I have been often told I think too much and too far. This post is a result of that.
Browsing through youtube videos I came across the videos of Chote Ustaad, a singing contest between kids. I started with the grand finale episode, two really pretty girls singing beautifully. One had the most beautiful, sweet and melodious voice.
The other had the most grounded, husky and fabulous voice.
One had springy curls all over her face, a clear face and expressive eyes.
The other had straight luxurious hair that fell in a cascade around her face, sparkling eyes and an attitude to match.
Both had the public fawning at their feet. Both are less than 13 years old.
What happened to have pimply faces, an unsure attitude, that awkward age when you look your worst for that certain time and not knowing what you want to do with your life because you are not even 13!!
I am scared. Scared for my children when I have them. Because either they will be one of these talented children, or one of the not talented ones. If they are like these, they will be under this constant pressure, which I am sure these children are under. They will have their life decided for them, no matter what it is that they want to do, how it is that they want to live.
If they are not, they will grow up watching these talent shows, wonder what their talent is, why they don't have a voice like that, or a flexible body like this, or a figure like that one. Or they might know someone who is talented like that, and feel inferior to them.
The summercamp where I teach dance, constantly has parents coming up to me asking me to hone the dancing skills of their child because they think that the kid has the ability to "enter and win boogie woogie". Or I have even had one come and boast to me about how her daughter has such an amazing face that she has already featured in 12 ads and won around 2 lakh rupees. The girl was 9 years old.
I have had mothers come and tell me "Look, look at my child dance. She goes to Shaimak Davar's classes every day to train" and when the girl dances, she swings her hips, but not to the rhythm, she looks ahead with her eyes all small and scrunched up, but blankly, and she says, "my favorite dancer is Isha Koppikar and Sameera Reddy".
I once choreographed a dance for one student for a talent contest in her school, and she was pretty good. We did on the song Remix, which is based on school life. We hunted all the markets to get an awesome costume for her, a black corset, with a leather jacket, a leather skirt with knee high boots and a school tie. When we reached the hall, she pointed out her rival to me. She was a girl dressed in a yellow bustier with chiffon strips for sleeves, and a chiffon transparent harem pants and her hair all curled up and heavy orange eye make up and gloss. I had not let my student put anything more than a dusting of powder on her face to block sweat.
The girl danced on "Saaki saaki, aa paas reh na jaye koi khwahish baaki", while my student danced on "Na koi tension lena, nahi koi darr ke jeena.."
Ofcourse, the Saaki girl won. My student was heart-broken. And she asked me, "next time can I dance on an item number too?"
I fear the day my child will ask me that. When my child will think that to be liked, she or he needs to expose, be extra-ordinary at something, be supremely talented or have an attitude.