Episode 77 – Demystifying the COVID-19 Vaccine

The vaccination fever (no pun intended) has gripped India over the past few months, more so since 1st May as Covid-19 vaccinations for those in the age group 18 – 44.
Nadir Pop was one of the lucky few who managed to get the vaccine last week and he shared his experience. Read more about it here.

On this episode, Nadir Pop & Peter Pop are joined by Dr. Dheeraj Mulchandani to bust some myths around the Covid-19 vaccine and get a better understanding about the 2nd wave of the pandemic and also the impending 3rd wave.

Dr. Dheeraj Mulchandani is a general and laparoscopic surgeon with an experience of over 18 years experience. An entrepreneur in the medical tourism business, he has conducted various training programs related to Covid-19 and the ongoing pandemic in the past year.

For the next few days and months as we ride out the 2nd wave, just think that it’s 2020 again and take those precautions.

Dr. Dheeraj Mulchandani

Highlights from the chat are:

  1. Myths and facts around the Covid-19 vaccine and the Coronavirus.
  2. Vaccination for pregnant women & lactating mothers
  3. The rise in the number of cases among youth and children during the current 2nd wave in India.
  4. The current status on vaccines for children.
  5. VERY IMPORTANT: The reason that children between the ages of 2-12 will be major target during the the third wave.

As there is a lot of information and also misinformation currently spreading, listeners are encouraged to share this episode with their friends and family.

The views expressed on this episode are of an expert, it is not a substitute for medical advice. Listeners are encouraged to seek medical advice before taking up any new treatment. Please seek professional medical advice. 

Pops in a Pod is part of #PodForChange, an initiative by the Indian podcasting community to raise funds for those affected by the pandemic in India, through the NGO, Give India. To make a positive impact in the lives of those affected by COVID19, we request you to donate here – https://fundraisers.giveindia.org/fundraisers/podforchange-covid-relief-fund

Get in touch with the Pops at popsinapod@gmail.com

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Nadir Pop’s experience getting the vaccine

Nadir Pop recounts his COVID-19 vaccine experience


India right now is in the midst of the largest vaccination drive ever known in history. And everyone wants to get a shot. Unfortunately it wasn’t easy. The government has built a portal where people can go and book their slots. The drive for the age group 18-44 started on 1st May 2021 and I got my chance on the 11th of May. It might seem that “hey 10 days to get a shot, well that’s easy. You book, get in line and wait for your chance”. It wasn’t that simple.

If you wanted to get your shot you had to visit the website every single day during the allotted time frame, which was decided by the municipal body of the city you reside in via twitter. This was an exercise of how lucky once can be to get a vaccine slot. Since the centres had the capacity of between 500 to 1000 slots each day, contrast that with a population of 12.5 million people in the city of Mumbai. People started calling it a lottery because that is exactly how you felt like, the only difference being… you had work for it.

It was a game of pure determination, high alertness and fastest finger first. Why you might wonder because by the time you try and book yourself a slot, within 5-7 seconds the centre would be completely booked. And then you try it all over again the next evening. I am not getting into the mechanics of it, let’s leave that for another day. But I won the lottery on the 10th of May and got my shot on the 11th.

Both my wife and I were up by 7am, since we got the 9am to 11am slot. We were told to have a heavy breakfast, it was a mandate. Once again, fortunately we got a centre that was just 4kms away from our home so traveling was not an issue. We reached half an hour before and as per the stories and experiences we had read, it was very well organised.

We had to wait in line for 45 mins and after that it was just a breeze. By the time we registered at the counter, within 10 mins we got our shot. After that we had to be under observation for 30 mins, in case we had a reaction to the vaccine Thankfully we didn’t. The entire ordeal was completed within two hours and we were back in time for our daughter’s school and work.

Post getting the shot we did experience some uneasiness. Surprisingly, we didn’t break out into a fever like many others who reported it on social media, but in any case we were prepared for it. Be ready for your arm to hurt like hell because both the wife and I experienced that. I also got a severe headache and backache the next day. All in all it took a week for us to get back to normal (which is why I am writing this today, 17th May). Now I am looking forward to my second dose which will happen between 12th and 22nd June. Fingers Crossed.

Episode 76 – Entrepreneur Parent – Tammy Vinokur – Treatz Plz

This week the Pops duo continue with their focus on women entrepreneurs as part of Mother’s Day special.

In Part 1 last week, they spoke to Pooja Goyal, a serial entrepreneur and current COO of Avishkaar a platform for children where they are introduced to the concepts of robotics. Do check out that episode if you haven’t already.

