W for 5Ws and 1H

During one of our classes in B-school, I was introduced to the concept of 5Ws and 1H. While creating a blue draft of an entrepreneurial idea, we had to come up with a solution to the questions related to why, when, where, who, what and how. I was so fascinated by this streamlined process of questioning that any conversation related to the most inane of things had me asking queries in the format of 5W and 1H.

For instance, when the college canteen had managed to churn out yet another bland meal on yet another regular day, I walked up to the canteen manager and thought of bringing a direction to my pattern of questioning. So I asked,

“Who prepared this food?”

“Why is the canteen food always tasteless?”

“When was the last time that you served a meal that didn’t deserve to be trashed?”

“What will make you feel that it is essential to serve an edible meal?”

“Where do you see yourself next year, if the quality doesn’t improve and we refuse to let the management renew your contract?”

“How many more complaints do you need to take an action?”

The man was too stunned to even consider a reply. Before I could unleash another layer of 5W and 1H on him, my friends had dragged me away from the canteen. Needless to say, the canteen served an equally bland meal the next day. Just that the man at the counter went missing after spotting me entering the canteen.

This went on for a few more days before I found my next subject of interest in the form of SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis. Life eventually moved on from those classrooms to office boardrooms. The questions turned more relevant and job oriented.

It was only after Tuneer started talking that I was reminded of 5W and 1H once again. From blabbering gibberish to uttering first monosyllables and then broken sentences, the boy picked up communication very fast. Like I have mentioned in one of my previous posts, this verbose nature was reserved only for the house. For the world outside these four walls, he was a very shy and quiet child.

Where is the counter serving pooris?
Where is my plate of pooris?

Once he started preschool, he developed the skill to seek answers to satisfy his curiosity. I have always believed that a child deserves to get a proper answer to all his questions and in words befitting his age. I had long decided not to give him any irrelevant answer or mention fairy tales as a solution to his questions. I had also told my family members that we needed to encourage Tuneer to ask more questions since he was at the stage where his curiosity was developing and it was essential that he knew only the right facts.

All the above ideas seemed quite good and I ensured that they were executed with thorough precision. Every time Tuneer asked a question, I engaged in a detailed discussion with him. This went on quite well until he started understanding a little more about his surroundings. Because of his keen observant nature and natural curiosity towards every possible item, suddenly the conversations started revolving around,

“What is this?”

“Why is sky blue?”

“Why can’t I eat more chocolates?”

“Who ate my sweet?”

“When can I play?”

“Where are you going?”

“How does one sleep?”

And that was just the beginning of such deadly non-stop questioning sessions.

Why do I need to take out a pencil?
Why do I need to draw standing lines?

As he started developing a love for reading (something that makes me feel really happy), especially the series of Peppa Pig books, the questions were focussed on,

“Why does Peppa jump in muddy puddles? Why don’t you allow me to do that?”

“Why is Peppa a pig and Suzy a sheep?”

“Who is Emily Elephant’s mother?”

It always ended with the conclusion, “Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig are the best. They allow Peppa and Geroge to splash water, jump in muddy puddles and eat chocolate cake.” Sr. T was still good in his books though I had slipped many positions in front of the amazing pig parents.  

When we started preparing Tuneer for the admission interview sessions, he wasn’t very happy about this sudden change in the routine where he was encouraged to use familiar English words or answer questions. Until then, he was confident that asking questions was strictly his domain of expertise while we were labeled as ‘answer vending machines’. Very soon, these questions started flying back at me,

“Why do I need to give an answer in the interview?”

“Why should I speak in English?”

“Who is Sonia? Your name is Mummum only.”

“What is your grandfather’s name?” (and then proceeded to know all the names of my ancestors)

“How can red be your favorite color when mine is pink?”

“When will the interviewer aunty give me chocolates?” (this was asked even in the middle of an interview)

“Where does Samarjit (friend) live? Where does Nivedita (best friend) stay?” (in response to the question on his place of stay?)

When will you give me the chocolate?
When will you give me the chocolate?

This questioning and cross-questioning went on until I ran out of patience and started yelling at him for his lack of interest in learning anything new. Whenever Tuneer received a scolding from me, he knew that the only way to get even was by getting one of his grandparents involved in this. He had tried the trick by involving his father a couple of times but the results didn’t quite match up to his expectations. So, he located one of his grandfathers (the preferred choice) or his grandmother and started crying on top of his voice. As expected, the grandparent rushed towards their favorite grandchild only to be told that the mother had chided him for not answering her questions right. And then he waited patiently as I received an earful on how raising a child required a lot of tolerance and patience. 

We survived the six-month interview duration following a similar pattern. His ever-increasing number of questions drew out the last bit of energy from me. Amidst all these developments, my only concern was about the boy considering it his duty to question the interviewer as well. By then, it had become a part of my daily ritual to convince him about speaking during the interview in an audible voice. I decided to next plead with him about not bombarding the interviewer with his queries in return. He agreed to this deal in exchange for continued replies to some extra questions directed towards me (related to Peppa Pig, the relation between kids and schools, tasty food specially poori and chocolates and my family tree).

