When I Grow up: Living up to the Checklist of my Younger Self!

I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. But I always knew the kind of person I wanted to be. I had this image of myself, all grown up and I had a checklist which went with it. This checklist, was my understanding of happiness and success.

Prionka’s Checklist for Happiness & Success (Age: 12)

1) Coloured Stationary: I wanted to be surrounded by colours. I wasn’t very artsy ever, but I loved the aesthetics of it all. So I hoped to have coloured pens and stationary in my bag, regardless of my profession.

2) Big Bag: I knew I would be attached to small and big things. This logically meant I would need big bags.

3) Indoor Plants: As a child, I didn’t understand the power of nature, but I had grown up with indoor plants. They made me happy. I wanted the same in my house.

4) Writing a Book: My mind was full of make-believe stories and fictional characters. I wanted to bring them out someday, even if it meant scribbling on few pages and stapling them together.

5) Travel to a historical place: I wanted to see castles and palaces, and I wanted to marvel at the stories of kings and queens. I wasn’t sure if travelling would be affordable, so I did explore the idea of becoming an air hostess for a while.

6) Give a Speech: I was a shy kid, who couldn’t speak up loud enough for even the teachers to hear in the class. But I dreamt big. I dreamt of being the person who could give extempores, speeches and just own the microphone moments.

7) Wear Danglers: I had a role model. She was older, prettier and smarter. And she wore danglers, those long silver ear-rings. I wanted to wear them too but mom won’t allow me. So, I decided to own my own danglers as an adult, and wear them all the time.

8) Cushions: Cushions were coveted. I wanted them, and I wanted them in all colours.

9) Popular: I wanted to be popular and I wanted to be loved. The only gauge of this was to die and to see (as a floating soul) how many people were genuinely sad. Yeah, I was morbid!

So, I am a grown up now (on most days). And I have decided to see if I am as happy and successful as I wanted to be.

Prionka’s Current Reality Check 

Coloured Stationary: I have it all. Coloured pens, coloured pencils, sticky-notes in 3 colours, coloured paper etc.

 Big Bags: Yup! Bottomless tote bags in different colours.

 Indoor Plants: Yes. Money plants are a favourite. They barely need care.

 Writing a Book: I did manage to write, and I didn’t have to staple the pages. The kind publishers did it for me. Sia was published in 2012.

 Travel to a Historical place: I have seen palaces in Rajasthan, Scotland, England, France and Luxembourg. I did not get to be the air hostess though 😦

 Give a Speech: I did manage to have many microphone moments. (Confession: Each time my voice carries in to a hall, I get startled and alarmed, but I carry on nevertheless).

✓ Wear Danglers: I own them, and I wear them (not always). I haven’t seen my role-model in many years now, so I don’t know if she wears them anymore. But, I do hear that she is unwell. Each time I wear my danglers, I think of her and wish her well.

 Cushions: Big and small and in many colours.

? Popular & loved: Yet to know this one. Do cry if I die please. Remember the floating soul might be watching to see if she ticked off the checklist.


All the important things seem to be in place. I think I am doing okay.


Be The Change 2018

Work and life have provided me with opportunities to witness the incredible potential of the young, and yet each time I come across a new opportunity, I am amazed to witness it all over again. I find myself drawn to the incredible potential of the human spirit and to the contagious enthusiasm that people display, especially when inspired. And so for the 6thconsecutive year, I cancelled every other appointment, and rushed to be part of Design For Change, Singapore’s Be The Change Celebration (BTC). This event was held on the sunny morning of 12thNovember 2018.

For those who haven’t heard of it before, DESIGN FOR CHANGE is the largest global movement that gives the children opportunity of expressing their ideas for a better world. Oh, and they don’t stop at just expressing their ideas, they put it in to action too. This global movement has inspired thousands of children to discover that change is possible and that they can lead and inspire this change themselves.

