Monday, December 31, 2007

A Bit of Sky on Earth

Six years ago, I used to tutor a young Israeli boy whom I was very fond of. Dekel was color-blind, which meant he would never be able to join the Air Force of his country. But he'd made his peace with that. What he told me with a grin, but which broke my heart, was about getting ridiculed by his teacher when he colored a flower's petals green at the age of 4, all because he couldn't tell some colors apart.

I remembered all that when I watched Taare Zameen Par. Oh, I know everyone's talking about it. But I had to, too. I watched it with my mother, who is a school teacher and deals with some kids who had learning disorders/disabilities. And I can freely admit that I was wiping my tears a LOT of the time. The vulnerability of knowing one's failures but not understanding them; of being teased for them but being unable to rectify the problem; of being abandoned (as a disciplinary measure) by the very people who are your last hope - the little boy brought it out so well in a story so empathetically told that all my childhood experiences of enduring bullies and occasional teasing seemed trivial somehow.

And it made me realise what a difference a teacher can make, if he or she is so inclined. I learnt some great lessons as a student but I never faced these battles. Lucky me. I hope a movie like this prompts schools to encourage teachers' awareness and sensitise them towards detecting learning disabilities. Language and writing are tools, and mastering them is a crucial step in self-expression. Everyone deserves a chance.

4 comments:

The Weekend Blogger said...

This was one of the most sensitive movies I have watched in a long long time and I was crying like anything...the loneliness of being a misfit in a hostel really touched a chord.

Anyway, on a brighter note... HAPPY NEW YEAR to you.

eve's lungs said...

I liked it too - very sensitive film. And that child is a wonderful actor

dipali said...

Such a wonderful movie.
Parents and teachers- the most significant adults in a child's life often do the most damage.If only there was less ignorance and more awareness of the very special needs some children have.
I'm sure this film will make a difference to many teachers, parents and children.

sbora said...

I have to see this movie now. Everyone seems to be talking about it.

Happy New Year!

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.
My best friend lost her 7 year old daughter in 2006 to an undetected brain tumor. The world stopped for all of us. We are picking up the pieces slowly but the void she left is just too painful and deep.