One trend that came up in the chat with Pooja Goyal, was that of women starting businesses at home during the pandemic in the past year.

One such story Nadir Pop and Peter Pop came across in Forbes was of Tammy Vinokur, a high school teacher from Toronto, Canada. Sher along with her 2 daughters started Treatz Plz in September last year. Treatz plz sells candy boxes and candy platters with everyone’s favourite chocolates and candy.

At the end of the day, anyone can take candy and just throw it into a box, but we got two things right. One, this is hard to find candy that we got our hands on. The second thing is we marketed hard.

Some of the highlights from that chat are :-

  • Starting the business during the lockdown.
  • Their best selling product, the Tik Tok candy box and how her daughter Zoey came up with the idea for it.
  • Prioritizing school work, social life and the business in the lives of her daughters.
  • The lessons she has learnt from her daughters.
  • Some of the challenges they have faced running a business from home.
  • New products from Treatz Plz.

If you have an interesting story or know of someone with an interesting story then please reach out to us at popsinapod@gmail.com

Follow the Pops on our social media handles below for more updates.

Ep 75 – Women in Tech – Pooja Goyal

Come May every year like clockwork social media will be abuzz with posts about Mother’s Day. The typical communication ranging from glorifying mother’s as the “great life-giving beings in one’s lives” and guilting about how one cannot forget all the hardships that a mother has gone through to protect and provide.

This happens for one day every year and then everyone forgets about it and moves on with their life. Mothers, in fact, parents are there for their kids EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Nadir Pop and Peter Pop know this as they have spoken to mothers from all walks of life over the past year. Last year they shared lessons they learnt from their mothers. This year over two weeks, they feature with two mothers who also happen to successfully run their own businesses.

For the first part of this mini-series they have invited a serial entrepreneur Pooja Goyal.

Currently Pooja is the Co-founder and COO of Avishkaar, a robotics and coding education company. An engineer from IIT Delhi, during her studies she soon realised that her interest lies in the process of creating something from scratch rather than in machines, which led her to be a serial entrepreneur and an educator. Her last venture Intellitots Learning was acquired in Dec 2017. Pooja has worked in the USA, Europe and India.

Pooja spoke to the Pop duo about her innate desire to build things and how she got attracted to technology. A person who during her educational endeavours had never heard of the premier Indian institute – IIT and yet she found herself enrolled in IIT-Delhi. Very fascinating story which everyone must hear on the podcast

We spoke to Pooja about a number of interesting topics:
1. Women in tech
2. Building new technology
3. Dealing with failure
4. Challenges while starting up
5. Growing interest in tech among girls
6. Opportunities and support for women entrepreneurs
7. Insights gained in the past year from interacting with women entrepreneurs
8. Ways that women can build a tribe of like-minded people

The whole world is slowly and eventually embracing tech. Our children’s future is going to look wildly different from ours. And it behooves us, as parents, to introduce them to as many new possibilities as needed, so they can choose a path of their liking.

If you have an interesting story or know of someone with an interesting story then please reach out to us at popsinapod@gmail.com

Follow the Pops on our social media handles below for more updates.

Episode 74 – Mental Health during Lockdown Pt. 3

TW: This episode features anxiety and depression. Listener discretion is advised.

Nadir Pop and Peter Pop are currently in lockdown again in Mumbai with the recent rise in the number of Covid19 cases.

Last year they spoke to 2 mental health professionals about dealing with the lockdown as parents and also kids. It is different this time around as there are shortages of medicines and oxygen across the country, this is further amplified by social media.

On this episode, they are joined by another mental health professional to discuss dealing with the lockdown this time around.

Prachi Vaish is a Clinical Psychologist & Psychotherapist, Certified Clinical Trauma Specialist and Founder of Emotional Wellness Initiatives. She is also a mom to a 12 year old boy, love to bake as therapy, a voracious reader and a puzzle enthusiast!

Highlights from the chat are :-

  • The rise in interest and awareness in mental health in the past year.
  • Dealing with the fear and anxiety around Covid19
  • Managing emotions while friends and family contract Covid19
  • The impact of social media on mental health during the lockdown
  • Ways to deal with mental health during the lockdown

How are you and your family coping with the 2nd wave of Covid19 in India and also the lockdown? You can reach out to us at popsinapod@gmail.com

Follow the Pops on our social media handles below for more updates.

The views expressed on this episode are of an expert, it is not a substitute for medical advice. Listeners are encouraged to seek medical advice before taking up any new treatment. Please seek professional medical advice.

Books Recommendations – World Book Day 2021

Photo by Huỳnh Đạt from Pexels

It is an understatement that books play an important in our lives. In current time, when we are all cooped up in our homes within the four walls, books offer a window, to escape the monotony of everyday life and people tend to forget the importance of READING.

