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With the Indian film industry having emerged as the largest in the world and the citizenry being offered the choice of over 748 television channels, professionally qualified film editors are much sought after

The most glamorous career options in India’s multi-billion dollar movies, film and television industries dominated by ‘Bollywood’, are in mainstream acting or direction. However, the film and television industry also has plenty of less glamorous but interesting and creative jobs such as editing, a critical component of film production. That’s why countrywide, ambitious youth of both sexes are flocking to film institutes to study the specialised art of film editing.

A film editor is an expert in the art of ‘cutting’. editors work in studios, view footage shot by the directors to fine tune audio-visual output, and use their skills to mix, or glide smoothly between the narrative sequence and music to ensure continuity and appeal to audiences.

Narrative skills and thorough understanding of the script and screenplay to add depth or compress footage, are required of a competent editor. And apart from inherent creativity, proficiency in the editing software application Final Cut Pro (FCP) is mandatory.

Study Programmes. With industry demand for professionally qualified film editors rising continuously, most film institutes offer certificate, diploma and postgraduate programmes. The minimum admission qualification required is Plus Two, but collegiate graduation is required for admission into postgraduate diploma courses in film editing offered by government- aided institutes. Admission is either through an entrance exam and/or interview.

Among the prominent institutes offering film editing study programmes are:

The Central government’s Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune which offers a full-time three-year postgraduate diploma in film editing
Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata — a three-year postgrad diploma in film and television with an option to specialise in editing in the second and third years
Whistling Woods International, Mumbai — a two-year full-time diploma in film editing and other specialisations and a four-week short-term programme in editing skills and FCP
Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Video editing, Bangalore which conducts short part-time diploma courses in professional editing
Digital Academy, Mumbai offers short-term courses of six months duration in non-linear editing.

With the Indian film industry having emerged as the largest in the world producing over 1,500 feature films per year with an annual turnover of Rs.6,000 crore, and the citizenry being offered the choice of over 748 television channels, professional film editors are much sought after, and demand will keep rising in years to come. Competent professionals have the option of working in feature and non-feature films, documentaries, ad films, and television. It’s a money-spinning vocation and once you’ve carved a niche for yourself, the sky is the limit.

The media industry, especially films and television, has a very bright future in India and worldwide. With films, television, advertising and Internet industries all generating massive volumes of content, the demand for professionally qualified, on-the-ball film editors is likely to snowball. It’s a career option with huge opportunities and well worth considering.

(Excerpted from 101 Great Careers for the 21st Century by Indra Gidwani, 2016)

The article was published in the print version of ParentsWorld February 2018 issue.
My 15-year-old daughter has acne, which is getting worse by the day. She has been trying natural treatments such as sandal paste and a gram flour mix. Is it time to see a dermatologist? - Rashmi Guha, Bengaluru
Acne (pimples) is a common skin ailment in adolescence, which teens outgrow as they complete their teenage years. Acne and scar formation may affect adolescents’ self-image and make them very self-conscious. Thus, it is important to address it early and to reassure teens that it is only a transient condition that can be managed.

Note that your daughter should wash her face once or twice a day — frequent washing will dry the skin. Consult a dermatologist who will be able to assess the severity of acne and suggest treatment options. Most acne medication can help to keep pimples under control. There is a drug for complete resolution of acne, but it is usually used only in severe conditions and requires monitoring with blood tests.

Moderate or mild acne require gentle drugs, so don’t let her self-medicate without consulting a dermatologist. It is important to treat acne to prevent scarring. However, even after treatment, it is often necessary to continue maintenance care until the acne resolves. Besan and sandal paste are helpful treatments.

My 12-year-old loves fruit juices but his teeth seem to be getting discoloured. He drinks tetra pack juices and brushes his teeth twice a day. I think i need to wean him off the juices. Are they the cause of his discoloured teeth? - Krishna Nair, Chennai
Eating whole fruits is a better option than juices. Most packaged juices contain added sugar which contributes to unhealthy calories. Thus, although drinking a good amount of fluids per day is beneficial, it’s better to consume more water and fruit juice occasionally. If his teeth are getting discoloured also observe his brushing technique. It is good that he brushes twice a day. Careful brushing at night is important to prevent caries.

My four-year-old gets rashes on her face every time she finishes a meal. The doctor suspects she has allergies and has recommended that we get her tested. What kind of tests should we expect? — Preethi Thomas, Kochi
Testing for allergies usually requires blood and skin prick tests. The blood test assesses immunoglobulin levels (that rise in most allergies). The skin test involves inserting a small quantity of different allergens under the skin and comparing the allergic reaction with standard controls.

