A couple of years ago, a young girl had joined our P.D. course. The girl was very confident and enthusiastic. Sometimes, her mother would come to see me and tell, “Sir, my daughter doesn’t’ need this course, but son (who was in 9th standard at that time) needs it badly.”

“Why can’t you bring him here, ma’am,” I would encourage the mother, “He has nothing to lose.”

“Sir, I have been trying to persuade him for so many years… He resents. I have tried all kinds of doctors, therapies and schools… But, his problem remains… The only thing that calms him down is his family – my husband, me and my daughter.”

When they had come to enroll their daughter for our P.D. course, this woman and her husband, strangely, did not discuss with me about their son who needed help… So, they ended up enrolling the daughter, who, as I said earlier, appeared confident and enthusiastic.” So, this time, after a month, when the woman spoke about her son, I asked, “Ma’am, why didn’t you and your husband discuss with me about your son, when you first came to see me a month ago?”

“It’s difficult to convince him, sir,” the mother said, “Perhaps, if you see him, you may understand what I am saying.”

I did not press further. But, I could empathize with the situation. A week later, when one of our sessions was in progress, I saw from my glass door this: the mother had managed to bring her son till our class. But, the boy was reluctant to take even a step further… I could see mother’s nudging, coaxing, caring, even forcing… I could feel how torn she was within… how anxious, wounded and frustrated, yet hopeful… Son was yelling and angry, seemed aggressive… I couldn’t see from inside the scene anymore. So, I went out to use my own magic. For ten minutes, I tried all the tact, patience and gentleness in my disposal to calm the young boy down… “It’s alright beta if you do not want to come… Don’t worry… You are a good boy,” I tried to calm him down.

The mother had tried and failed, one more time. I still have the images of her going back with her son, disappointed, but hopeful!

Last evening, while watching the latest Hindi movie, ‘Hichki’, I remembered this boy and his parents. But, for all my four-decades-long teaching career, I was unaware that the young boy’s condition was called, in medical terminology -‘Tourette Syndrome’.

Rani Mukerjee, who is afflicted by this condition right from her birth, is a well-qualified woman. She believes that she is born to teach… but, the reality is opposite… No school is ready to take a risk of employing her… “You better try for a non-teaching job,” she keeps getting advised. Her parents, though separated, still care for her, but, find themselves helpless. Finally, one school decides to employ her… But, in desperation… to handle an unruly batch of 14 students… These students have joined 9-F division and no teacher has survived in that class for more than a couple of days… These boys and girls come from slums of the surrounding area, thanks to ‘Right to Education’ Act. Rani takes up the challenge… and, the rest is the story of how Rani, the victim of her own handicap and the 14 young boys and girls, who are victims of their own… yes, it is an inspiring story of transformation… Learning to rewrite one’s script… identifying ones’ most major fears and self-doubts on way to success… The story is about being kind to oneself and others around… It’s about taking responsibility for one’s life, feel worthwhile and appreciated and learning to live life with head high.

Yes, as I was watching the movie, I was remembering that young boy and his never-give-up mother… I wished and prayed something similar (as in this movie) happened to this boy. The boy’s was an aggressive form of Tourette Syndrome. But, I am hopeful…

Practically, every day, we teachers and parents, who care for our children, do what the world does on the one side – ridicule, discourage and condemn… and, on the other side, appreciate, encourage and inspire. Our fears, self-doubts, lack of faith and trust, victimhood, blame, self-pity and cynicism – yes, these are our roadblocks, our ‘Hichkies’. And, the only way we can achieve what we aspire to is by making peace with our own fears… by converting them into our greatest propelling power…

There is this inspiring scene, in ‘Hichki, which made me choke… One day the teacher (Rani Mukerjee) takes her students on the terrace… asks them to write on the last page of their note book their worst fears, which, they think, are their roadblocks. They do. Then, she asks them to tear the page off and make a paper rocket out of it… Together, they send off the rockets into the sky!

In Life, our fears and self-doubts can be our greatest motivating forces. Yes, they are our ‘handicaps’ – our ‘Hichkies’. But, if alone we learn, early in Life, they are our greatest allies on the path of success and joy…

Today is Sunday… Please go and watch this beautiful movie – ‘Hichki’.


Pic.: Internet  (NDTV)

Video: YouTube


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