Nadir Pop started reading really late, he was probably around 17-18 when he completed his first novel and after that he was hooked. He admits that he started reading books that were probably not age appropriate. So he has taken it upon himself to re-read all the books during this long lockdown that deserve to be read again.

Books (physical or digital) indulge your mind. Reading is an active undertaking and it empowers us to mingle with our feelings and emotions, eventually sparking imagination. Reading allows us to build non-existing worlds, fantastical concepts, heroes, utopias, a scary universe… a place you can call your own, your go-to place, your impregnable castle in the sky

Nadir Pop

Peter Pop on the other hand started reading at a young age and was a regular visitor to his school library. His highlight during summer vacations was a visit to the bookstore at the railway station or airport where he would look for a book he had not yet read. A routine that he follows till date.

Nadir Pop and his wife started reading to their daughter when she was only 3 months old. All those picture books made her happy and all giggly. Now at 4.5 years, Z cannot sleep without having being read to. They will continue to cultivate this habit and graduate to age appropriate books as and when required. Not that they will force it onto her but they will consider it a personal failure if she doesn’t take up to reading. But the chances of that happening are very low, because Nadir and the wife will always be found with books, and you know what they say “Monkey see, money do (read in this case)”.

L, Peter Pop’s son has slowly developed an interest in books. As he has grown older, his collection of books has grown thanks to his grandparents and extended family. His favourite book as a toddler was the one with dinosaurs, this might change in the coming months as he starts school and learns to read. Peter Pop is looking forward to their next family trip when he can take his son to the book store and buy a book for him.

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya from Pexels

Here are 5 books that Nadir Pop recommends in no particular order:

  • Emphyrio by Jack Vance – Halma, a world where humans were ruled by a race of effete and arrogant lords; where a neo-feudal system banned all work by machines; where a mock welfare state rewarded painful hand labor with a pitiful dole.Nadir is a huge Sci-fi fan and this was one of those books that really got him thinking from multiple standpoints – Future of work, political systems, freedom, class divide and parental relationships.
  • WATCHMEN by Alan Moore – This Hugo Award-winning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin. Nadir is a sucker for graphic novels, a go to favourite for any situation. In a day and age when we are looking out for real heroes.
  • ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell – A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Everyone should read this book, no it’s not a children’s book. It is an out and out political story, wonderfully crafted using a farm as the powerful metaphor.
  • The Simoqin Prophecies by Samit Basu – The favourite Indian anthology Nadir has read and re-read again and again. It’s a lovely mish mash of fantastical characters that plant themselves so solidly in your psyche, makes it difficult to forget them. Nadir would love to see someone take this to the big screen and hope they don’t mess it up.
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari – A powerful book and a favourite for a lot of people. There are so many things that we can learn from the past and tweak our future. Knowledge and information is wealth and Nadir knows that this book drove him to keep gaining knowledge on humanity and the world.

Here are 5 books that Peter Pop recommends in no particular order:

  • What the ladybird heard next by Julia Donaldson – The author created the iconic character the Gruffalo, and also has this series “What The Ladybird Heard”. In this particular book centers around farm animals trying to prevent bandits from stealing the hen’s eggs. Peter Pop’s son loves turning the pages and identifying the different animals, and often makes the animal noises too.
  • Guess How Much I Love You By Sam McBratney – This book gave us the immortal phrase – “I love you right up to the moon and back”. The gorgeous watercolor illustrations by Anita Jeram add to the charm of the book. There are different editions of the book, this one centers around winter and the festive season. It helps explain to little tots the relationship and love between a parent and child and how they quantify their love. A book that Peter Pop and his wife will always cherish reading to their son.
  • The Shape of me and other stuff by Dr. Seuss – The first Dr. Seuss book that Peter Pop and his wife bought for L. It has plenty of rhyming words which is great for his age. It also helps identify different shapes and sizes – from body parts to animals and ordinary objects. Perfect for little readers!
  • Blink by Malcom Gladwell – Peter Pop was introduced to the work of Canadian journalist Malcom Gladwell and completely fascinated by his way of looking at the world. This book “examines the unconscious processes that allow the mind to “thin slice” reality”. A must read for those interested understanding the human mind.
  • Rockistan by Tayyab Khalil This list would not be complete without a book on music. Growing up listening to rock bands from across the border in Pakistan like Entity Paradigm, Fuzon and others, Peter Pop enjoyed reading the stories behind the bands. It helps him see their music in a completely different light. The book is an account of creating art in one of the most turbulent societies in the world.

