impish eyes, crooked teeth and a dimpled smile gazed at me from the screen, as I saw little Stanley recite a poem at his Rosey Maam. Popping Caramel Popcorn in my mouth, I smiled along with him, allowing the director complete access to play with my emotions as the movie worn out.
This is not a movie review. Ok fine, for a review here is the shortest version of it. Well made - as it captures the innocence of childhood moments in the minute details of reacting to science teachers, the hum drum of the good mornings, the spying on the hot teacher, group dynamics and the banter that boys make lives about. You have a sense of Tare Zammen Pe dejavu, you wish part 2 moved a bit faster and the director realized that he had made his point in frame one vs frame 12 but the kid makes up for the repetitions.
A lot of credit goes to the child artists, for the sheer naturalness of their reactions. Even when the dialouges are lame, the innocence of their impy faces carries the moment through. Overall, don't go look for a flawless film, look for a honest-ish film and you will be all right. Ok, not even that honest, because lots of kids may not even be as lucky as Stanley was, but honest-ish is still a good word.
(Random thought number #456- why are most movies involving kids and schools made around boys and boy schools?? Personally I think its because boys just have more fun, doing this, making planes, spitting, fighting whatever, vs girls where conversations dominate action and they are content to sit around and talk a lot more than do silly things.. am biased.. yikes!)
Right so movie review over.
My reaction to the movie in my own very view was very very sweet. Instead of reflecting on the message behind the movie, and the truth it conveyed, etc etc .-- I focused on the other very crucial aspect of the movie
the mystery of dabbas
One of the most vivid memories of my school time, is this.
Mom being a teacher, for a while used to go to the same school as me. The rule of the house was YOU MUST FINISH YOUR TIFFIN EVERDAY. Failure to do so, would not result in beatings, but torturous sessions about Africans kids not been given enough to eat, or WORSE being asked by the maid or mom depending on who caught you with the leftovers, as to what is it that you wanted in your tiffin, so that there was no reason to complain.
This is where it got tricky.
For my entire life, eveyrones elses tiffins looked far more appealing than mine. When I asked Mom to make that what I envied, it somehow never tasted as good in my own box and would end up not eating the special request- RESULT - more kids in africa seemed to die.. sigh!!!
So devious me, at the age of 8 (class 4 am guessing is that age) made a strategic plan. In hindsight I was as obvious as a monkey wearing a red jacket yelling watch me, watch me on the road, but in an 8 year olds head I was a genius.
The plan was.
Step 1 - Get off the bus faster than mom. Mostly failed, as teachers sat in the front and got off earlier.
Step 2- Mutter and panic, at failed step one, walk faster than mother to reach colony gates. Also often failed as I would have a 12 kilo bag and she none. Not to mention mother thought that this was a perfect time for 'quality time' with daughter.
Step 3 - With the looming presence of the house coming closer, shorter breaths would mean i needed to take drastic action. Would pretend to have a sun allergy, or spot a random dog/cat/stone/moving grass/imaginary friend that needed my immediate attention.
Step 4- Dash with 13 kilo bag to they by lanes, make sure mom is not within eye distance, unclasp bag, haul out tiffin, throw out contents, BREATHE!!! curse arfica and the rest and then shove tiffin in, clasp bag, whistle or pretend to whistle a tune.. and trot back to the house
Step 5 - Get home and praise the tiffin
Think other than step 5 i had got the others nailed down pretty well. Secretly nervous about being a disaster tiffin making person, I did the reverse test to myself today morning.
After being rudely awakened by the newspaper vala, who insisted on HAND DELIVERING the paper to me at 6.30 AM!!! who does that in the morning and why???? was wide awake with no desire to open the paper and have the world leap at me just yet.
Opened the door of the veranda, walked to the kitchen and made my own dabba.
one for me, one for the roomie
cut, boiled, garnished, fried
packed and sat back with a smile of contentment
I got my own dabba to work today, and ate it all. Mommy i promise to be nicer to urs dabbas now too. promise!