^ Definitely not expressionless
I have great love for the English language. And I think that's because I can express myself very fluidly thanks to it. It's familiar territory. It's the language I think in. I know Hindi and Sindhi but I only speak them when I have to, for the ease of communication. I love learning new English words and l love listening to great orations and reading well written pieces of content; be it poems, stories or anything else.
As far as I understand it, more Indians today speak the language better than most people from natively English speaking countries. Knowledge of the English language has propelled the country to where it is now in the global economy. It's changed perspective of how the rest of the world sees us. It has, no doubt, created aspiration and ambition in the minds of India's youth to lead better lives. A school going kid does feel a sense of empowerment knowing that his horizons are broadened. And that's really amazing.
But that's not enough. Beyond language learning, I really feel like the Indian education system must throw light on expression. Teaching English with results focusing on the kid speaking articulately with beautiful vocabulary is great. But what about working on creativity of expression and building capability for great communication?
I find that storytelling is very important while growing up. My favourite teachers were fantastic storytellers. Coincidentally, the same teachers were also very encouraging of students participating in storytelling themselves. The mind is a beautifully vast place and you have to irrigate the seed of imagination. I'm no child psychology expert, but it is understood that children are eager to please and if around the right stimuli, they can become fine artists. Because what are artists but masters of expression?
When I used to write anything or make by hand any art/craft as a teenager, I would never have the heart to destroy it immediately. I just couldn't relate to melodramatic scenes on TV of writers making paper balls after writing pages just to aim them directly into the bin. It looked like such a waste! I have saved every piece of writing, however terribly expressed and this blog is proof! Anyway, now that I am reasonably more grown up, I am more critical of myself but it's in a productive direction. I know now that destruction with the idea of rebuilding a stronger foundation is the only acceptable reason to destroy.
We aren't training kids to think critically. We care more about preparing them to answer questions. Where is the focus on fostering an environment where questions are welcomed? Why should a grown man find himself battling with very existential and real questions, when he could have addressed them being a lot younger?
We encourage children to be more accepting of their faults having surfed waves of confidence ourselves all throughout our own lives. What we don't realise that is that you have to see yourself critically from an early age. Introspection must happen much before being pointed out or pulled up by someone superior. If one is carefully critical of themselves from childhood, one will have a stronger sense of self.
We are living in a world where kids think they're smart enough to know what's good for them. And what they think that is, is pretty much equal to what they want. Interestingly, that's actually not so bad, unless it's drugs or some bad shit they're into of course! It is imperative to enforce a sense of control over what content they're allowed to consume.
Very simply, if you have access to entertainment options, you're not going to bother with coming up with creative ways to better fill up your free time. There has to be a sense of independence in everything that is being consumed. Discovery channels need to be more accessible to young opened up minds. They have to figure out what they like and dislike by experiencing everything that's available. You shouldn't have to like the new Bieber song because everyone you hang out with does. Opinions have to be created. You have to be your own person.
You should give yourself the chance so that when you reminisce about your life, you have these phases where you were into a whole bunch of contrastingly different things. It could be something as mundane as a music genre or something more sensitive like religious faith or even sexual identity. No one knows who they are at any given point of time because that's changing all the time. You're not who you were yesterday, and you're not going to be who you are now, tomorrow. That's what builds substance.
One thing I find to be endlessly futile, is the search for inspiration. Nothing can be more elusive than inspiration. Which is why you have to have to be; and by just being, opportunities for being inspired can unravel themselves.
I dream of an evolved education system with a focus on impartation of wisdom and of essential life skills. And, I would like to very much be a part of that in a big way sometime in the future.