My family loves to watch singing reality shows. It's an opportunity for me to get some focused time when I read or write. I do join in occasionally, though. This weekend was one such occasion.

For one, A. R. Rahman was going to be on the show as a guest. I love this man and his music. I won't miss a chance to watch the people contending to be good at singing attempt the maestro's brilliant tunes. The episode did not disappoint -- a contestant attempted one of the trickiest songs ever composed by Rahman, Satrangi Re.

As the performance came to an end (and the director decided to stuff it with unnecessary stuff), a little dialogue happened at our home. The contestant mentioned the first album he purchased was Rahman's, and he wanted Rahman's autograph on the old audio cassette. My daughter looked on with her curiosity piqued by watching the object the guy was holding. She genuinely asked, "what's a cassette, dad?"

Boy, I had a nostalgic few minutes. I explained all about how I used to listen to songs when I was a child. I showed her the images of the audio cassettes, up close and afar. But you know what she was most interested in? Sony Walkman.

I dearly wish I had not given away my Sony Walkman to one of my cousins. Sure, I had made her day by passing on the tech I did not need. But I loved my Walkman. And pleasing to see my daughter get fascinated by the beauty. And she has owned every type of iPod -- yet the retro-tech will always hold its charm.

By the way, the contestant I mentioned above, Ashish Kulkarni, is too good a singer. Just watch him nail a track I love, Alvida from Life in a Metro.

Image Credit: Binarysequence at Wikimedia

My daughter has been reading short storybooks since she was 5. She likes to read – she would find a comfortable corner for herself and start reading her books. I was a bit cautious introducing her to a full-length novel, though. I didn’t want to dampen her interest in reading by the usual wordiness of the novels.

But recently, she asked me for some big books – “I am bored with these small stories,” she said. “I know them by heart now.

So, I did give her a couple of “big” books last week, and she hardly goes anywhere without her book since then. She carries a pencil and an eraser, underlines words she doesn’t understand well, bookmarks pages. Ah, I’m so happy to see her so engrossed while reading. I wish I had started reading sooner; I’m delighted to see my daughter has.

Oh, recently I have seen another habit of hers. She likes to copy small stories into her notebook, then read them in her handwriting and out loud in her voice. Yay!

I wish she keeps her interest in reading intact as she grows and would assist her in whichever way possible. To start with though, I need to choose the right books.

Continuing the theme of capturing the colors of Rangoli in the light of Diyas! Of course, the skill and the underlying efforts matter a lot more than mine.

Every Diwali, I capture how Diyas enliven the colors of Rangoli – oddness of this year hasn’t dampened that interest of mine. To all those celebrating this festival of lights and togetherness, wish you a very happy Diwali!

Before there was Pixar, I had studied under this Pixar lamp. Those were the days when priorities were pretty clear.

Early morning drive through the nature with a steady drizzle around is always rejuvenating. Especially with the windows rolled down!