Who is behaving like a child now clicking selfies?
Who is behaving like a child now while clicking selfies?

I am just glad that the admission process is over now. His areas of interest seem to be making a shift towards his new school, new class teacher, slide projectors, security guards in the school, the colorful pool car and a daily repeat of poori in Tiffin. He seems to be observing all the new developments closely while letting a wave of queries build up in his mind. I have started dreading that day when it starts flowing out in the form of, “Tell me why”. I can see my future reactions to those endless questions in the form of exasperated sighs as I let out “Oh God, why me!” just like my mother did when I followed her around the house relentlessly with my sets of 5Ws and 1H three decades ago.

I hope you had a grin on your face while reading this post just as I kept smiling while writing it. I will be back with my twenty-fourth post on ‘X’ tomorrow. You can catch up on all my previous posts in this series here

Author: Sonia Chatterjee

Who am I? An Ex-Banker turned Blogger/Writer/Solopreneur. Any qualifications? A Postgraduate degree in Chemistry followed by Post Graduate Diploma in Management. I am still trying to figure out how and when I can connect all these dots to what I do presently. Have I done any real work? If two years in Market Research and six years in Banking (three different Banks though) as Branch Head can be considered as real work. Where do I live? After a nomadic sixteen years in Delhi, Bangalore & Mysore, I am back to where it all started from - Kolkata. My favorite things - Food, travel, books and my three and half-year-old toddler son What is this blog about? Sonia's musings is an attempt to channelize emotions through words and pictures hoping they touch a chord with my visitors.

34 thoughts on “W for 5Ws and 1H”

  1. Reminded me of myself when I was a kid… I used to be so inquisitive about everything… if it helps, then came a silent phase where I read a lot and learned things for myself instead of asking too many questions 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ha ha I know its hard to handle kids questions and curiosity all the time and it is the time that tests our parental patience. and I believe this is the starting of the new phase of kids life where they explore life in their own way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hehe Not a grin. I laughed out loud at many places. One I was imagining the poor canteen guy when you assaulted him with 5W and 1H and then Tuneer’s incessant question driving you up the wall. 🙂 I do use SWOT pretty regularly even now especially when we are stuck on a decision. But kids and their questions are incessant. Wait for the really sticky ones to come your way once Tuneer is older. 🙂 I am sure you will do a fabulous job though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fascinating! This is a very powerful quest Sonia, the 5W and 1H. Reminds me of a quote – if you really know why you are doing something, the HOW will appear. The HOW is much easier compared to they WHY. It is quite impressive how this construct can keep the inquisitive spirit growing. A very powerful methodology 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So cute… loved reading it.. Wait for the day Sonia when the kiddo wd start asking questions with an intention to check whether you know the answer or not…
    And the next stage will be when “you won’t know the answers to his questions”
    But that stage is quite nice. I end up telling this my elder one so many times & at the end, I just have a smile in my heart about the fact that her habit of reading has really added so much value to her knowledge and intellect.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Implementation of knowledge in real life is very much necessary and you did it in your college, though seems funny but you will never forget that. Encouraging Tuneer to ask more questions and going for the details is one of the wisest decisions to bring up a child with proper education and philosophy. Good to go through the questions of Tuneer, sometime kids ask the questions full of common sense and it really become hard to carry on the question-answer flow. i specially loved his question “Why should i speak in English?”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sonia, now I am really fan of your story telling, sharing real life incidents in such a humourous way, only you have that art. Motherhood has really taught me one thing to have patience immensely. From the time they get up until they hit the bed.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Not a grin, I have a wide smile on my face while reading your post 🙂 I enjoyed reading it, Right from your encounter with the Canteen guy applying all the 5W and 1h to SWOT analysis, reminded me of the question we were prepared in our MBA times,specially the most famous W, where do you want to see yourself in next five years?
    and the question bombarding season has just begun mama, just wait 🙂 My daughter’s name is Ishaanvi Nair and I call her “Questionnaire” hahaha and I also agree with your thoughts that we must try to give valid answers to our kids and not indulge into stories. Great one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh! you reminded me of MBA days. You applied this on the canteen guy…hahaha.
    As I have said in my previous comment – Tuneer is a smart kid. It is good that you try to answer most of his queries with valid facts rather than dismissing him. I believe in the same thing. Kids have loads of energy and compared to them we have less, I agree that it must be requiring a lot of patience from your end. Don’t worry – you are doing a great job as his mother! Enjoyed your post. Great pics as well.
    Read my W post here Wonderful Woes

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tuneer is a questionnaire boy, just like my son. Hugs to you, Sonia. Same as you, I always tried to give my son appropriate answers for his questions and encouraged him to ask as many as he wanted. Alas, it isn’t funny when they manage to think of more questions before we can find suitable answers for the backlog.
    I was smiling through this post. I am not alone. Feels good. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. World is a full circle, what goes by comes back… My mum alsways used to say your kids will bother you more than you bother me. Then you will know…and her curse has come yrue completely. No matter how much patience I try to keep in answering every question under the sky, kids make sure they test it all the times

    Liked by 1 person

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