This skin test needs to be done at a super-speciality diagnostic centre, and your doctor will give you suggestions on where to get it done. Interpretation of results will depend not just on the test results but also the child’s medical history.

(Dr. Nisha Miriam George is a paediatric consultant at Sundaram Medical foundation and Dr. Rangarajan Memorial Hospital, Chennai)

The article was published in the print version of ParentsWorld February 2018 issue

The rise of double income nuclear families in urban India has coincided with the coming of age of Google and explosion of parenting websites, apps, and online forums and communities on social media. In the new millennium, it’s become normative for young parents, especially moms, to seek solutions for parenting problems online, rather than from their mothers


When Shrobona Choudhuri, a Bangalore- based school teacher, found her six-year-old son Ahaan was struggling with spelling, she sought an enjoyable way to help him rather than forcing him to learn by the traditional pedagogy of memorisation. So, she googled and found an excellent online resource which used the phonic system of teaching. “Even when my son was two years old and throwing tantrums all the time, it was reassuring to read online that some other parents were experiencing the same problem, and that it’s just a phase which children would outgrow,” says Choudhuri, who often seeks online parenting advice.

Choudhuri is not alone in turning to the Internet for instant parenting support. Tens of thousands of parents, especially working women, in India and worldwide, log on to Google and online forums to seek advice, information, and support on a wide range of parenting issues. For the 21st century parent, the online and apps world — accessible 24/7 — offers a flood of parenting information and advice starting from coping with pregnancy to expert health advice on child development, learning resources and tracking children’s progress at school.

Worldwide, a constantly rising number of women are getting hooked on to the online support system soon after they become pregnant, and websites and apps, such as the popular Baby Center, handholds them through the nine months of pregnancy, child birth, nursing, child nurturance milestones, vaccination schedules, school progress and beyond. Online discussion forums, weekly emails, interactive interfaces, etc make the experience more real than reaching out to young mums in the neighbourhood.

And it’s not just millennial mums who are cyber-dependent for their parenting needs. According to a 2015 survey by the website Baby Center, USA, millennial dads (aged 18-34 who are expecting or have a child under age six) are more involved in day-to-day childcare than any generation preceding them.

Writing in The New York Times (November 4, 2017), Bruce Feiler describes this new generation of millennial parents as “parennials” and outlines a series of ways in which contemporary parents are raising their children dif- ferently from previous generations. One simple but crucial difference Feiler notes is that today’s moms and dads are what Rebecca Parlakian, programme director for Zero to Three, a US-based organisation that has been studying new parents for three decades, calls “high-information parents” who are accustomed to turning to the Internet for any and every question. According to Parlakian, “Google is the new grandparent, the new neighbour, the new nanny.”

A Changed World
Though the high technology comfort level of  parennials  is a huge factor in their relying on the Internet for parenting answers, the steady growth in the number of nuclear households in urban India is also majorly driving their reliance on the Internet. In post-liberalisation urban India, the great Indian joint family is breaking down and the new reality is the nuclear family with both parents working.

Moreover, today’s working parents are less likely to live near family and be chummy with neighbours, relying on the Internet for comprehensive virtual support.

This was not the case even 10-15 years ago. Bangalore- based documentary filmmaker and journalist Vinita A. Shetty, recalls new parents asking their parents, in-laws, extended family, friends, and even over-the-wall neighbours for advice on how to manage infants and provide old-school parenting wisdom. “Now that the very fabric of the society we live in has changed, parents seek out their own go-to information sites in the online world. Suddenly, it has become unfashionable and tedious to ask family and friends for parenting advice. The norm is to search online. Online, you get differing viewpoints and perspectives on any issue, and you can acquire in- depth knowledge,” says Shetty, mother of two-and-half- year-old daughter Annika.

In particular, for parents who move to a new city or country, without the traditional family sup- port system to rely on for child care and advice, the online world and mobile apps are a godsend. Dr. Hemangini Gupta, a 36-year-old postdoctoral researcher in gender studies and mother of 11-month-old Nikhil, who has recently moved to India from Canada, recalls how she and her husband resorted to the Internet for help and advice during her pregnancy and post-delivery. “My son was born when I was in Montreal, a city that was new to me and where we didn’t have family or friends. My partner and I found ourselves looking online for advice to understand behaviour of newborns — from things such as how to latch when breastfeeding, when to feed, what to feed, when to start semi-solids and so on. Most recently, I looked up my go-to online site for advice on how and when to wean my son. Even though we have just returned to India and have family and friends for advice, the Internet has become a trusted friend, philosopher, and guide on parenting,” says Gupta.

