Episode 16 – Mental Health during Lockdown Pt.1

This is that episode where Peter Pop and Nadir Pop barely spoke because the two guests who shared the stage gave us such a thought-provoking perspective on the India lockdown that we are still pondering on a number of things.

We start the podcast with our first guest, Sudha Ravishankar who has been associated with KC College – Media Dept for close to 20 years. She shares her unique experience as a parent, but we’ll come to that in a bit.

Very lucidly Prof. Ravishankar highlights the chasm between different sections of the Indian society keep the Social Economic Categorisation as the marker. What it’s like being a privileged person vs. a middle class family vs. marginalized sections (house help, daily wage labourers, etc)

Everyone has their own quarantine and lockdown concerns to deal with. The salaried person wants to know if he/she will have their jobs or take deep cuts in their salaries. The daily wage person is trying to figure basic survival tactics. On the flip side corporates are doing their best to quell the concerns of the employees regarding salaries and businesspersons/households/factroy owners are putting in all the effort to ensure that daily wage persons get their dues.

But what really moved us was Prof Ravishakar’s deeply personal story, which involves her son’s Asperger’s Syndrome and how everyone is coping up during the lock down. I urge everyone to listen to her experience considering that she ended her conversation on a very positive note “We need to keep our mental faculties occupied and keep doing something to keep ourselves happy and work from home for the benefit of the organisation”

Dr. Swati Deepak, is a practicing psychotherapist and counsellor for over 20 years and she also conducts seminars in schools and colleges. She explains the effects of the lockdown on mental health and also shares valuable information for parents.

She breaks down the current situation into three parts:

  • Our current exposure to the various forms of media, especially the internet is changing our anxiety levels
  • We are locked indoors for a really long time, which is great if you have your entire family with you but there might be certain members who have different stressors and they might experience something that they are not used to
  • We have started appreciated our house helps much more now that we are doing daily chores all by ourselves and hopefully pass it down to our kids and not take things for granted and learn to respect basic and simple things

She also advised that this is the right time for parents to listen and not just talk or order their children but understand them and see what is going on in their minds.

News consumption needs to be brought down tremendously especially when you have children around because the kids can read you and understand that something is off.

Boundary blurring is very much real, especially for children – work time vs. personal time. Relaxing the screen time is absolutely fine but are you as a parent engaging with the child too or are you setting a timer.

She also spoke about creating a daily rhythm for the children, like start your day with household chores then move to playtime, screentime, etc. Then move to lunch, and some other activities and finally dinner and sleep. Because children need consistency, it cannot be dependent on the parents’ mood.

There were so many interesting aspects of the parent and child dynamic that she brought up in this episode. Listen to it to get a better understanding.

An eye-opening and thought-provoking episode to say the least. Have a listen and let us know what’s on your mind, is your kid driving you up the wall? Or are you the warrior who is managing it all?


Episode 14 – Parents in Bollywood films

This week we did something different. A month in complete lockdown in Mumbai, India and four episodes on Coronavirus/COVID-19, we decided to take a departure and decided to delve into Bollywood films. One of the three most favoured indulgences for Indians, the other two being the sport of cricket and politics.

This episode is not another film analysis/critique podcast but instead we were looking at films from a very niche lens – parenting. And we intend to introduce more such episodes in the future too and try and keep things light and kicking.

We are joined by guest Alok Sharma, a film and TV writer, director, producer by profession. A serious connoisseur of comic books and practioner of the art, he recently co-founded his own comic book company called Indusverse and has released three comic books.

The films were selected to discus are distinct – Taare Zameen Par and Chhichhore. In addition to the parenting angle, both the films have a very strong focus on education and how both kids and parents deal with it.

Taare Zameen Par – A film about a child Ishaan who suffers from dyslexia and a result of which he is unable to cope with daily life, during his early childhood. Improvement in his life is made by teacher played by Aamir khan, who explains the problem to Ishaan’s parents.

For this film we discuss:

  1. Toxic parenting who refuse to recognise developmental learning disabilities in their children
  2. Middle class family thinking
  3. Education system and the teachers abilities to manage so many children and recognising their true talent
  4. Do you wish to live vicariously through your children and push them to do things you couldn’t in your childhood
  5. Punishment without understanding the situation
  6. Constantly comparing children with their own batch mates and other family kids
  7. Boarding school looked at as a punishment

Chhichhore – Anni (Shushant Singh) and Maya’s (Shraddha Kapoor) son attempts suicide after failing to do well in his engineering entrance exams and is in a critical condition. While in the hospital Anni tells him stories about his college friends and he starts to respond to treatment. Anni then calls his friends side and make his son understand how they turned winners from losers. Anni and Maya are divorced and are also co-parenting.

