“If you feel what they feel, if you see what they see, if you think what they think, will you treat them differently?” That’s the question a video on empathy poses to viewers.
Engrossed in our daily routines, we rarely stop and ask this question to ourselves. If we did our little world will be different. We know this, yet we park such ‘learning’ in a small compartment in our grey matter and do not retrieve it for acting on it.
Perhaps the only time the mutant two-left-brains specimens of homo sapiens [found in abundance in the corporate world] understand this reality and tune in to listen to the children when they are among children. But if you are like Sonika who does not belong to this mutant group and whose strength is listening empathetically, you see a different world.
The fact is that children see and experience the world differently. A psychologist researching on this subject pointed out that children while walking in the evening think that the moon follows them! I too felt this, and so have many of my friends.
And here is another one: “In the 2012 Popular Science article, “Why Do Children Think Covering Their Eyes Makes Them Invisible?” journalist Clay Dillow states that children make a distinction between body and “self.” Researchers interested in the common childhood belief that covering your eyes makes you invisible found that children knew that their bodies were not invisible when covering their eyes; still, they felt that their inner “selves” were not visible. It might be that children think that their selves are invisible unless direct eye contact is made between themselves and another person.”
Readers will be reminded of the lines “Kabhi Jhaako meri aankhen/ Sunaye ek dastan” from ‘Ay hairate Aashiqui’ penned by Gulzar. A different world opens out when you look at it from another person’s eyes, and also when you allow your inner self to be seen through a direct eye contact.
Sensitive poetess like Sonika understands this instinctively. She has written a small book of poems ‘Little Big Joys’. While it essentially captures what children think, feel and see every day, many adults will enjoy reliving their past too.
“Why must I brush my teeth?/ That too twice a day!/ I often ask Papa/ But he can never really say!”
And the question of the child:
“Anyway they are just my milk teeth/ They are going to fall/ Why not wait for the real ones?/ Not one or two – but all!”
And think of this dilemma: Young or old?
‘Can I stay the night at my friend’s?/ Like Didi does too?’/ Not yet says Papa/ She’s older than you!// Mummy look at Bunty/ He is eating my laddu/ Let him be, says Mummy/ He’s younger than you// So I am young, but not young enough/ And clearly not old enough too!/ Being in the middle is very tricky/ What should I do?’
Sonika [ see photograph] has captured the children’s emotional world in twenty-eight poems in her latest collection “Little Big Joys”.
A must read for the children, their parents and yes, the grandparents!
Vivek S Patwardhan