Friday, January 23, 2015

A WALKING STICK OR A CRUTCH?















Pic.: Ashok Ahuja


One of the scenes I loved the most in the Hindi movie – ‘Black’ was this: Mr. Sahai (Amitabh Bachchan) has, already, brought his deaf, dumb and blind student, Michelle, (Rani Mukherjee), this far… But, he can see her helplessness without him, her dependence on him… He knows, that she cannot, and should not, cling to him lifelong… that, he can’t be there around, always… So, he has brought something that can do away this clinging, this helplessness… It is a walking stick. When Michelle senses, by touching it, that her dear teacher wants her to walk with the help of a stick, she bursts out, angrily -  “No!”

Mr. Sahai is kind, yet, firm. “This will make you independent,” he tells sternly to Michelle, “and not dependent.”

There is so much depth in that scene, that, I keep talking about it to my students and their parents, whenever I feel, I should…

I did it today, once again…

Nupur* was my dear student some twenty-five years ago. She would, always, tell me, that she had been inspired by me and looked up to me. She would tell it, often, to her friends and family, including her sons. This morning, she was here with her elder son, Kush*, to enroll him for twelfth-standard.

The young-man wants to be a Chartered Accountant and, the mother knows that it is not just the aptitude, but it is, also, the attitude that would decide whether or not the dream is worth pursuing. As a committed and focused student herself, she knows how important it is for her son to be self-disciplined… do his work without being pushed and nagged all the time… She knows why her son should trust in his own potential, be curious and excited about his studies, trust in himself and take risks, be a self-starter…

So, when they were here in my office, Nupur kept reminding her son to be more and more on his own, even though he would join my class… And, I fully agreed with her…

Beta, a coaching class and a teacher like me can do more harm to you than good,” I told Kush, “unless you use us wisely.” I continued, “Somewhere along, you guys have been made to believe, that we are required for your success… It is a lie,” I emphasized, “You have been brain-washed with that lie… Trust me, we are not required; you are good enough.”

Often, I tell my students and parents, this: “If there is no childlike curiosity, which is the seat of creativity… and if there is no self-trust and risk-taking ability in a student, the education is no education at all… Let no coaching class or teacher rob you of it.” And, yes, today, I said that to Kush before he would enroll to be my student… I told him about the scene in ‘Black’… I told him why the teacher wanted his student to use the walking stick… and stop clinging, stop being helpless…

“Join me to be independent,” I reminded Kush, with my parting hug, “not dependent.”

He did not scream, “NO!!!!”


* Names changed


GERALD D’CUNHA




1 comment:

Girish Dhameja said...

Yes....being independent teaches us to fly, like how a sparrow teaches a sparrow kid to fly....