Parenting Resources Boom
Unsurprisingly, to cater to the huge and rising demand from parennials, a plethora of parenting and child-focused apps and websites have sprung up worldwide, and in India. Among the popular India-focused ones are BabyChakra, BabyBerry, Babyonboard, First Moms Club, Parentune, In- diaParenting, TinyStep, MyCity4Kids, ZenParent, Parent- ree and Parentlane. Promoted by nexgen edupreneurs who have stepped in to fulfill the rising demand for curated information from young parents in urban India, they cover a wide range of issues including advice from nutritionists, paediatricians, mental health counselors, education-related information, etc with most of them offering customised content.

For instance Parentlane, a social networking app that focuses on early childhood development, is designed for young mothers in the 23-35 years age group with children between 0-5 years. Vijay Anand, co-founder and CEO of Parentlane, says the app’s data science algorithm studies a child’s holistic development across 3,000+ variables to offer personalised recommendations to parents.

“When it comes to answering personal questions related to an infant’s health and development, it’s important to have deep knowledge about the mother and child across many data points or variables, to present appropriate solutions. Our app has a ‘Discuss’ window that invites new parents to post their queries. They get instant answers from other parents in the community and experts. Currently, our free-of-charge app has 60,000 users across the country. The maximum activity happens among parents of newborns in the 0-2 age group, as that is the most crucial and confusing stage of child development and parenting,” says Anand, a alum of IIM-Bangalore and former senior vice president (business) of who co-promoted Parentlane in December 2015.

Information Overload Stress
But inevitably, the miracle that is Google has its obverse, dark side. There’s accumulating evidence that the ocean of information available on the Internet is confusing and stressing out young parents. Lavanya Venkatraman, the Bangalore-based business head of the textiles fashion brand Mr. Ajay Kumar, and mother of five-year-old Siddhant, says “there’s so much information out there, it’s scary”. “There’s a massive information overload — there are mothers’ WhatsApp groups at school, Facebook personalises my newsfeed, and there are Facebook mothers’ groups. Parents need to find their own balance and decide what they need and don’t. For instance, I have put into practice information and advice I found online but I always tweak them to my child’s personality. In a rising number of cases, young parents are now going back to traditional sources of child-rearing advice to build a culture-specific connect with their children,” says Venkatraman.

Unsurprisngly, there’s emerging evidence that the ready availability of information and advice online and in particular participation in online parenting groups and discussions, is imposing high pressure and stress on young parents. A study published in Computers in Human Behaviour (May 2017) highlights that participation in online parenting platforms adds pressure on mothers to project themselves as perfect parents. The study observes that such pressure can affect mothers’ mental health, parenting behaviour and other relationships (with the spouse, extended family, etc) adversely.

Aarti Rajaratnam, director of the Child Guidance Center and Counseling Clinic, Salem, advises parents against readily signing up as members of online parenting groups and platforms. “Signing up with online parenting groups indiscriminately can be dangerous for young parents, especially young mothers who subtly experience pressure to become great moms. A woman usually ties her entire sense of well-being and success to discharging her role of mother. When anything goes wrong, she begins to experience severe anxiety, helplessness and depression. Therefore, it’s advisable to avoid cross-culture groups with widely divergent value premises. Moreover in parenting groups, there’s an unwritten contest to become the best parent. Therefore online groups should be carefully chosen,” says Rajaratnam.

In particular, experts counsel parents against relying on online health and medical advice. Writing in The Washington Post (October 26, 2015), Alice Callahan, a US-based author with a Ph D in nutritional biology, says: “Know that no website can be a substitute for a healthcare provider.

If you think your child is really sick, don’t bring her symptoms to Facebook. Get real medical care.”

Sheetal Avate, 39, a Bangalore-based IT professional and mother of three-year-old Aadith, concurs. “I’m constantly in front of the laptop, so I always rely on Google. I have used websites, when my son has taken ill, where paediatricians respond to questions posted online. They provide generic information which is useful. But you cannot fully rely on it and must take child-specific professional advice,” says Avate.

