Creativity – the lost gift of today’s children?

I hesitate to read the newspapers these days. The reason – well, my imagination runs wild and I end up wallowing in self-pity. Find that funny? Take, for instance, my train of thought on coming across an article about Saina Nehwal.

“Oh, What an achiever! What talent! What fame… all just at 21! Hey, wait! Didn’t I turn 21 just a few years back? What have I done in life? Who knows my face beyond the street?” Deeper self-analysis yielded to frustration at myself for not having taken my talents seriously.

Are we killing the writer, dancer and sportsperson inside us in the race to find a `safe’ job?
Our former President Abdul Kalam urged us to dream. Sure Sir, we will dream. But someday we are going to be woken up and sent to all the possible tuition classes.

After all, isn’t it more important? To get into the best college, the most popular course, earn a five-figure salary in your early 20s… and then? Then what? Be one of the crowd and occasionally, in those rare sunset moments, think of the passions we once had but never dared to explore.

My parents applaud Kalpana Chawla, look up to Kiran Bedi and praise P. T. Usha, but when it comes to their daughter — “She would rather be a software professional.” “A career in photography?” They open their mouths wide, as though I have just announced my recruitment to Al Qaeda. “What income do you think it will fetch you?” “Tennis as a profession? Where do you think you will end up in life?”

Today, every second parent enrolls his child in either a music or dance class. Why wouldn’t they? The kid can be made to showcase his or her skill in front of the (not-so-interested) neighbors. The same parents, 10 years later, without hesitation, terminate these “distractions”. After all, the child needs time for IIT coaching!

Why not allow the kid to make music his career? Who gave you the right to rate different fields? Don’t we feel a tinge of regret when we glance at our yesteryear talents, sealed in high school trophies, rusting in the showcase? I silently pledge that someday I will let my child explore less travelled roads and fly the unconquered skies! He probably won’t earn Rs.30,000 at 25, but will definitely be a happier individual!

Sinduja Raghunathan