At Parentous, 2017 has certainly started off in favour of fathers. This is the third interviews of a father in a row this year! 🙂 This week’s featured parent is Jamshed V Rajan of ‘Ouchmytoe’ fame. Known for his rib-tickling posts on personal life and family, Jamshed- better known as Jammy- is now a published author of children’s books. In this interview he talks about the joy of raising kids, work-life balance and his new undertaking- BabySchoolTV.
Q: Tell us about Jammy and the family
We are four of us. Rekha, my wife of 12 years who I met while we were working at Sify in Chennai. We have two children- nine year old Rhea and three and a half year old Ritwik. We like to call ourselves the ‘R’ Family.
Q: What was the reason behind starting Ouchmytoe? (Also tell us what the name ‘Ouchmytoe’ signifies)
Ouchmytoe has a much deeper meaning than what is apparent at first glance. The world is a crowded place and others may step on your toes unintentionally. In such situations the best reaction is to say “Ouch, my toe!” and move on. The website helped people move on – by being funny and being on topics everybody could associate with. The handle Ouchmytoe has now stuck – from blog to twitter to every new internet service which comes along.
Q: The website is more focused on the books now and there are less ‘blog’ posts than before. Has blogging taken a backseat now?
Yes, in recent times I have not been focusing much on writing funny articles. I have decided to work with kids. I write books for kids and also make educational and entertainment videos. I have started an exclusive YouTube channel for kids called BabySchoolTV. If you have kids, I highly recommend you subscribe to it.
Q: Are the humorous posts on marriage and relationships on your blog inspired directly by first hand experiences? What is your family’s take on this?
Yes, of course. If they weren’t inspired by first hand experiences with my wife I would have been in deep trouble by now. Each of my posts have the same template: Find a real life incident/interaction, blow it out of proportions so that it becomes funny, become the victim. Initially the family didn’t like that everything was going onto the net, nowadays they enjoy the write-ups.
Q: How did you foray into writing books for children? Any special thought/ instance that made you enter this space?
My father loved spending time with kids -me and my friends- and I used to love the fact that he was quite popular among them. It is his influence that today I also love playing with kids, telling them stories and even listening to their stories. It is a zen-like experience. It is because of my love for kids, that I decided to do something for them once I got out of corporate. What better than story books for kids?
(Click on the images to know more about each book)
Q: How is BabySchoolTV different from other child-centric channels on YouTube?
Being a parent is not easy. When we can’t give time to the kids, we give them a mobile with YouTube app open. Every parent who does this is ridden with guilt. It feels so much like cheating. BabySchoolTV was started with an intention of eliminating this guilt in the parents. I make entertaining & educating videos for kids below five years. At BabySchoolTV it isn’t mindless and continuous rendition of nursery rhymes. Instead, it is about learning – names of vegetables, modes of transports, names of musical instruments, names of insects etc.
Q: How has the shift from corporate to author been?
The shift hasn’t been easy. Primarily because books never pay. 99% of all writers will agree with me here. Being an author there is no assured pay check at the end of the month. But this is a small issue compared to the satisfaction of working with kids.
Q: What is a typical day in the life of Jamshed Rajan?
I get up at 5 am for some peaceful, creative time which continues till 6.30 am. After that I get my daughter Rhea ready for school. I drop her at the bus stop and head out to the gym where I spend the next 90 minutes. A 3-km warmup run is followed by some body-weight exercises. I am home by 9.30 am and after a light breakfast it is time to work on BabySchoolTV. Right now I am learning the software Autodesk Maya so I can create 3D educational videos for kids. At 12 noon I have to leave home again to pick up my son from his school and my wife from her start-up, where she works as Head of Content. By 3 pm our older one is also home.
From 3 pm to 9 pm we all are sitting at the dining table doing our own work – me writing books or creating videos for kids, my wife on content for her start-up while Rhea catches up with studies. Tea, snacking etc. happens at this table itself and it is just awesome. Each one of us takes occasional breaks to spend time with the little man in the house Ritwik who is busy with his books and toys all this while. 3 pm to 9 pm is a great time to be home.
Q: Answer in one word: What is the one thing you want your children to remember you as?
Q: How has fatherhood changed you as a person? What have you learnt about yourself after becoming a parent?
I wasn’t around for the first two-three years of Rhea growing up. I used to work long hours at a start-up then. So, it wasn’t really a good start as a father. The realization dawned on me one sudden day that what I have been working hard for has always been right under my nose. That’s when I decided to spend more time in the present and less preparing for the future. I am glad this happened, now my kids will remember their father as I remember mine.
Do you believe that being funny in your approach to life helps you be a better father?
Yes definitely. In our house Rekha is the strict one and I am the fun guy and we both try not to overrule each other in front of the kids. This two-sided parenting seems to be helping because we can see that our daughter now has the best of both. In fact, just because Rekha is strict doesn’t mean she is less popular amongst the kids. Even today when we form teams to play a game my daughter prefers to team up with her mother over me.
Any parenting advice or tips/ tricks for fathers who juggle between multiple roles everyday over and above being parents.
We don’t really have anything new to say to parents trying to juggle multiple roles. It’s the same time-tested and tried trick of spending time with kids. The more time we spend with them today the less we and our kids will regret later.
Hope you liked Jammy’s interview and his insights on parenting. You can leave a comment below or connect with him on twitter at @Ouchmytoe.