For this film we discuss:

  1. Pressure mounting on young teens preparing themselves for higher studies
  2. Concept of divorced parents form an Indian perspective
  3. If my father is something I want to beat him at his own game and carrying forward his name
  4. Work-life balance, with kids, without kids
  5. Kids obsession with death and morbidity
  6. Kids HAVE TO experience failure

Listen to the episode and let us know what you think. If you have any ideas and suggestions for us then please feel free to write to us on popsinapod@gmail.com or you can follow us on the below social media handles.

Episode 10 – Sleep Baby Sleep – Kerry Bajaj

The Pop duo speak to Mumbai based sleep consultant, author of Sleep, Baby, Sleep – Kerry Bajaj. She has studied infant and child sleep in America and
a member of the Indian Society for Sleep Research. They spoke to her about kids and sleep, her book and much more.


I wish I had met Kerry Bajaj 3 years ago, I am pretty sure my wife, daughter and I would have slept peacefully but alas that was not meant to be. My daughter is now 3.6 years old and definitely sleeps better compared to what she used to three years go. She made us realise what a bad idea it was to have a kid (obviously we love her).

My daughter was a bad sleeper, she has improved now, but still can’t sleep peacefully. It’s almost as if the hidden monsters in her mind come out and play havoc.

When Baby Z was much younger her crying got really out of hand and all that she wanted was to cling to you. Feeding didn’t always help, nor did constant engagement, most definitely not in the middle of the night. All the baby wanted was human touch. We For a couple of days it’s fine but after some time your mind and body starts giving way and frustration sets in.

At one point I am sure we were crying louder than the baby. There were moments when we wished we never had a child. We started questioning our parenting skills. Screaming at the baby or nobody in particular became the way of life. But we found out that all parents go through this in some form or the other in varying degrees.

My wife and I haven’t feel that we still haven’t slept the night uninterrupted, it’s already 2020. Our daughter used to wake up every two hours for a feed and then refused to go back to sleep. We carried her for comfort, but we didn’t walk with her. We kissed her head, but we did’t engage her. We patted her back, but we didn’t play with her. We made sure that the room was dark and we didn’t give her any attention. She eventually did drift to sleep but by then we were broken.

Let me narrate a a very personal baby sleep story. It was something that I will never forget.

It’s the eve of Diwali, Oct, 2016, and it all started round 6.30pm when she was napping. All our doors and windows were shut tight in order to keep the room as sound proof as possible, but it didn’t work. When the ear-shattering bombs go off, it’s not just the immediate blast, but the lingering echoes in the neighbourhood that really gets you.

Now imagine being with a child with incessant sleep trouble during the loudest day of the year in Mumbai, India. Baby Z woke up, and no surprise she stayed up because the frequency of the bombs, rockets going off were so regular that there was no window of peace and silence for her to revert to sleeping. She was crying, a lot.

My wife fed her and she looked fine, happily staring at us and flailing her limbs about. But every time a bomb or a rocket went off she would shake. It would seem that her Moro had kicked in but this was pure shock from the unnatural noise that she was subjected to. She clearly was uncomfortable even though she wasn’t crying. But eventually the noise was getting too much for her.

I picked her up and started walking with her, as this always worked to clam her down. Every time I thought she was okay enough to be put down she would only wail. This went on for a couple of hours, my wife and I took turns carrying her while the other slept.

Our backs and arms started to fail us. I finally wore the baby wrap (body carrier) and carried her on me. At one point the noise got so bad that I had to lock myself in our closet for extra sound proofing. She started to drift around 9.30pm, way beyond her usual sleep time but the fire crackers just would not stop. She kept waking up, we were so helpless, how do you put a 10 week old to sleep in this sheer mindless noise fest?! We couldn’t even massage or bathe her because she refused to stay down. I have no recollection of even eating dinner that night, that’s how bad it got.

At 11.30pm the noise started to subside and she fell asleep simply because she was just too tired to keep her eyes open. Now came the tough part, We needed to catch some shut eye. My wife stuffed her face in the pillow and forced herself to sleep, I managed to sleep only at 1.30am and was rudely woken up around 5.00am thanks to another round of bombardment because, you know, why not.

Have a listen to the episode and listen to what Kerry Bajaj has to say about “baby sleep”. If you have a story to share about your and your baby’s sleep experience then write to us on popsinapod@gmail.com and maybe we will invite you as a guest on our podcast.

Episode 9 – Kids in the time of Coronavirus

You feel bummed out when you have to cancel your holiday, especially when it’s an international one. But in this case Nadir Pop and his wife were glad they did it. No regrets.

WHO has declared Coronavirus aka COVID-19 a pandemic. Now this piece of news is literally of epic proportions, as far as we remember, this is probably happening for the first time in our lives. That is the scale that COVID-19 is operating at, to put it in perspective it has (so far) infected 134 nations out of 195. And now it’s in Mumbai, India as well.

