Tag Archives: practical

Mango king and pineapple queen

Last week was a friend’s birthday and it’s almost an annual ceremony with us to call each other up on our birthdays to yak. I lived up to tradition and we caught up on gossip – starting from our eccentric college professors to our kids growing up faster than necessary.

She, being a teacher, had much to tell me about adolescent behaviour these days. Kids have no respect and no fear for anything she insists. Their callous attitude is fuelled by the guilt of their working parents – who believe that their child can do no wrong. The teachers get yelled at by the parents for no fault of theirs. What’s more with this new grading system, she says, discipline has gone completely awry. The average students get away with high grades because they score more in sports and other extra curricular. They don’t even care to submit their projects on time anymore. And then the ‘good’, hardworking students get lower grades because they can’t seem to do anything other than mugging lessons. My cynical views of course did not go down well with her.

This new system requires a complete change in mindset of parents, teachers and students. Thanks to our current very academic based system – we have stopped giving importance to arts. I salute Mr. Kapil Sibal who has been bold enough to make these changes and face a lot of flak! But this hopefully will mark a positive change in our education system. Children are not mugging machines – rather they are individuals with several hidden talents. If the education system does not help them unearth these talents – then what will?

Bad enough our children grow up ahead of times these days thanks to all the exposure. I feel if we curb their natural skills then they will become muddle headed idiots. While they feel like singing and dancing their momma’s are sending them off to tuition classes. They get no playtime. No avenues to expend their energy. They start functioning like robots. They become mugging machines. But they are capable of so much more.

My friend does not agree.

She feels Indians shine abroad because they are so knowledgeable. I feel Indians are only capable of doing mechanical work that simply requires them to follow an established procedure. No wonder we are thriving in the IT industry. But where are Indians when it comes to sports and performing arts? We do not seem to excel in anything that requires physical application, imagination and creative manipulation.

It’s incredible how imaginative and creative kids are… Shoes worn wrong look like butterflies on the feet (ha… ha… bet you never thought of it that way!). Rainbows happen when God blows his nose after shedding tears of joy. (Ok this one’s a little gross – but think about it phlegm is coloured!)

I have great hope in today’s little iPod generation. They are way too smart. Ten steps ahead of us. Way too perceptive and mature beyond their years. Just the other day my six year old and I were discussing fruits. We said Mango the king needs a queen. We kept thinking of a suitable queen – I suggested pineapple as she has a crown. “No mom,” says my little one, “but she is so thorny. Then the king will never be able to hug her.” Err… point taken!

I hope this generation of smart, imaginative, perceptive kids…save the day.

The choices that life throws open

I can’t remember the last time I was so moved by a movie that it made me cry.  Yes, I did for this one. And no. I’m not ashamed about it. At the end of the movie, while I discreetly wiped my tears and sniffed – I wondered what it was that had made me cry. Certainly not the tedious, melodramatic, oh-so Bollywood, climax! I mulled over it for a day. I think I now know why.

For the uninitiated – the movie is Paa – in which Amitabh Bachan plays a 12 year old boy named Auro. The boy suffers from a rare disease called Progeria which causes the body to age 5 times faster. So a 12 year old boy will have the body of a 60-70 year old person. The brain however is that of a little child.

I must pause to credit the director. At no point in the movie are you made to feel sorry for Auro. He is treated like any normal 12-year old. His mom (played by Vidhya Balan) treats him like a friend and does not overly fuss over him because he is a special child. No melodrama there. Thank the lord… ah…no the director.

Well, the story goes this way. Abhishek Bachan (AB) and Vidhya Balan (VB) meet each other as students in Cambridge. They fall in love and the inevitable happens…VB ends up getting pregnant. Now the classic debate for AB. Should he do the right thing and marry her. Or should he run after his dreams of being Politician. He prefers to chase his dreams.

VB deals with the same issue – she is studying to be a doctor and is keen to complete it. She also worries about being socially accepted as an unwed mother. What must she do?

The most astounding chemistry in the movie is that of VB and her mother – played by Arundhati Naag. The mother convinces VB that she must do what she really feels is right. So VB bids adieu to AB and tells him that it’s all taken care of. And they part ways.

VB goes ahead and has the child. Auro is born. (Not short for Aurobindo. Just Auro – he assures you towards the climax).

There are amazing moments in the movie…how the mother and daughter duo handle the boy’s disappointment…or when VB is with Auro in the park and someone asks her what is wrong with her son…

Ah yes the script is impeccable. The characters have been etched out wonderfully. I particularly loved VB, her mother and AB. Auro is shown as an intelligent and sensitive child. So you’ll want to ignore his moments of impertinence.

What touched me in this movie was the classic, heart rending debate between what you want to do and what is ‘expected’ of you. Do you chase a dream or do you abide by social norms? The practical or the emotional. How do you make that choice? How do you judge at that moment what is right – when that decision could alter your life? You have no clue at that point about what life will throw at you. So you need to decide and then you need to have the courage and strength of mind abide by it – come what may! Life is tough, huh This I guess is what made me cry.

Aside: M came for this movie with me. Before entering I told her the story and reassured her its just a movie and everyone is just acting – so no need to feel sad or cry. She happily sat through it. Then when she saw me sniffing she rolled her eyes and said “mom it’s just a movie!”