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The case of seized imagination

childhood, reading, imagination

As a young child, Zohra used to have a voracious reading habit and a vivid imagination. She was also very good in sports, had fine hand skill that created little trinkets, dolls and paper items. Though she was shy & introvert she had a great ability to make friends.

Floating images and events were the pure creations of her mind and she would be lost in those for hours together. When awake, sometimes she used to wonder if she is in deep slumber. While being asleep and in the floating world of imagination, she would ask if this is actually the real life she is supposed to live. Till puberty she didn’t realized which of the lives she really lived.

One day she was immersed in a story book, imagining herself to be the character of that book. She was using a text book to cover up the story book since it was exam time. So lost was she in the imagination of the character that for long she did not realize she was being observed by her mom. In anger and despair her mom watched the changing expressions of her face as the character in the story went through newer situations.

Later her story book was seized and the reading habit was banned. Strict regulations were provided to be followed. She was asked not to indulge into any kind of reading other than the textbook. Negotiation was not necessarily allowed for children in that family. Surely they were allowed to speak up their minds, but with little or no end result turning their way. There was no reason found for Zohra to read story books during vacations since it was a good extra time to catch up with the text books!

Zohra struggled through thousands of articles and books that her intellect was supposed to read, conceptualize and live through, during her under graduate days. While a lot of her friends could analyze and translate their readings into livelier formats, she would resist and look for ready answers. Instead of taking lead positions in the university classrooms like many others, she took the safe second position under them.

What caused Zohra’s inability to lead? Her shyness as child or the snapping off of the reading habit? Zohra lived a life of an imaginative child. Would it have been a better decision for her mother to have nurtured it further? Could Zohra’s identity and personality be defined by the books she read, the characters she imagined and the lives she lived? Did her mother have any other option?
Published: 2009-09-08
Author: Monal Jayaram

About the author or the publisher
I am a writer on art, culture, creativity, education. As an educator and artist I have developed insights on how to evolve creativity amongst children from a young age, whether you are a teacher or a parent. I am currently involved in coming up with a book on things that parents should do and not do to encourage creativity in their children. It might be titled 'To do & NOT to do'

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