The Scars of Childhood – Indian Cinema Exploring Childhood Trauma and Parenting
“We are doing all this for your future only!”, they say. Dear parents, you earn, reach great heights in career, and achieve great things in life, but in that process did you care to return back home to your kids and sit them for a while?
While you were busy setting your cash register, did you ask them how their day was? Or are they OK? What meaning does securing their future hold if their today is ruined and left with no good memories? Giving them their childhood is the best premium for their life insurance.
Kiara in Dear Zindagi(directed by Gauri Shinde) was not just a clumsy, cranky rebel child to her parents. She was broken and neglected like those many young children unable to heal the wounds even after years.
Above all, she could not forgive her parents for abandoning her while they were busy trying to pull their lives together. The pain, nothing less than a burden, she carried on her shoulders for a really long time pulling her back from loving herself and enjoying the infinite pleasures of life.
Many of us can associate with Kiara. She, however, was fortunate to have a Dr.JUG in her life unlike the rest of us! The rest may carry on this burden in their future and pass it on to the people around them.
The different kids….
To be born with a disability is never anyone’s fault. But it really hurts when people mock you for that and blame you to be jinxed. What hurts even more as a child is when the family that is supposed to support us, bow down their neck in embarrassment.
When the hands that are supposed to lift these kids to a brighter world, walking past all those abusing them for something that is not their fault, let go of the grip makes the kids vulnerable and shatters our tiny minds causing irreparable damage.
One such child was Ishaan from Taare Zameen Par( directed by Aamir Khan). Born dyslexic subjected him to persistent humiliation and mockery. He needed help but there was no one to turn for help to, not even his parents. By constant comparison with siblings and other kids, no kid has ever emerged a champion. Rather he/she has only cocooned themselves with guilt and lack of self-worth.
Only if their parents took a moment to understand them and assure them that ‘no matter what, we will always be by your side’ they would have the courage to face the odds against them.
The legendary Adu Thoma from Spadikam was also a victim of parental pressure. The transformation from the brilliant Thomas Chacko, a student interested in physics and engineering to Adu Thoma, the local gang leader can be attributed to his father not able to realize his son’s real capabilities of par excellence.
Scars of Abusement….
Heera from Highway(directed by Imtiaz Ali) was a puppet. She did exactly as her parents asked her to. She not even once thought about what she really wants. She didn’t even realize how much she was choking herself with all these people-pleasing gestures and also a dark hidden secret deep down her soul that she tried to unsee herself. Childhood abuse sees no age or gender. Heera did report the physical abuse to her mother who asked her to remain silent about it.
The scene, where she breaks down and tells her story to Mahavir, for a moment, fills the air around us with a depressing helpless silence.
Heera is one of those many children whose abuse goes unreported in the name of social image and family status. Fearing dejection from our families children forget to confront them with such incidents. It is during such times, a kid needs the most support. Dear parents, do not leave them alone.
It is never wrong to walk out of a marriage that is not built over trust and understanding. Divorce is not a happy thing for the couple but for kids, it is the worse sometimes.
In all the hustle between a husband and a wife, it is the love for the child that gets lost. The certain ugly sides of the divorce can also result in mental illness in children and even anxiety disorders.
Aju (played by Dulquer Salman) from Banglore days( 2013, Malayalam) was abandoned by his separated parents.
When Aju bursts out screaming,, “What should I say to you!! That I’m a rejected piece!! That I’m good for nothing!!”, we see through a kid who never got a childhood he deserved. Lack of proper attention and care can make children feel guilty and even develop dissociative disorders in the worst scenario.
Children and teens who have experienced any kind of trauma suffer mostly in silence. They need to be saved and given a proper future.
As Dr. Jug said in Dear Zindagi, “It is important that you leave good memories for your kids.” The bond you build with your child is what he/she will build with you in the future.
Career, money, fame, all these are necessary but find time to sit with your kids and talk about ideas and life. No materialistic pleasure will ever replace the happiness and strength that came from the time you gave them. It is the biggest asset ever.
Never judge your child when he/she tries to open up about their feelings and dreams because they will be judged eventually by society whatsoever. Your one hug, your one smile will make them feel good and prevent them from any kind of traumatic experience in the long term.
This moment, this very moment is the best gift you can give them.