BTC 2018 was held at an auditorium at the SMU campus. As I stood at the bottom of this auditorium, I witnessed the beaming faces of students from 26 schools.  In them I saw the future and I am glad to say that the future looks to be in good hands. I also saw the caretakers of this future, the teachers and the parents who were proud to have accompanied these young change makers.

D8498A9F-B84B-434B-8852-5643D4A65598As the emcees cheerfully navigated us through the programme, the enthusiastic crowd chanted encouragements, played interactive games, joined the flash dance and some of them confidently marched up on the stage to receive awards.


It was celebratory indeed! These students from various schools in Singapore had followed the Design Thinking process to make a difference to the world around them. Overall, 17 schools presented their projects.

Though every attempt needs applause and every child is a hero, here are few of the projects that were chosen by the jury.

School                                                                             Project

South View Primary School Making A Difference with the SPCA
Holy Innocents Primary School Stars in Action (Project Smile to Children’s Home)
Yio Chu Kang Primary School Blind spot
Global Indian International School Beat Plastic Pollution
Keming Primary School See Well & Don’t Fall
ANDERSON SECONDARY SCHOOL Our Upcycling Project: “Transform trash to treasures”
WESTWOOD SECONDARY SCHOOL Virtual Reality: Balik Kampung Project (Back to Good Old Days)
WESTWOOD SECONDARY SCHOOL Eco Flowering Filtration Pot System
Overseas Family School Windows to education: Social Entrepreneurship project for underprivileged children in Nepal
Riverside Secondary School A Conversation with Migrant Workers
TANGLIN SECONDARY SCHOOL Tackling Gender Stereotyping in the Classroom

I was duly infected by the enthusiasm that was palpable in the auditorium that day. Many congratulations to DFC Founder, Madhu Verma and the team for another successful event! This incredible event shall return next year with the belief that we can be the change that we want to see in this world. This volunteer shall return too. Till then, keep believing in a better world!


Yours truly with Madhu Verma (Founder, DFC, Singapore & Founder, SoCh in Action)


It’s Art if it Touches Your Heart

Hello, it’s been a while. And I feel like asking how have you all been, knowing fully well that the answers are limited and the medium here, quite public. Yet, I ask.

How have I been, you ask (or so I assume), so let me tell you. I have been sitting here, watching the world, doing all sorts of wonderful things, learning, reaching out, and breathing in life. Living. Living well. I have filled my world with colours, and with things that I like. And each time, I find myself deflated, I gather few more beautiful things. It’s my kind of art if it touches my heart. Offering you all a glimpse of my kind of beautiful.

On a personal front, presenting my version of Hygge 

A flower presented to me, rather shyly by a 6-year-old, my work desk where I create, I design, I write, I imagine, and I learn (doing an online course that deals with colours currently), and the last one is a picture from a fashion house that I am consulting for. All in all, it’s my happy mix of colour palette.

Next, I would like to present to you, one of my favourite artists, Ziyue Chen. There’s just something so wonderfully warm in her work, that I keep coming back for more.


She can’t use her words, but art is heart, so just feel. Watch her here

And finally, let me introduce you to a special 2019 calendar by artist, Manas Arvind

Manas is a 17 year-old budding artist, who plays tennis, is a quiz enthusiast, and also the one who faces challenges typical to those who have Down’s Syndrome. Though painting is difficult for him (due to cognitive challenges that limit his ability to imagine or translate), he has mastered quite a few water- colour strokes with the help of his mother. This calendar (above) is a proof of his mother’s tenacity and his determination. Manas’ mom will be donating all profits from this calendar towards charity. Please pre-order now and pick the calendar (location: East Singapore) from Jan 1, 2019. This calendar can be mailed to you too (in Singapore). If you wish to support this initiative, contact +65 9617 8524 before 30 November. Please note: payment is by Pay lah! Price of calendar is $10. For local postal delivery, please add $3. 

If the art touched your heart, please support the artists.

Breathe. Feel. Live.



Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, I starred in the school play, called Cinderella. And that’s where the fairy tale ends. What happened next was part comic and part reality check (not the fancy, magical tale that I expected it to be).

