Welcome to Masala Chai!!


Who we are:

We are a small group of people, of which two of us are administrators for this blog. We are deeply dedicated to the scientific study of childhood and family life focussing primarily, but not exclusively, on issues related to Indian society and culture. Two of us have doctoral degrees in Child Development, and long-standing careers in teaching and research about childhood in India, with several scientific and popular publications to our credit. Reshu is a post-graduate in the same field, and is passionate about people and cultures. The others are interested parents/family members who will assist us in this task.

Nandita Chaudhary, Ph. D.

There are many crossroads in life, and I definitely feel that I am approaching one. After three decades plus as a university teacher (and about the same duration as a mother), I feel I am ready to take some sort of retirement from both assignments, before new ones arrive. During my career, I have had the delightful opportunity to learn from my scholars, teachers, colleagues, participants in research, and also my students. The exchange of ideas in the classroom always brought me great joy and excitement, and I will surely miss that when I finally hang up my boots. I was also fortunate to have a chance to study abroad, which was followed by several exciting opportunities for inter-country research, teaching and collaboration related to childhood, family and social life. These experiences added new perspectives, about family life in India as well as other parts of the world. As I read more about how Indian childhood was being discussed in academia and public life, I became increasingly engaged in promoting locally meaningful perspectives on childhood and social life in India. During this journey, I have explored, illustrated, discussed and debated the importance of looking at cultural strengths. There are numerous aspects of family and social life in India that have been ignored, misunderstood or misrepresented because the framework for understanding childhood is borrowed. It is essential to keep a critical, culturally sensitive position in order to best understand the value of care. More about me here: http://www.nanditachaudhary.com/

Pooja Bhargava, Ph. D.

Hi! I am Pooja,  researcher at heart and currently a curious mom by profession. My eagerness to understand little people led me to earn my doctorate in Child Development. During my educational and professional journey I have assimilated several experiences working with children and adults across ages and across cultures. My involvement in research projects on children in different cultures made me delve deeper into theory of childhood and family life. My relationship with my two daughters has compelled me further consolidate and communicate my thoughts and experiences. In this manner, the personal and professional aspects of my life have converged. Whenever we cross cultural boundaries, parenting issues become even more focused and we begin to review what we have learnt and practiced when we are faced with incongruity. My journey as an expat in Dubai has further fuelled this urge to write about different cultural practices, ideas and opinions about children. I do hope these posts that are related to children in Indian families around the world, are able to arouse and sustain interest among an audience of adult carers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, uncles and aunts, teachers and anyone else who is concerned about children growing up in the 21st century!

Reshu Tomar Hasija (M. Sc., B. Ed.)

The first thing I’d like to say about myself is that I’m a mother of a lovely daughter. First of all I am a mother of a lovely daughter and a curious observer of childhood. I have always been curious, and with my daughter, I now have the opportunity to fulfil my desire with someone I love. So, I guess I am thoroughly enjoying the enormous task of raising my child in addition to learning so much about the way she thinks, reflects on issues and speaks about life. I believe that my own ideas are constantly becoming refreshed in these interactions with her.
I have always loved to spend time with different people, learning about them, their lives, and in fact, everything about them. In this regard, India provides a wealth of opportunity. In the street, marketplace, in homes and farms, I am always alert to what is happening around me, whether I am at home, on a holiday or on an assignment. Also, documenting my experiences with descriptions and pictures is another important activity for me. In a sense, therefore, I have always been a researcher. I have a Bachelors’ degree in Education and Masters’ degree in Human Development and Childhood Studies from Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi after which I worked on several research projects, both national and international. It is during these assignments that I became aware of my hidden desire for documenting people’s lives and I carry my training everywhere I go, even when I am not employed. The frozen moments in my camera are the pages in my diary of life as I experience it. As an illustration, I was recently at a Gypsy Market in Gurugram where I encountered this community of Ironsmiths. I spent quite a bit of time with them, and even made friends with some little girls playing there as I talked with them about life and work. I like understanding life from the perspective of the other person. In the end, perhaps I should add that I am a believer of Hindu philosophy, science and ideology.



Other members contributing actively to the Blog (in alphabetic order) include:

Aatman Chaudhary (Management)

Anita Kumar (Paediatrics)

Damini Tiwari (Dance)

Indu Kaura (Child Development, Counselling)

Pankaj Asthaana (Finance: Payments and Technology)

Punya Pillai (Human Development and Childhood Studies)

Shraddha Kapoor (Human Development and Childhood Studies)

Shashi Shukla (Educational Psychology)

Sunil Chaudhary (Geophysics)

Sushmitha Sunder (Landscape Architecture and Design)

Uday Chaudhary (Analytics)

Why Masala Chai?

We use this label for several reasons. Firstly, because this provides us with a uniquely Indian flavour which was something that we think, characterizes the way we Indians deal with life. Advice can come from any source (just like the tea plantations that we set-up in the 1800s), and we have now given this brew our own special twist, customized it to suit our collective palate. Yet, people do drink tea in many, many diverse ways. We believe that the same thing happens in the care of children. We take what  we have in our own world, what others give us, dwell on these, but the ultimate package of family life is quintessentially our own.
Find links to Masala Chai: