Here’s introducing Ishaan Awasthi…


Have you met him?

The first time I was introduced to this character from Like Stars on Earth (Taare Zameen Par) was back when I was in college when the Psychology Club was screening this movie on campus. Let’s just say I’m thankful the theatre was dark and the audio was on full blast so people couldn’t see or hear me bawling my eyes out.


Briefly, the story talks about Ishaan, who at eight years old still finds it difficult to read, write, or understand words and sentences and always failing to complete his homework as opposed to his high achieving brother. As a result, he has always been thought as lazy and a troublemaker by his extremely aspirational parents and was sent to a boarding school to be ‘fixed’. Despite being in a new school and environment, nothing much has changed for Ishaan—he continues to fail academically, and his lack of support and love resulted him to be increasingly moody and socially withdrawn. Once an imaginative and creative Ishaan who would draw and paint as means to express himself soon lost his passion for art until a temporary art teacher, Ram Shankar Nikumbh, who was quick to tell the root problem to Ishaan’s behavior and bad academic performance from his own experience as a dyslexic child. It is through Nikumbh’s positive impact as a role model and attitude towards learning that emphasizes on creative freedom that really helped regain Ishaan’s self-esteem and eventually help him out of depression.

This movie has shown the importance of a teacher and a mentor who can relate to and understand a student’s struggles and is there to walk with the student and affirm that everything will be okay. But at the same time, this movie also shows us the importance of parents as pillars of strength and as supporters who would continue to cheer on their child no matter what.

My favorite quote from the movie is the words of Nikumbh to Ishaan’s father.

On the Solomon Islands, when the tribes need to clear the jungle to make way for fields, they don’t cut down the trees. They simply gather and collect around it and hurl abuses at the trees. They curse it. Slowly but surely, after some days, the trees begin to wither. It dies on its own”

Showing acts of love and giving words of encouragement is so important not only to little children but everyone at all ages because let’s be honest… Even adults cannot survive battling against the odds alone in this competitive world, what more children who are so tender at heart. With people continuously hurling harsh remarks at you and battering you out incessantly without any form of love, care, or appreciation for who you are and what you have or can do, even the strongest hearts would be discouraged, battered, and wither.

Whether you are a teacher, or a doctor, or a mechanic, or a homemaker, realize that the things you say would affect others. Show more care, share more love, and be more generous with your words.

Here’s to encouraging and motivating everyone out there to continuously love and sow into the lives of others, especially children—teaching them and guiding them, not only as a means of income (for educators) or to gain something out of it, but to touch and change the lives of our future leaders. There is nothing that love cannot overcome. YOU have a role to play.


Over and out,
Jennifer Low
The Loudspeaker