Taare Zameen Par

Everyone’s going on and on about the brilliant film that’s TZP, and finally I saw it. Not once, twice. The first time I was consumed by the story and performance. The second time, the story continued to amuse me, but I was a little less involved in the film. So yeah, it was time to observe. The theatre was full of parents who had enthusiastically brought their kids along to watch this film about kids.

It scared me to see these older kids who could understand what was going on but yet did not have the sensibility to distance themselves from the plot. The truth is many may just start believing that they too have a dyslexia, they too may be like Ishaan Awasthi. I saw a risk of over-awareness there.

That risk aside, the awareness the film attempts to create is essential amongst parents and teachers and hence its a must watch. They will not only connect with the demons of their past (the drawing teacher who hit you on the knuckles) but will also realise how they themselves are creating problem children without realising it. My aunt always says, “There are no problem children. There are problem parents and problem teachers.”

This film justifies her statement. How many teachers make an attempt to understand why the child behaves in a certain manner? How many parents try to understand why their child is misbehaving before hitting them or punishing them?

We just see the kids’ behaviour and label them. What the kids need is a bit of understanding. In the entire rat race to get high percentages and admissions into the best colleges, we force these kids to forget the concept of childhood. We force them to grow up early and bury themselves in books.

We stop nurturing the feeling of sportsmanship which helps them deal with failure. I know for a fact that housing colonies that buzzed with the cackle of youngsters every evening less than half a decade ago, are silent now. Kids prefer lonesome computer games to the community based lagoris and pakda pakdis.

Worse still, some kids prefer not to play at all, because they want to finish at least 4 revisions of the portion before the first unit test.

We go on happy with the high marks assuming that every child must walk down that path, irrespective of whether or not the child wants to, until a film like TZP comes along. It opens your eyes and makes you realise that it is not the child who’s going wrong. It’s you, the parent or the teacher.

In fact, from personal experience I could say that one loves subjects that are taught by pleasant and caring teachers. And a strict or a violent teacher puts in a terror that makes you hate a subject.

I am glad my English teacher encouraged me to write more essays, I owe my existence, my identity to her. Even though my essays were mediocre she encouraged me to get better, appreciated my little steps towards getting better. She made me want to try harder.
At the same time, I wish my drawing teacher didn’t believe in humiliating me for drawing human beings that looked like crows (can’t forget the whole class giggling at my sketches that he held up). I wanted to be good at drawing but he made me believe that I never could be. It was not his place to do that to me or to any child.

I wish all schools have a Nikumbh, who splashes a bit of childhood into a mundane life weighed down by heavy bags, never ending homework and ever dreaded exams. I wish….

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