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Shivani, my daughter, has been of late getting enthused by Hindu mythology. Though, I would hate to admit it, this interest cropped up due to a particular television show- ‘Siya ke Ram’. In the past, I had got her several mythological picture books on Hindu Gods and Goddesses, the Ramayana, Mahabharata and also on Allah, Jesus Christ and Guru Nanak but she was interested to this extent then. I am now left lamenting that the idiot box was more successful than me in getting her to know the religious text- ‘The Ramayan’
Come what may, she has to watch ‘Siya ke Ram’ every single day. This show is aired 7 days a week we have to plan all our studies, outside trips and mealtimes around this show’s timing. Hell breaks loose at home in case a single episode is missed. This being a televised format of the story; I feel many times it is unnecessarily dragged. My daughter never concurs with my view point and when I tell her to study on a particular day, missing the show; she displays adamancy and eventually wins over me. Still I am satisfied that show is definitely more worthy than the silly cartoons that she has been watching all this while.
She has got so fascinated with the show that she chronicles each episode; every night. She had not started this practice immediately after the show started. She started this around the time Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman were exiled. This is an activity that I really encourage her to do. This is very similar to diary writing with the deviation that she is not journaling her feelings but mythological events.
This activity that she undertakes makes us bond greatly. She is viewing the episode in Hindi and there are numerous words that she doesn’t know English translations for. For all those; she turns to me. For her I am both the translator and the interpreter. For all the words she doesn’t know English meanings for, I am the translator for those. I am the interpreter in the sense that I am supposed to read her mind and understand what she wants to convey. I then have to put across the point in English and then it is her discretion to accept or reject my ‘recommendations’. For all rejects, I have to remodel my answers.
To everyone, this would appear as a mindless activity. This exercise is futile during normal school days when there is already too much pressure of studies. Still, I am happy to the extent that her vocabulary in English is fast expanding. The first word that she didn’t know the meaning of was- ‘Vanvas’. When I told her that it meant exile; she was very captivated with the phonetic sound of the word. Many words that I tell her of are words she has never heard. For these words, she looks up similar meanings using a dictionary.
I have recently taught her to use a dictionary. She was very quick to grasp the concept of reading the dictionary. Within minutes of my teaching her how to use the dictionary; she told me that the word ‘about’ came ahead of the word ‘across’. Though I knew that she was on the right track; I quizzed her on the logic behind her statement. She told me that though both ‘about’ and ‘across’ started with letter ‘A’ of the English alphabet; letter ‘B’ (which was the second letter of the word- about) came ahead of letter ‘C’ and so ‘about’ came before ‘across’. I was really happy that she had learnt how to read the dictionary successfully. This meant a day was used productively.
I am made to realize that this particular television series is allowing my daughter to enjoy an unfettered childhood and Khuljaye Bachpan; each day of the week. The reasons to this statement are numerous. The first and foremost one as per me is that it enhancing her curiosity levels. She is extremely curios to know what will have in the next episode and hence never wants to miss even a single one; even during calamities. Also, she is keen to learn more both about Hindu mythology and new words in both the English and Hindi languages. She is getting highly punctual thanks to this show. She quickly finishes her homework in order get approval for watching that day’s show. What more can I ask for? Thanks to this show my daughter is getting her childhood joys and I am happy that the teachings are enormous.