Some observations and a half

Sophy Lasuh

I can deliver my write-up with four real life stories.

i)    A little girl once told an uncle of mine, “I couldn’t get first in the class”. Like all the uncles we know, he responded, “that’s okay. Did you get second?”. “No”, she answered. “Then, did you get third?” “No I didn’t get third either. In fact, I failed” she replied.  

Hang on to this story; we still have three more to go.

ii)    “You know, when I was young I tried writing poems”, my friend confided in me. Like everyone else you know, I told her, “that is so nice, I love writing too”.  She continued, “But I gave up writing because my brother made fun of it. I haven’t written since then”.

iii)    A little girl, always a back bencher one day in a drawing class caught the attention of the teacher. The teacher upon seeing her drawing asked the child “what are you trying to draw?”  The little girl replied, “Am drawing God”. Taken aback, the teacher said, ”But how can you draw God? Nobody has seen Him “. The girl responded,” they will see today”. 

Don’t just hang on to these three stories now. Hold them while I try to find one more. Nevertheless, let us continue to begin. The underlying tone of the stories is reflective of the fact that we are all creative people. The question is, are we aware of our creativity? I hold strongly to the thought that creativity is innate. The problem is to remain one even as we grow up. Unfortunately, schools give low priority to arts and creativity, children loose their creative capacity. Schools teach them to be frightened of being wrong. Its time children are taught with the head, heart and hands.

If you are of the opinion that reading, writing and mathematics are taught badly, then what about the art of thinking? Generally speaking, we are not taught to think at all. There are no guidelines. Students are either taught facts or left to fend for themselves. For instance, let’s take drawing. We all had it as a subject. Unfortunately it is just a subject. I have never come across a teacher who taught his class, especially in a drawing class that red and white can create pink. After all, its not part of the syllabus. So in more ways than one we are all Christopher Columbus; each discovering by accident.  Creativity is the one subject that is not a part of the school curriculum. No wonder it is where it belongs. In exile. Why is Math more important than singing? Academic ability- why does it dominate our view of intelligence? Think about this: In this age of academic inflation, what is unique about you? 

Creativity is no doubt increasingly becoming more of a basic need and an avenue for grasping other “basics” for many students. This is why the school curriculum has to find a way of how to infuse the role of creativity in education. My contention is that creativity is now as important as education, as literacy. And it is time we treat it with the same status.

An idea can change your life. Not my line, but definitely something which I have adopted to be my own. I desire the power an Idea can create. Imagine a four letter word creating an entire economy -“Creative Industry”. Once manufacturing and service industry economy came to the fore but now, we are in the Creative Age. An age where we are going to work only with Ideas. Ideas may come cheap in Nagaland, almost like take one, get a thousand free. But once you leave the Naga Ghetto, the world may give you everything except share an idea. Ideas have become the most expensive commodity.  One of my professors gets paid for every word he writes! An IDEA created Nike, Addidas, Coke, Pepsi and even the medium through which you are reading right now. We all drink, wear, see and read these IDEAS. Unfortunately, we are just consumers and not producers of ideas.

Since Nagaland claims to be a Christian state, maybe I can attempt to creatively address the Christians too as most of them are of the opinion that “we are not of this world”. Or words to that effect.  Every second person I know has the skill to play at least one musical instrument and if unluckily they don’t, they at least know how to sing. Which means not a single Naga is musically inept. Every church I have been to has a Praise Band. Every Church has top-of-the-line audio system. The one fact that strikes me most is the amount of potential and creativity bottled up inside the church. Why cant my own be the Hill Songs, Jaci’s , Darlene’s to people around the world? Reminds me of the salt bottled up inside the shakers in the Tibetan restaurants where we always have our momo and chow. The salt shaker is just an accessory if I don’t make use of it. My soup on the other hand has no taste without the salt. You cannot take your talents where you don’t go.  I am glad that at least we make use of the salt in the restaurant in spite of the fact that we sometimes have to shake a lot to let the salt come in contact with the soup. 

Our God and every God created by man is a creative God. He created everything. He did not follow one fixed pattern. That’s why we have something called animal and something called humans. But what I most love about His creativity is the four seasons. I always imagine God must have experimented a lot to come up with just not one season, but four. This is why He must have created Eve for Adam. This brings me to the little girl who opened my write-up. Did she experiment how to break the news of her failure or did it come naturally? I loved her creativity. I loved her positive outlook. I loved the IDEA that even through such a situation that will be frowned upon under normal circumstances; she managed to convert a frown into a smile. But a part of me feels sad for her. Why did she not pass her exams when she has so much in her? How long before someone’s criticism makes her a prisoner like the friend in my second story. Or, if you happened to be the teacher in the third story, how would you handle such a situation. Would you be able to encourage the child saying, “If you are not prepared to do wrong, you will never come up with anything original?”

This brings me to the search for the fourth story to finish this write - up. I think I just found one. Its YOU. To the one who can make a difference with an Idea. To the one who can create a better neighborhood. To the one who can be a role model. To the one who can make an IDEA change our life.