So, what is an engineer-turned dancer-turned-author doing on YouTube?
Because kids need to grow up multicultural!
“OK Ajanta, this isn’t making any sense,” you say. But you see, this is exactly why I co-founded Culture Groove.
I grew up in India but my son was born in the US. I read books to him about India – it was easily available since we write them ourselves. I coaxed him with Indian folktales as I tried to make him eat one more bite of food. I invented games on rainy days that reminded me of my childhood days.
But you know what I couldn’t find? A way for him to continue the learning as he inevitably did the one thing that none of us want to admit our kids do – watch videos on a tablet.
O Oh, what is my child watching? The moment he found the treasure box of entertainment, there was no going back. Cartoon voices filled up the air intermixed with his giggles as he watched pups on rescue missions, form changing magic pets and the very “special” ones – people opening eggs and playing with their own toys.
I scoured the internet looking for videos about the Indian culture. They were either entirely in Hindi and my son didn’t understand the language that well yet. Or they were extremely religious, something that our family is not. I needed something that worked well for kids born outside of India. Something that they could relate to.
Can’t find it? Make your own! So just like coming up with our own flavor of Bollywood fitness, kids’ classes, and children’s books, we decided to make the videos ourselves and Culture Groove YouTube channel was born. Best part? I could make the videos with my son in them! As a parent, what could be more satisfying?
The dreaded Wheels on the Bus: We chose popular nursery rhymes as our platform because what do your kids relentlessly listen to so that even you start humming them in the shower? “Wheels on the bus” and the likes of it!
We wrote our own songs, came up with our own animations and dances and voila! you now have cultural education packaged in fun and made from scratch.
You should sell it: People advised to sell the content via some expensive subscription and we vehemently disagreed! Yes, it is putting a huge dent in our savings as we continue to spend hundreds of dollars on each video but education especially multicultural, should be easily accessible and not be cost-prohibitive.
What’s the dream: Why stop at Indian culture? Let’s teach the kids about the world! Our vision is that someday, Culture Groove will be a one-stop shop for kids to learn about many cultures around the world.
How you can help: Is your heart soaring imagining your child becoming a true global citizen who values diversity and wants to make the world a more tolerant place? Spread the word! It takes 30 seconds to share with your friends, family, your child’s school and so on. 30 seconds that you have now contributed to making diversity the norm and not an exception.
So yes, you will, in fact, see this ex-technologist, dancing and writing mama now on your child’s screen in hoping to teach kids about the cultures around the world and help Raise Multicultural Kids! Visit our YouTube Channel and join the celebration!
About CultureGroove Books
Maya & Neel’s India Adventure Series by Ajanta & Vivek takes kids to a journey across India as they experience festivals, cities, food, music, dance and everything else that makes the Indian culture so vibrant and joyful!
The series has 8 titles so far including festivals such as Diwali, Holi, Ramadan/Eid etc. regions such as Mumbai, Delhi and even one on Indian wedding! The books provide an in-depth view via fun and engaging content!
Ajanta & Vivek also teach fun multicultural content via their YouTube channel whose goal is to provide Cultural Screen Time and includes animations, dance-along videos, trip to Indian stores and more.
CultureGroove’s vibrant books include Let’s Celebrate Holi! (Maya & Neel’s India Adventure Series), Let’s Celebrate Ramadan & Eid! (Muslim Festival of Fasting & Sweets), Let’s Celebrate Navratri! (Nine Nights of Dancing & Fun) Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali! (Maya & Neel’s India Adventure Series), Let’s Visit Mumbai! (Maya & Neel’s India Adventure Series) Delhi and Taj Mahal and more!