‘Pops in a pod’ is not going to delve into the what, how, when, where and the whys of Coronavirus, there are far better and more enlightening platforms out there to provide the same. We are here to share our stories as parents who are concerned about their kids in the time of COVID-19.

That got us really thinking, it was an interesting peg and we hadn’t read much about it. By the time we recorded this podcast, there were just a couple of articles about how to break the news to your kids, but when we released the episode we found over 20 odd articles just on this topic, which is definitely encouraging.

When we went about writing this episode we were recounting our experiences about how DIFFICULT it is to break it down to a child what’s going on – the masks, the coughing sneezing and snort for yourself and others, the basics of covering your mouth. It was a task to simplify things at an unimaginable level.

There are many people out there who find the funny side to this, but it ceases to be funny when it happens to you. And it most definitely not funny when comes to parents who are constantly worried about the children and their whereabouts, company, safety, hygiene and eating habits.

During this entire week Indian mobile service providers have installed a Coronavirus warning voice message telling the public what to do to avoid getting infected. This 30 second long message before a call gets through to the person you were trying to call.

At first I thought that the caller tunes have been changed but turns out it’s not a caller tune at all but a pre-call voice message and then the phone rings. To be honest, it’s a great public service announcement but it’s getting annoying. But hey, in times like these you suck it up because it is of grave importance.

We also came across an interesting website that allows you to make your own tune to play to children in order to ensure that they wash their hands for 20 seconds https://washyourlyrics.com

Have a listen to the episode and let us know what you think. Did you try something different with your kids in regards to the pandemic. If you have an interesting story then write to us on popsinapod@gmail.com

Episode 8 – Fun(ny) Dad – Jose Covaco

Jose Covaco is probably one of the most honest comics out there. He is from Mumbai, India and has been an out-and-out media professional. He has worked with radio, television and now does his own thing as a content creator thanks to the internet.

Not too many people know this but he is a dad to a beautiful, 5 year old daughter and does whatever he can to balance his fun(ny) work along with his dad responsibilities

Jose was gracious enough to give us his time and take us through his dad journey. You’d usually see/hear him in a completely different space because his content is pure gold and topical. But on this episode we saw a different side of him. The parent side.

We spoke a lot, everything from the birth of his daughter, parental responsibilities to looking for content with his kid. But the most interesting bit was when he shed light about what his parents’ probably went through when he was a kid. All those memories came rushing back to him now that he was a parent.

For this episode Peter Pop couldn’t record so it was only Nadir Pop and Jose. You will constantly hear Nadir Pop giggling like a little child in the background, providing a natural laughter track. We would also like to thank his wonderful wife for connecting us for this awesome recording experience.

Listen to the entire episode on Pops in a pod on all major podcasting platforms – http://linktr.ee/popsinapod

Episode 7 – Warren Mendonsa – The Musician Dad

Photograph by Deepak Gopalkrishnan

(This is from Nadir Pop’s prespective)

When I was in college I remember attending the small and simple rock shows that used to happen in our city, Mumbai in India.

There was this band called Zero, these guys were young, strong, bordering brashness and knew the pulse of the crowd. But the member that really stood out, for me at least, was the lead guitarist, Warren Mendonsa.

That was around 17 years ago. We connect again, but this up close and as parents. Time can do wonderful things to people, the span doesn’t matter, but the point at which you meet is what matters.

Warren is this big, rotund man who looks like a regular bloke. His humility precedes him and at no point will you assume that he is a world-class musician, producer and composer.

Warren was sweet enough to give us some time and talk about his journey of being a parent and how is balances his life between creating music, being a dad, a husband and sometimes touring.

We spoke about his band Blackstratblues, their last 2 albums being inspired by his daughter. He goes on to say that being a parent changes his perspective even when it comes to creating music and having his daughter around kind of seeps into his creative process of making music.

Bedtime with The Beatles was something that Warren introduced us to where the musician called Jason Falkner takes Beatles songs and transforms them into lullabies. I think it’s quite genius. It’s great for kids clearly.

And another show that he introduced us to was Beat Bugs, a kids show which is based on The Beatles songs without the dodgy lyrics. I introduced it to my 3.5 year old daughter. She saw the first 5 mins, turns to me and enquires, almost offended, “Where is the bettle?” She was actually expecting the insect and when I said there aren’t any, she just dropped the phone and left.

Warren also truly believes that introducing musical instruments to young children is very beneficial.

The recording experience with Warren was a bit at the start. He was our first guest and we ended up talking amongst ourselves for a good 25 minutes and guess what we forgot to hit record! So we had to restart the entire conversation and it was all good.

