Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Taare Zameen Par - My Take
One of the nicest Hindi movies I've watched in a while.
While the movie's message is really nice, its significance in our society, conservative as we are, is even more so. If you're not a doctor, engineer or an MBA in India, you're pretty much nothing.
We're a society that craves pigeon-holing people in order to simplify our world-view and create a hierarchy where there is none. The "smartest" people do engineering and medicine. The left-overs do an MBA to catch up with them. Of course, if you're an engineer and an MBA, you've got the sun shining out of your ass. Never mind that you have no idea how to treat other people with respect or that you have no skills apart from being this bad-ass number cruncher.
The point of the movie is this, each one has something special that he or she brings into the world. Yes, some of these may not be encashable gifts, but they are gifts nonetheless. No one should make you feel any the less.
I remember going through school as an average student and we were always made to feel like that. Average. Everything I was came summarized in this little piece of paper we got twice or thrice a year with a bunch of numbers on them. They called them report cards. Looking back, if I had a choice, I'd use them as ass-wipes.
What I'm getting at is that people are always trying to compartmentalise us right through life. It starts when you step into school and never stops after that. You fail a Math test in fifth grade and suddenly you're labeled "dull". No one cares that you may have problems at home, or that you may have a problem with numbers but are great at singing. Nope. You're dull. And you live with that tag, thinking you're just average unless you look around and ask questions. Not just of society, but of your own false self-image that you've created as a result of other people's opinions.
For me, the movie is a reminder to not judge people merely on achievement. People are far too complex to be able to slot them in little silos. The if-s/he-can-do-this-then-s/he-can-do-that argument doesn't work in life. Some of the most beautiful people I've met haven't achieved much. For me though, it's enough that they're beautiful people. No award or degree would make them any more or less special.
Life isn't simple. But that doesn't make it less beautiful.