Tanay’s Web : September
A Column by Tanay Sukumar for the e-magazine 21 Fools.
An Adult Child
Saloni Daini is a regular face on Indian television, thanks to the weekly comedy show she is a part of, and also to the news channels which show her stand-up comedy as part of broken news — which they proudly call “breaking news” — all through the day. She is barely 8, and the stuff she does has bared childhood out of an innocent mind. Talents need to be recognised and appreciated, but the little girl — a remarkably bundled talent — was over-recognised for the things she could do. She is not leading a normal childhood now, and is over-exposed to the world of show business and stand-up comedy. While a normal child her age would rather develop skills for a potentially remarkable future ahead, she has missed out by already assuring for herself that remarkable future with money, fans and fame. Her basic education, moral education, regular development, etc remain handicapped. She misses the journey, and has been deposited near the destination via a shortcut route. She can’t understand that life can also have struggles. She has got a tailor-made future for herself; since in the modern ideology and technology, being recognised and loved by a whole nation is nearly the ultimate success.
Life’s aim is living a successful life — not just getting a successful life. Saloni is, right now, just tasting success, and by the time she realises the need of the real learning of how to lead life and carry that success, she will be well past the age of learning. It is high time her abnormal growth be stopped, and she be brought to the normal front — at par with others her age.
"Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear, and with a manly heart." This is a saying Longfellow read in Germany where his wife died. The words gave him hope for the future. It inspired him to want to write a series of psalms. The first one, "A Psalm of Life" written by Henry Wadsworth ...
What also matters is the genre of her talent. Exposing a child to such mature comedy at this age is not good for her psychology. We don’t want our kids to participate in shows where another contestant derives laughter from a serial kisser Emraan Hashmi and a vulgar Baba Kaamdev. A small child is enough of a comedian when he or she does childish activities to bring smiles to our faces. Comedy and satire are a mature art, which must not be introduced this early to an infant life. Chances are the little girl understands little of what she actually does. Even if she does realise, it’s unhealthy for proper growth. Justifying what Saloni’s parents are letting her do is like justifying a small child actor portraying the role of a victim of sex crimes in a movie. It is like teaching new teeth to adjust to eating meat before biting a piece of chocolate.
It is bad that child welfare societies have not taken into notice this brutal behaviour towards a child’s future. There is a certain age to do everything in life — and success shouldn’t come before getting the ability and maturity to handle success, to understand success, to value success. It’s not a child at mistake, but parenting gone careless and over-ambitious.