P came home from school singing’Ekla chalo re’. It was the new song they were learning in their music class at school. He was super excited to learn a Bengali song. I asked him if his teacher taught him the meaning of the song and he answered negative. I thought it was a lovely opportunity to talk about the song and a similar song that I play in my head when I’m at crossroads – Subramaniya Bharathi’s ‘Acham illai, acham illai’ (Be fearless). I can still visualise my Tamil teacher singing this song to us with pride and telling us to imbibe the meaning.
We listened to the ‘Ekla chalo re’ song on you tube. I read out the meaning of the lines. Of course it was a tad difficult for him to fully understand the meaning. So I adapted it to facing our fears, head on and bravely moving ahead.
I also played ‘acham illai, acham illai’ and explained the meaning to P. The video of the song was set to India’s independence struggle and how Bharathiyar inspired common man with the song.P connected better to this song.
We then spoke about our fears and how we must bravely face it singing ‘acham illai, acham illai’. P said his fear is being alone in the dark. I prodded him to draw it and also think about how he will face his fear. He drew a self portrait of him alone at home at night. He drew his favourite God bappa (Ganesha) who will help him face his fears. He kept chanting ‘acham illai, acham illai’ and singing ‘ekla chalo’ as he painted.
A picture I will always treasure in my heart!