Google over Granny
The increasing preference for Google over grandmothers is also being driven by the fact that parennials have their own ideas of child development and prefer not to get into disagreements over child rearing practices with their elders. Dr. Hemangini Gupta (quoted earlier) says contemporary educated women tend to have strong views on parenting and are likely to dismiss the wisdom of family elders as old- fashioned. “We like to read, research, assess and find our own path. Even with my paediatrician whom I love and trust, I don’t always agree with everything she says, and will verify things she has told me and double-check online. This is now possible because of the wealth of resources available online,” says Dr. Gupta.

But Gupta warns against indiscriminately soliciting online advice from all and sundry. “I only ask people with whom I have cultural affinity and similar values for advice. I have had very unpleasant experiences listening to unsolicited advice or going to websites dominated by people with alien cultural values. I maintain a small list of people whom I trust, and only solicit their suggestions,” she says.

Wisely, Than Too Well
Unsurprisingly, over-reliance on technology is increasingly being questioned. Vinita Shetty (quoted earlier) says parents’ natural child-rearing instincts shouldn’t be totally disregarded. “As parents in a modern, tech-enabled, information-rich age, we are adapting in the way we know best, and are connected with parents and resources around the world. To me, the Internet is an invaluable resource, a virtual community where I am more of a listener and note- taker. Certainly, this information helps me become a better and more informed parent. But every mother’s natural child-rearing instinct should be given some weightage and factored into raising youngest children to joyously mature into confident school-goers and later, citizens,” says Shetty.

Undoubtedly, the Internet is a great parenting resource, storehouse of information, a sisterhood, a support system and more. But young parents should use it wisely, rather than too well.

The article was published in the print version of ParentsWorld February 2018 issue.

My ten-year-old son always sticks to his 12-year-old sister or plays at home. How do i encourage him to make new friends at birthday parties or play with children in the neighbourhood? I worry about his ability to form relationships as he likes to interact only with family members. - Raihanna Fathima, Chennai

Today’s generation of children tend to have limited social skills because they are exposed to fewer people outside the home and therefore feel uncomfortable and are hesitant to make new friends.

Young children take anywhere between six weeks to a year to develop the capability to bond with peer groups. Peer bonding and new friendships require children to spend time in free play. This cannot be achieved through structured classes, especially in school. Free play without gadgets is essential as building new relationships is a process. If your child has other options for entertainment including technology and siblings, the likelihood of him trying to make new friends is almost nil. To build relationships, he must experience a genuine need for friendship. I suggest you arrange for a “play date” away from home where he must interact with others without the option of returning home. If he fights or tries to dominate during his play date let him deal with the situation on his own. Don’t try and solve his problems in the hope that it will ease his adjustment into the peer group. Your interference will alienate him from the others.

But always ensure you are there if he wishes to discuss new friendships. In the younger ages, children move from solitary to cooperative play through four stages. He can move through the stages faster provided he has the opportunity for free play at least four times a week.

Ten years ago, my husband and i adopted a baby girl. Last year, I found out I was pregnant. As I am in my late 40s, it was a difficult pregnancy, so we were focused on making sure all was well with the new arrival. Our girl is now two months old and we are thrilled. But my elder daughter is finding it difficult to adjust to the new family situation. She is angry, moody and disinclined to bond with her sister. Recently, she told me she hates her sister and wants her to die. We had previously told her she is adopted and have constantly assured her of our attention and love. Please help. - Ftalyani Ramanathan, Erode

For ten long years, your older daughter has been the centre of all your attention. Her strong reaction to the new situation is perhaps independent of the fact that she is adopted. Sibling rivalry takes a lot of time to settle. Until now, she was the only child and didn’t have to share her things, your time and attention. The fact that now she must share all of that is the likely cause of this behaviour.

Additionally, it’s not unusual for children who have been adopted to experience insecurity and fear of abandonment and/or suffer an identity crisis. Make sure that you and your husband spend equal time with her every day one-on- one and do fun activities together. When she speaks about her dislike of her younger sister, listen for the core message. It will provide clues to what she really needs. Sometimes she may just need to be hugged and loved to feel reassured.

Words of reassurance may be insufficient; you need to supplement them with physical displays of affection. Make her feel important and encourage her to help in whatever way she can with her sister. When family and friends visit the baby, please ask them to bring gifts for your older daughter too. Spend time with her every night at bedtime, and reiterate her importance in your lives. These positive messages will help. But if things don’t settle in a couple of months, consult a therapist who specialises in play therapy.

(Aarti Rajaratnam is director of the child guidance centre and counseling clinic, Salem/chennai)

The article was published in the print version of ParentsWorld February 2018 issue