Saturday, June 2, 2018

Anjali - A Long Overdue Interview at 10 and a Half!

What with TWIED and all that happening last year, Anjali and I somehow fell out of the habit of doing the interviews. I did one though in between but somehow it was not to my satisfaction. So this summer vacation I thought I would get one interview going and finally, we did it a couple of days ago. A nice long one!

Q. Anjali, what's the most interesting new thing you learned?
A. Sewing. Skateboard. Table tennis.

Q. Any new idea that caught you by surprise these past few months?
A. Can it be a word? I heard this word "Tweens" the other day. I was searching for movies for under 12 kids and saw this word Tweens describing children in the age group 10-12. I found it very interesting.

Q. What are the other new things you tried during the year?
A. Cricket. Badminton. Guitar.

Q. Why did you stop?
A. In badminton, the coach was always putting me with the babies though I was better. I felt it was unfair.
In cricket, I lost interest after a month. Actually, there was an incident when a couple of children from our age group were put int he senior group because they insisted. I felt that was not right. I lost interest after that.
In the guitar lessons, the teacher put lots of pressure on me in those two classes I took. He would tell me "you have to have to take exams". Every time I made a mistake he would get angry.

Q. But you might find people like that everywhere? Will you leave them all?
A. I will find a new coach. Why should I learn it his way? If I don't like his teaching why should I adapt?

Q. What are the fun things you did this summer?
A. Going to Kidzania in Mumbai, Snow World in Hyderabad. Watched plenty of movies.

Q. What are the movies you watched?
A. Raazi. Avengers. 102 Not Out. Hotel Transylvania. Singing in the rain.

Q. What's your all-time best movie?
A. Smurfs!

Q. Your all-time favorite song?
A. It's a theme song called 'Better in stereo' by Dove Cameron.

Q. What's the funniest joke/moment in recent times?
A. While we were at the Mumbai airport I heard this 18-year od Telugu girl tell her mother that we were at Chatpata Shivaji airport. I could not believe that she could not pronounce Chatrapathi. Chapata Shivaji! I found it very funny.

Q. Who is the kindest person you know?
A. Miskil.

Q. Why?
A. Because sometimes younger kids can be very annoying. Even I might be like that. But she is always sweet.

Q. What do you think of yourself as a person?
A. I am someone who, once I do something wrong, I immediately ask for forgiveness and move on. I am what I am now. What I did in the past does not describe me. My current action is who I am.
I think I am a strong person. I don't get offended easily.
I think I need to improve in two areas. I need to be more patient and I need to be more careful.

Q. How do you think your education is going on?
A. It's going well.

Q. Is there anything lacking especially since you see so much other content on TV and the computer? Anything that your school can introduce to help your learning?
A. On TV and computer, the shows we watch may appear silly but each show has some meaning in it. In "Best of Luck Nikki", for example, she always makes a video for her little sister with advice and lots of meaning.

Q. What are the new things you want to learn?
A. Table tennis.

Q. What's the best book you read in recent times?
A. Matilda. It's very funny. Humorous Lighthearted. You don't need much thought. I think it takes a lot of effort to write something funny. I find Roald Dahl has a very unique style. I also like David Waalim. He writes funny stories.

Q. Who is the most interesting person you met?
A. Abhinay. He does so many things. Hitchhikes. He is a writer. A poet. TEDx. He does so many things. Now he wants to learn rock sculpting.

Q. You did some interviews recently with your cousins. How was the experience?
A. I think it's a lot of fun. When you normally meet a particular person, we only see the fun and friendly side. But in interviews, they have so many interesting theories and ideas that we will not know otherwise.

Q. Would you like to interview any other people?
A. Yes. There is a woman who gets cats spayed. I would like to interview her. She deals with so many cats. I would like to interview Shikha because she works with differently abled children.

Q. Any new books you want to read? On your list?
A. "Holes" by Louis Sachar and "Carrie's War".

Q. What is your favorite song?
A. "Everybody" by Backstreet Boys.

Q. Anything you plan to do in the near future? On your list?
A. Maybe going to Escape - the water park.

Q. Do you think adults understand you?
A. Yes

Q. What do you think adults should do to make children feel better?
A. When a child says/does something, instead of finding out the problems and what is wrong, they could appreciate what they did and the effort they put in first and then give suggestions to make it better. Children get offended too you know.

Q. What new places would you like to visit?
 A. I and Miskil are planning to visit Baroda.

Q. What was the most interesting food/meal you ate recently?
A. Today's lunch by Mamma. Chicken. Veggies. Bread. Rice. Really nice. I don't like curries. Brinjal. I like few vegetables. Potatoes. Mashed potatoes. I can eat 10 mashed potatoes.

Q. What would you like to buy?
A. Skateboard. Dog.

Q. What are your main concerns with the world? If there are three things to change what would you do?
A. First, kidnapping. Theft. There are so many ways to earn. Why would you want to be happy and give sorrow to someone else?
Then cleanliness,. It is not the government's fault anymore. It launched a program. But there is no punishment for people who do not follow. Then the government must look for other solutions like giving more dustbins. They cannot say we put 250 dustbins in Mumbai and give ads. It won't change like that.
Poverty. The government should give paying jobs for people. They should educate people on money and banks. People don't know. Banks are cheating people.
The government is here to serve the people, for the people and by the people. They are not gods that we have to treat them with respect. They are here to serve. Not for money and fame. Help people. serve people. Do what's good for the country, what is beneficial for the country. even a beggar can rule the world. People have voted the government because they expect them to be kind, just, responsible. The Government does not understand that. All they want is money. I'd want them to be like ordinary people - travel in buses and auto rickshaws. Then they will know their problems. Not just focus on making money.