Check out the latest Blackstratblues album

Episode 6 – The Wives: Post Pregnancy

You can read all the baby books, watch videos, plan, prepare and mentally convince yourself that “I am ready for this” but when the baby comes you are constantly asking yourself the question “Do I even know how to baby!

In Part 2 of THE WIVES episode the baby journey begins and things get real. Once again this episode is all about the wives and what it was like for them to get through the initial period of the baby coming home.

Karen and Sabiha relive their first few days with the baby. You can hear a nostalgic plea in Karen’s voice about missing the hospital staff and the nurses who took such good care of her son. But now she was all on her own and constantly on the edge.

On the other hand Sabiha talks about the horrors of reaching home with a 3-day old and especially feeding her daughter continuously on the hour and that definitely took a toll on her.

Luckily for both the wives, family and hired help was a big boon and they thanked their stars for it because things were definitely far better when raising the child.

But when it comes to diaper changing even closes family members take a step and both husband-wife have to clean up the shit, literally. Karen couldn’t take the smell but Sabiha would smell her daughter’s poop because of the breast milk – WHAT!?!

The wives also spoke about the do’s and don’ts of sharing photos of the kids on social media and why it is done by certain parents and why some parents shun the practice.

At some level Karen and Sabiha did question what have they got themselves into. Reality was far different from expectations. The relationship with the child, husband, family, and individually was going to change dramatically.

Hear to what they have to say and what they went through when life is ruled by a child taking over their body, when the tiniest event leads into panic, when isolation becomes their best friend and when lack of work leaves them frustrated.

Does having a child change YOU at the core?

You can email us on popsinapod@gmail.com we would love to hear your planning stories before having your child(ren) or you can follow us on the below social media handles.

Episode 5 – The Wives: Pre-Pregnancy

In this episode, Nadir Pop and Peter Pop introduce their very first guest(s), their wives Sabiha Ghiasi and Karen Alfonso, respectively.

In previous episodes, you have heard Nadir Pop and Peter Pop’s perspectives on the initial journey of becoming parents but now you will hear their side of the story. They discuss getting together as a couple and Karen’s concerns on managing a long-distance marriage while Peter was pursuing his MBA in a foreign country.

Sabiha and Karen also go into a detailed commentary on how their kids were definitely planned and not an “oops” moment and their initial struggle with PCOD and the effects it had on planning to have a baby. They also tell their respective stories on how all four of them reacted when they heard that they were pregnant.

They also discuss the pregnancy phase and how it was for them and what are things that they experienced while they were carrying. Karen goes on to describe her cravings and the day she accidentally took a sip of wine while pregnant and how she was totally freaking out.

The wives take us through the various forms of paranoia, issues, concerns while they were pregnant and thoughts of having a healthy child would constantly come up in conversations. And they highlight the fact how a first pregnancy always accentuates these feelings and emotions that they encounter.

There is a point in the podcast where they all discuss how the couple break the news to their respective parents and reactions range from emotional to downright hilarity, especially when it came to Nadir’s parents.

You heard Nadir Pop and Peter Pop’s version of the birthing story and now you can listen to Sabiha and Karen’s version, yes, including the chicken roll story (No one is going to let Nadir forget this for the rest of his life).

The episode is available on most podcast platforms, Links available here – http://linktr.ee/popsinapod

Episode 4 – To Buy or Not to Buy

Being first time parents most definitely adds pressure to your already fast-paced, time-hungry life. But to top it off when you have to mutually come to an agreement on setting aside monies for purchasing baby products can add fuel to fire.

This week Nadir Pop and Peter Pop delve into:

  • Whether or not buying baby stuff for a new baby makes sense or not?
  • How they didn’t want to buy because they wanted to wait till the baby was born (gender, health, etc).
  • What DID they actually buy?
  • Their experiences and how they managed to get baby things without much expense.
  • The wonderful boon of gifts
  • The grandparents and how they lost their marbles

To get an understanding on average spending on kids by Indian families, have a read of this article

You can listen to the podcast on the following platforms – http://linktr.ee/popsinapod

Episode 3 – The Planning Pt. 2

In this episode, Nadir Pop and Peter Pop reflect on the amount of effort that they put in with their respective wives to become parents. And the planning stage was tough, would be a colossal understatement.

As parents there are so many things that need to be thought through, especially in the world that we are living today.

  • Are we mentally prepared to have this child?
  • Are we financially stable to sustain our lives along with a new human being?
  • What sort of sacrifices do we need to make to adjust to this new parental life?
  • Are we compatible, from a medical standpoint to conceive a child?
  • If both of us are working then how are we balancing work and life?

Nadir Pop and Peter Pop tackle all these burning questions through their personal stories and anecdotes.