A Kid’s Life: India

22 Nov


Hello all.  I’m still here (after over a month’s absence on Jillian In Italy).  We’ve had a difficult month but things are slowly starting to get back to normal.  Thankfully.  All I can say at the moment is that I’m so grateful for my family and our good health.  So so grateful.

Today I wanted to share a new interview in my A Kid’s Life series.  Learning about regular family life and traditions from around the world is one of my favourite things and since I started this series a few years ago I’ve learned so much about different cultures around the world.  And as much as I love to hear about how different a culture is from the other side of the world I also find it so fascinating that there are so many similarities between all of our daily grinds.

Today we’re going to hear from Kanchan and her family who live in Dehli in Northern India.  I actually “met” Kanchan on Instagram (follow her here) and I was immediately in awe of her colourful photos of their life and surroundings (not to mention the gorgeous colourful fabrics that she sometimes photographs!).  I’ve been fascinated with India for years and we’re actually in the midst of seriously contemplating a family trip there in the near future.

From the beginning Kanchan was warm and friendly and so open to share her family’s daily life and culture with us here on Jillian In Italy.  Kanchan, who lived for over 20 years in Dubai, decided to return to India so that her two daughters would be close to family and friends and learn and appreciate all that Indian culture has to offer.

So let’s hear all about their life in Delhi.

A temple in Delhi

A temple in Delhi

What country do you live in?

We live in India

How many kids do you have?  What are their ages?

We have two girls.  Diya is 12 and Naina is 10.  And we have two beloved daschunds.

At the Amer Fort, Jaipur

At the Amer Fort, Jaipur

Are you and your husband the same nationality?
Yes, we are both Indian

Do you both work?  Or does someone stay at home?

I used to work for an airline in Dubai (Emirates).  Now I am mostly at home with my girls.  My husband does financial consultancy from home.

How many languages are spoken in your house?  What one(s)?

English and Hindi.

At what age do kids start school in your country?

Most kids that we know start school at two and half years old.  By three and a half they go to Kindergarten in a proper school.  Our schools are mostly English medium and the curriculum is 10+2.

During the school year what time do your kids usually wake up?

We wake up the kids by 6:30am as the school bus comes at 7:20am.  It’s usually very rushed as Naina is not a morning person and we are always on tenterhooks.  The school is a 45 minute ride away so we have to make sure she is on the bus!

New Delhi tomb

New Delhi Tomb

What do your kids typically eat for breakfast?

Diya is a good eater.  Eggs, toast, muesli and juice is good for her. Naina is picky.  At the moment it’s Nutella on toast for her.  On the week-ends they like bacon and sausages and sometimes waffles and pancakes.  We have a very good cook and sometimes the kids assist him.

What time does school start?  What time does it finish?  What is the weekly school schedule?

The school timings are 8:30am to 2:30pm.  Sometimes they have to stay back for sports practice or any extra-curricular activities they have signed up for.  They have yoga, PE, art, Western music and Indian music (besides the usual school subjects).

Do your kids learn a second/third language at school?  From what age?

English is the main medium of instruction in my kids’ school. Hindi is compulsory but only as a subject. From Grade 6 they can  choose Spanish or French as a 3rd language.

In Lodi Gardens

In Lodi Gardens

Do your kids eat lunch at school or home?  What is a typical lunch for your kids?

Private school kids get lunch at school (served at 1pm). Strictly vegetarian and mostly Indian. A dal, rice, veggie and rotis ( Indian bread) with a sweet (ice cream or kheer) or a fruit is the usual menu. They need special permission for home-food.  My younger daughter carries a ‘tiffin’ (snack) to school which they have around 10am.

Do your kids do any after-school activities?
Naina has once a week Zumba dance class in school. She also has soccer practice thrice a week in the mornings as she is in the school junior girls soccer ‘ B’ team. She also goes for Maths and Hindi (private) tuition twice a week.

Diya is a soccer and basketball girl and has been in her school ‘A’ team for all sports including athletics. Now she is studying in a private boarding school so her schedule is different.

Art by Naina

Art by Naina

What time do you eat dinner?  What is a typical dinner you would eat?

We eat dinner at 7 pm everyday except if we are entertaining or going out. We eat no frozen food. Everything is freshly prepared. We have Indian food about 2-3 times a week, other days a soup and a bake with some tandoori chicken is good. Weekends I may bake some treats like brownies. Indian food can be very spicy but we eat very little chillies and spices.