What are some of your favourite books? Let us know via email – popsinapod(at)gmail.com Follow the Pops on social media below

Episode 73 – Challenging Gender Stereotypes – Rajat Mittal

This Friday, 23rd April is World Book Day, we’ve done a few episodes on books earlier, we spoke to Pratha Shetty, author of When I Grow up, book was a part of our engaging kids series and also The Little Prince. This time around Nadir Pop & Peter Pop decided to speak to another author, Rajat Mittal.

Rajat Mittal is an engineer turned creative & author. He has co-authored three books for young women, namely Menstrupedia: Friendly guide to healthy periods, and two editions of She Can You Can: The A-Z Book of Iconic Indian Women. Earlier this year he started a monthly newsletter called Boyish. It discusses how gender stereotypes affect boys in India and telling inspirational stories of Indian men who defied these stereotypes. He is a loving dad to his two-year-old son.

Highlights from the chat are:

  • Rajat’s early years growing up in India.
  • Becoming a part of the team behind Menstrupedia and his experience working on the project
  • Becoming a parent and the launch of Boyish
  • The role of media in perpetuating gender biases
  • The future of Boyish

Stay tuned for more on the topics of books this week.

How are you and your family coping with the 2nd wave of Covid19 in India and also the lockdown? You can reach out to us at popsinapod@gmail.com

Follow the Pops on our social media handles below for more updates.

Episode 72 – Learning with Kutuki – Sneha Sundaram

Kutuki  is a kids learning app that teaches students through their proprietary stories and songs-based curriculum. Founded by the duo of  Sneha Sundaram and Bharath Bevinahally, the couple have combined their love for the creative arts with teaching. They won the AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge last year

Sneha Sundaram shares with the Pop duo the journey of Kutuki so far.

Kutuki is a play on the word kautuka, meaning “the curious one” in Sanskrit. We really wanted to create a word that is Indian. That’s very rhythmic, playful and something that kids, just sort of roll off the tongue when trying to say it.

– Said Sneha about the name

Highlights from the chat are :-

  • Sneha and Bharath origins as trained musicians
  • Working among pre primary school students and identifying a gap
  • The time spent in research before starting Kutuki
  • The process of creating the stories and songs
  • Their plans for the future.

Are you children/students using an interesting learning aids or app, do share it with us at popsinapod@gmail.com

Follow the Pops on our social media handles below for more updates.

Episode 71 – Parenting in Crazy Rich Asians

In the new episode of “Parenting in Films“, Nadir Pop & Peter Pop watched Crazy Rich Asians.

The movie features Constance Wu as Rachel Chu, an Economics professor and Henry Goulding as Nick Young, a couple living in New York. They take a trip to Nick’s childhood friend’s wedding and also to meet his family. The rest of the movie is nothing short of a Bollywood masala.

Tune in to find out what the Pop duo thought about the parenting characters in the movie.

The parenting characters that Nadir Pop and Peter Pop discuss are 

  • Nick’s cousin Astrid and her husband Micheal 
  • Rachel Chu’s friend Peik Lin’s parents – Wye Mun and Neenah
  • Nick’s mother – Elenor Young
  • Rachel’s mother – Kerry Chu

The movie has strong matriarch characters which reminded the Pop duo of 80s and 90s Indian dramas.

There is a clear distinction in the characters of Elenor Young and Kerry Chu. Elenor Young sacrificed her ambitions to be a lawyer to support husband to run the family business whereas Kerry Chu is a self made woman and single Parent.

There is a strong thread of identity through the movie, of being Chinese Vs American Chinese. The passing on of traditions is another recurring factor, evident in the family scenes.

Our Indian listeners and readers will be able to relate strongly to the characters in this movie.

Those who enjoyed this movie will be glad to know that two sequels to this movie based on the books are currently in production so stay tuned.

If you have watched an interesting movie recently, do share it with us at popsinapod@gmail.com

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Image courtesy: Warner Bros.

Episode 70 – The Lockdown: A Year Later

On 23 March 2020, India went into lockdown. Initially for 21 days, the lockdown continued for over 3 months. Described by many as one of the harshest lockdowns in the world.

A year later, Nadir Pop & Peter Pop look back and discuss their learnings as parents and also individuals.

Some of the highlights from the chat are :-

  • Rise of virtual Meetings and also recording on Zoom
  • Disruption of Sleep
  • Impact of the lockdown on Parenting
  • Online schooling

Listen to the Quarantine Catch up episodes from last year below

How did you manage during the lockdown? Let us know, write to us at popsinapod@gmail.com

Follow the Pop duo on social media below