Jail Diary

Saturday, June 14, 2014

An Entry from the Jail

Every year, we at AVITOKO, were conducting an art competition on national level in open category. This year, we did an experiment and kept this competition away from age or gender criteria. The moment, we declared this competition, resistant came from all corners. Everyone was furious. They were throwing N number of questions- “Why is this open category?” “Do you think that a 4 year child will compete with a 40 year old matured, grown up artist?” “Why it is not only for Maharashtra?” “Who will participate in such type of bohemian competition, where no age, gender, state demarcation has been given?” “You are a woman. Why didn’t you keep this competition for women only?”

I just said, “Art and talent don’t see age, gender or any geographical demarcation. We believe in experiment. It would be interesting to see a 40 year grown up artist is competing with a 4 year old new bud. So let us see whether a 4 year old child would be able to give a fight to one grownups or a woman participant’s work is better than a male artist. After all, this all depends on every individual’s talents and thoughts!”

Some people were convinced, many of them were not! But entry started coming. A child rang me one day by asking, “Aunty, I had sent my entry.” I replied, “Yes my Dear child! I had received it.” Immediately he asked, “When I will get the prize?” I said, “Participation is most important than winning a prize. First, you should be happy that you have created something and you had able to send it for a competition. Getting prize is not very important.” He cut me in between only, “But my mother had said that you will get prize, if you will send your painting. Chhi:! I wasted my time.”

I could not reply the boy nor I could deal with his so called disappointment. But I got the general nerve of parents. All parents want that their ward will always be number one in the race. They motivate them also, though many of parents still are hooked with the study of their children only. In spite of this, the parents, send their children for any developmental competition or in any program, they want that their child should be at par. No harm to think. No harm to dream. No harm to dream for their child. But first of all, they must be aware of their children capacity. Second, they must learn themselves that no child would be a jack of all. Third, they should understand that participation is must and it gives an exposure to a child, which help them throughout in their lives.  But, in number game, parents don’t understand these points and try to be hard impractically so that their ward should shine on the sky. This child and his mother were the example of it.

Entry was coming. I was getting excited day by day. I approached some of schools, whom I knew to send their children entries. Even, I said that their teaching and non teaching staff can also participate into it. I approached a social organization, National Society of Clean City, Mumbai, where my elder daughter used to go. I had seen their method of teaching. I had seen the work of art of their children. This Organisation was working for the street and under privileged children. They have their history and record that many of their children had won President Awards. They sent their entries.

Among them, I got an entry from a jail. First I got a little nervous to see the stamp of jail. When I opened envelop, I just screamed- “O my God! An inmate had sent his entry. A letter from the jailer was attached, saying that they are sending an entry from his jail inmate for this competition. Please accept his entry.”

I was thrilled, but I did not disclose this to anyone. I was a little apprehensive that if I will disclose, people may be sympathies with him. So, let him compete with others.

Last date for receiving entry was over. Now it’s time of evaluation. (Contd….) 

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