So, this was at the time when I had messy hair, scrawny limbs and a pronounced slouch. But they said, that I could be this character. So, I felt immensely gorgeous (in my head). After all, who doesn’t want to be Cinderella at 15 going on 16! I certainly did! I was looking forward to the glass slipper, the ball, the gown, the prince, and the importance of being the princess, and that too in a school play!  However, it turned out slightly different to what I had imagined it to be. (See below)


For starters, it was a spoof, and a deliciously wicked one at that. But unfortunately, my starry-eyed younger self was dim-witted enough to have missed the intended satire entirely.  I felt lost. This particular Cinderella was supposed to be a scheming, conniving, opportunist, whose ultimate aim was to snatch the prince (in a wig), from another woman (her own lovely step-sister). Oh, the devious, devious Cindy!

Anyway, then came the second shock. We performed the play for the junior school, a day before the opening night. And these little righteous people were out and out indignant. Their faces fell when they saw the play. Part of it was probably my bad acting, but the other part was my deviousness. I was a wicked Cinderella! I had single-handedly maligned a good and beautiful character for them (perhaps forever). They just wouldn’t forgive me. “Bad Cinderella,” they taunted me as I walked down the corridors. This went on for many days. So, as you can see, this fancy idea of being Cinderella was not that fancy after all.

On the brighter side, I got to convert my mother’s beautiful orange and white chiffon in to a flowing skirt. I also got to borrow my friend’s billowy white blouse (which I adored), and I got to say that atrociously clichéd but sweet line, “Of course, I will marry you!”

The truth is that I enjoyed this bitter sweet, comic-tragic play. So much so, that I re-enacted it for my Trinity Guildhall Exam performance much later in life. The memory of that first fairy tale remains though. As an adult now, I look at the lessons learnt from that. Lesson 1 is that life turns out differently to what is expected. Lesson 2 is that people will judge you. I also learnt that I don’t need shoes, prince, and a ball, as much as I need a fairy god ma with a sympathetic ear. But to be on the safer side, I always return home before my carriage turns back into pumpkin.

macro photography of firecracker

Photo by Francis Seura on Pexels.com




Conversations with the Teens


As a facilitator and a mentor, I get to speak to the most interesting minds of all: the teens! Conversations with them are always interesting. Strangely though, they are guarded with those they love the most, however, that should not stop anyone from knowing what’s going on in their minds. Here’s a compilation of things that teens wish their parents would know about them.

Dear parents,

We want you to know that…

* Times have changed: You keep telling us  about what you did when you were our age, but everything is so different now. We just can’t relate to that. So, please don’t expect us to behave the way you did at our age. We have to move with the times.

* We need help to manage the stress and pressures in our lives, even if we show that we are very independent and capable. Do check in on us from time to time.

* Give us space to be ourselves. We do need help sometimes, but that does not mean that we need constant monitoring.

* Trust us and give us few responsibilities. We might fail at times, but we will try real hard to stand up to your expectations.

*  Even “good” kids act out every once in awhile. That does not mean that we have turned “bad” now.

* We need to unwind. Please allow us some personal time to do whatever we wish to, or to ‘do nothing’ if that’s how we unwind.

* We want you, our parents, to be proud of us and accept us for who we are. Please don’t compare us to others.

* We hate to see you fight. It shakes our faith and scares us a lot.

* We do care what you think of us. Even if our peers influence us, what you think of us, matter a great deal to us. Sometimes, even more than our friends (though we may not show this to you).

* Please understand that the internet plays an important and positive role in our lives. It’s not always a bad influence.

* We will make mistakes – but you can guide us through this.

* It’s hard to fit in with people and that’s why we act out sometimes.

* We have a lot going on at school, sometimes more than you realise.

* Sometimes we can’t express our feelings when we are hurt or upset, and that’s why we find ways to release our anxiety (sometimes in ways that you do not approve).

* We love you. We may pull away so that we can establish our own identity, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t love you.

(This is a teenspeak section. For mentoring enquires, contact sequelsingapore@gmail.com)