Taare Zameen Par

No spoilers here, so please feel free to read on !

It was when I was in my fourth standard. I remember Mrs.Ramola, very well. She was my social sciences teacher, and she used to be very fond of me. She was rotund, and had glasses on.Her hair was as frizzy and wavy as mine.She used to ride a bike, and there were times when she used to pick me up from my home, and drop me at school. There were times when, she found me walking on that last stretch to school. She would drop Mrs.Latha , the science teacher, and pick me up and drive that last stretch.

I remember an awful day in fourth standard, it was my Science Quarterly Exams.I received my paper, and it had fail marks on it. I was supposed to have scored 98/100, but my marks were 36. Because I had failed to write the question number for all answers. I remember how my mom cried, ashamed that her house had "a failed" student.Where did I go wrong ? She cried. She cursed me.

I was supposed to be "bright" in school, but it was always overshadowed by my talkativeness,my laziness. There were days when I was made to go back to school in the evening because I had forgotten to note down the day's homework.I got caned many a time. I had issues with my friends, and my mom was always trying to mediate.

It was my 6Th standard, and I was scoring well in Tamil, because my tamil teacher taught my sister, who was always a topper.Until the Parent-Teacher meeting, where my mom casually mentioned all her woes to him - Her first daughter was always a topper, she concentrated, always finished her homework, came home on time,no trouble at all. She spent sleepless nights worrying about her younger one, because I was lazy, did not pay enough attention, picked up fights, rebelled, always playful, did not "sit down to do hard work" and so on.In the next exam, I barely passed Tamil. So much for a helpful mom.

I was always called "bright" by my teachers. Somehow they felt I just did not try hard enough.I remember being called a "problem child" more than once when I was a kid. My childhood was one big blur.The images of my school that stuck in my head was a mixture of standing outside the class, getting hit on the knuckles,getting into fights with guys and so on. But I remember Mrs.Ramola vividly. For some strange reason, she loved me.Once a week, every Friday, she divided the class into boys and girls, and conducted a quiz. I was the star of this session, and everyone looked up to me to win.The days when I was absent, the girls lost.It was the first time I was ever the best at something,and that meant a whole lot to me.

I also remember participating in all possible extra curricular activities, mainly as a way to get away from school. I remember how I used to fear telling my parents about the latest painting competition or elocution , or singing. Invariably after the usual discourse about how I should stop all this and focus on academics, my mom ferried me around. My sister helped with the speeches, my mom heard me sing, and taught me lyrics.And then I started winning some of these.

But academic experiences at that dreaded school only got worse.The competition was fierce,and the teachers , merciless.I did have my favorites, and I learnt from some, I despised most others. It was like I was serving time. But luckily, we moved away to a different city.

My fortunes changed drastically after I enrolled in this one school. The principal was friends with my music teacher and was a great music enthusiast.She was a strong believer in encouraging extra-curricular activities of children.She had heard me sing before,and took me in.Everything started on a positive note. I started participating in debates, quizzes, oratory, and of course music competitions. Those two years saw me on top of the competition circuit in my city. I was looked up to, and respected.

This confidence spilled over to academics, too.I had an image to live up to, and it made me want to try harder.I started going well in school, occasionally topping the class too.I managed to pass out of high school, got into a pretty good college and so on.I cannot imagine going to a better suited undergrad college than BITS.Mainly because I do not respond well to authority, and a "one size fits all" mentality of educational institutions. In that sense, I consider myself incredibly fortunate.I never attended classes, but I performed when it mattered. I cracked some courses out of shape, and never cared about the rest.I was too engrossed in my vocal performances, committees, meetings and friends to care. I had the best time of my life.

Maybe I am a rebel, sometimes without a cause , too. Maybe I am anti-establishment.But that is who I am. I need to be in an atmosphere that doesn't stifle and strangle me to death. Be it work, school or societal interactions.

Today I watched "Taare Zameen Par".I need to own this one on DVD, like RDB.Aamir says, each child is special. I say, Amen to that Brother!I really hope everyone in India watches it. Especially your "Strict Disciplinarian Uncle" and "Orderliness and Regularity Aunt."

On an entirely different note : After a hiatus of about three years, today has seen a return to "personal blogging", a style I thought I would NEVER embrace.Is this style here to stay? Wait and Watch. Happy New Year Folks !!
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