this statement and Neeraj deftly plays it down. His footballer’s touch is visible here.


That very Neeraj, hearing about Sri Lanka, said, “NOOOOOOOO”.


His vehement NO, startled all of us. Perplexed, we look at him for two reasons.


1. Did he say NO to his MOM? Wow!


2. Why so much vehemence?


He looks around at all of us and says, “There was a series of bomb blasts there. That country is NOT safe. We are NOT going there.”


There was a finalisation in his tone that made all of us follow his decision like the rats followed the pied piper in the story ‘Pied Piper’. The discussion moved on and in the next few days, we decided on Bhutan.


Now, this rambling is not about how my family decided on our summer vacation spot! It is about something else.


Neeraj’s words – “There was a series of bomb blasts there. That country is NOT safe. We are NOT going there” reminded me about this amazing lady called Dr Shobha Varthaman?


As a Doctor, she has volunteered for Medinins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and served in dangerous remote locations such as Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Liberia, Iraq and Iran. She served as MSF Medical Director on the Iran Iraq border. She has worked in very dangerous conflict zones.


Mirror her work with Neeraj’s concern….“There was a series of bomb blasts there. That country is NOT safe. We are NOT going there.”


What would make Dr Shobha Varthaman go to these war ravaged countries? What be the impact of her choices on her family? Would it make them nervous? Angry? What would her son think of his mother who was often off to places where most folks wouldn’t dare to visit even in their dreams?


Oops. If they do visit these places in their dreams, they won’t call it a dream, they will call it a nightmare!


Well, more on Dr Shobha’s son in a little while. You see, I like to build suspense…


Dr Shobha Varthaman has lived her life embodying selflessness and has been a role model in selfless spirit. She is an embodiment of courage, common sense and culture.


Because she was deeply into social work, does it mean she was serious and sad, most of the times? No, no, no. Not at all. Her batchmates recall her as a fun-loving, lively, intelligent student who would grasp things fast.


Why am I discussing all of this with you today? Well, the reason is her son. Today, everybody in India AND Pakistan knows her son. Did you catch the clue?


Yes, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is THE son of the amazing mother Dr Shobha Varthaman.


Take a closer look at what he imbibed from his mother.


1. Her grace
2. Her valour
3. Her composure
4. Her fearlessness
5. Her sense of duty
6. Her sense of humour


Makes me wonder, what kind of a role model have I been to my kids? When push comes to shove, when tough times arrive, when there is a huge threat to their life or a crisis that requires someone to stand up, what of me will be visible in them?


It is a Dr Shobha Varthaman who creates a Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. Parenting plays such a crucial role in the development of a child. The parenting displayed by Dr Shobha Varthaman is indeed an example of ‘Wow Parenting’. Hats off to you! Dr Shobha, YOU are my inspiration!


With love, prayers and exceptional wishes,




Imagine, when we wake up, we are given only what we had thanked for.

Life School Wow Parenting Keep Moving Movement

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