How much television/computer time do your kids have on a daily basis?

Television on weekends only. Computer time during the week restricted to homework only.

What time do your kids go to bed?

8.30 pm on school nights. Later (tenish) on weekends. We are flexible on weekends as sometimes the girls have a ‘movie night’ at home.

What are some typical family week-end activities?

Our favourite weekend activity is taking a walk in the beautiful Lodi Gardens which is about 15 mins away by car. Sometimes we go out for a nice meal or visit friends and relatives. Mostly family time.  Actually the kid’s social lives is more active than ours – they seem to be attending birthday parties every week!

In Goa

In Goa

When do your kids have vacation from school?

Most schools in North India are closed May-July as these are our hottest months.  So they have six weeks summer vacation then one week off for Dussehra and Diwali.  Winter break is usually two weeks (Dec 24th to Jan 9th).  In between there are also many religious holidays.

What do your kids do during the summer vacation?

Summer holidays we usually head abroad and sometimes to our house in Goa as the girls love the beach. They usually get loads of holiday home-work so that keeps them busy. Our main festival is Diwali when the kids get a week off and we spend the time with family.

What are the typical “first foods” for babies to eat in your country?

We fed our girls rice cereal to start with as normally that is what one would give but it also depends on elder relatives’ advice.  India is a big country so even if you go 20 km outside Delhi you will find the food habits, language and terrain all changed so it differs from different communities.  We also give pureed fruit and vegetables after the cereal.  No meat until the babies are usually older than one.

Holidaying in NYC

Holidaying in NYC

Thank you so much to Kanchan and family.  I absolutely loved hearing all about your lives in India.  Hopefully one of these days our paths will cross (here on Lago Maggiore or India!).

For previous interviews in the A Kid’s Life series read here:  ItalyJapan, AmericaCanadaAustralia, New ZealandThe PhilippinesColombiaGermanyBelgiumFrance , Switzerland,  The Netherlands and South Africa.

And if you’d like to participate drop me a line at jillianinitaly@hotmail.com.

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11 Responses to “A Kid’s Life: India”

  1. Proyecto Mariposa-Amor en Acción November 22, 2013 at 13:27 #

    Wonderful post and nice photos, thanks for share it :-)) Best regards from Spain

  2. grammao November 22, 2013 at 15:37 #

    Good to see you back at the computer. Photos of at home in India are wonderful. Great series on families around the world.

  3. Chasing Hygge November 22, 2013 at 18:49 #

    Lovely, I really enjoyed this post. I’d love to visit India.

    • Jillian In Italy November 23, 2013 at 14:47 #

      Me too! Maybe we should organise a blogger’s retreat to India!

  4. giova brusa November 22, 2013 at 18:50 #

    Yayyy you’re back!!
    Lovely family and the pictures! Someday I’ll go to India too.
    On my wish list since long time ago.

    • Jillian In Italy November 23, 2013 at 14:48 #

      As I said to Chasing Hygge above….we should organise a blogger’s retreat to India. Seriously.

      • Kanchan Singh November 26, 2013 at 12:59 #

        Jillian..thanks for featuring us in your post…a real honour!
        Would be happy to organise a ‘ bloggers’ retreat to India’..Kanchan

      • Judith November 28, 2013 at 22:50 #

        And we’d call it Bindia 😉 Good to see that you’re back! I’m such a fan of this series! xx

  5. The Gardens November 10, 2014 at 06:38 #

    Your style is very unique compared to other folks I’ve
    read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity,
    Guess I will just book mark this web site.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. This Weekend | Dejlige Days - November 23, 2013

    […] Fascinating post about life as a family in India here. […]

  2. A Kid’s Life: Melbourne, Australia | Jillian In Italy - January 14, 2014

    […] Hello everyone.  Time for a new interview in my A Kid’s Life series.  I have to admit that I’m really proud of this series and all of the great interviews I’ve had over the past few years.  I’ve loved “virtually meeting” every single one of these families and luckily enough I’ve kept in touch with them all.  These families have been warm, friendly and open to share the details of their daily family grind.  I have big plans to meet them all in their native countries in the coming years (don’t worry, I won’t show up unexpected on your doorsteps!).  But what a great excuse to travel around the world!  Here are the previous interviews in case you missed them: Italy, Japan, USA, The Philippines, Tasmania, Canada, Belgium, New Zealand, Holland, Germany, Colombia, France, Switzerland, South Africa, India. […]

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