Q. Why do you think banks are cheating people?
A. Because they can make easy money out of them because people don't know anything about banks.

Q. If you were the Prime Minister what would you do?
A. I would not be rich.
I would go out amongst people and learn their problems and see to their issues.
But I don't want to be PM. Too much tension. Even if I have to lead my class I get tension.

Q. What do you think you'd like to do when you grow up?
A. Climb Himalayas. Trekking in jungles. Be a journalist. TV reporter. I want an apartment. My dream home.

Q. Why don't you picture it and draw it?
A. No. What I see in my mind and what I draw come out differently. I'd rather keep it in my mind.

Q. What would be your most enjoyable activities?
A. I'd love to roam around a toy store all day. Like Hamley's.
I like something. I look at the price. Then I don't like it because the price is too high. Then I'll go for something cheap. Then I give up. But I could go around all day.
I would like to be locked in a mall with my own ATM.
Shopping. Skateboarding. Dogs. Animals.

Q. Why animals?
A. They are sweet. They don't judge. Whatever you do, they love you.

Q. What irritates you most?
A. People who keep following you all around because they like you.

Q. Whats the most peaceful place?
A. My bed. Actually, the air-conditioned room.

Q. What do you think of god/ religion?
A. If you cut people's fingers, we all have red blood. Hindus and Muslims have the same blood.  I think it's so stupid this concept of religion because it divides you into groups. It does not unite. India is the last country I thought that will have these divisions. It's known for unity in diversity. During British rule, all religions united and we fought together. And now Indian is becoming just like the other countries. When did Muslims become not part of India? In Padmavat a Muslim was the bad guy. They didn't complain. Hindus did. I think it's very unfair.

Q. If you had three boons?
A. A dog. A big villa with inbuilt sports. The whole family would live in one villa. No school only play. My seventh birthday was the best ever. No gift is better than family. Parth mama came, Miskil came.

Q. What is the one quality of Nanna that you like?
A. You are very determined. If you make up your mind you will do it. Like for example if you say I will do a diet you will do it. Others will go and eat a samosa.

Q. Mamma?
A. She is funny. Makes me laugh.

Q. If there was one quality from people you have seen that you want, what would it be?
A. Pooja - for her humor. Also, people like her for who she is.
Miskil - for her patience, kind and considerate
Maya (cat) - for her voice, powerful, the way she asks for her food, she commands, give me food
Gauri maushi - her house
Mamma - for her unconditional love
Nanna - your writing ability. I like your articles and I wish I could write like that.

Q. But you don't read my books?
A. I like your articles.

Q. Any one incident that made you go WOW?
A. I was playing badminton once when Sherry and I were matched up. She said I don't want to play with her. When her mother asked her why she said 'she is not a good player'. I thought Wow! Can people be so rude? How can you say that so directly? I didn't feel bad because I knew she is an awful person. If someone said that to my friends they would cry.

Also when I got the last Olympiad results I was so happy. I got a medal in all the Olympiads. last year. Four. 3 golds and 1 silver. Harsh got gold in maths. That feeling when you come back after the teacher gives you your medal and everyone is clapping and smiling at you-you can never feel anything like that. For some time all you hear is the sound of their clapping.

Long interview. And very nice. Thanks, Anjali!

I like what you said about the government - it is out of reach for the people instead of being there for the people. I fully agree that governments should be kind, just and responsible. I cannot even think of government offices being that. I hope they change for you!

I like your views on religion and god - they should be used to unite and for peace and not to fight and kill. Teachers and coaches have a thing or two to learn as well - be patient, don't push the kids and don't be unfair. Justice they say is the first expression of love.

A couple of things were interesting. When you said that banks are cheating people I asked you again, wondering if you got the wrong idea. But your answer was right - banks cannot keep their customers in the dark just because the customers do not know the process. They have a responsibility to educate them. Similarly with another statement of yours, that the government is only interested in making money.  I wondered if there was some bias that crept in somewhere from what you may have overheard but when I do look at it - I find that there is nothing wrong with that statement also. There is less service orientation and more perks and entitlements here when we speak of the government. Like you said later, their main focus should be service and not luxurious lives and perks. There should be a way of measuring the real service they have done to the poorest of the poor, to alleviate the common man's problems.

All in all, I can see a shift in thought and I can also see how the interviews may change in future. More discussions. More views and perspectives. I really enjoyed it. And many thanks - I feel rather proud to know that you enjoy reading my articles and that you think I am determined. I am feeling more determined already!


Anonymous said...

That was a brilliant read. Quite amazing to see A’s clarity of thought and articulation through the really nicely done interview. There’s a lovely flow to it, and a high degree of self awareness that’s quite rare to see in a ten year old. Should make you two, as parents, feel good to have enabled something like this.
Loved the pictures too. While the ones with the book and the cat are nice moments, and apparently both a big part of her life, I especially liked the one in the middle, a very ‘me’ picture, showing full ownership of ‘thought’ and ‘self’. Give her a hug.
Also apparent is the shift through the interviews. If at one point her answers were as long as your questions, they’re now so much more thought out and deeper, capturing a lovely growth process.
And that she’s made even you more aware of a happy facet of yourself, in determination. Nice...wonderful stuff !

Harimohan said...

Thanks Anon. :)