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On a song, but at what cost?

PRODIGAL, FOCUSSED and talented are just few of the qualities the celebrity child singers of the City have displayed, but the most important aspect associated with their age seems to be missing from their life.

india Updated: Nov 14, 2006 17:08 IST

PRODIGAL, FOCUSSED and talented are just few of the qualities the celebrity child singers of the City have displayed, but the most important aspect associated with their age seems to be missing from their life.

Experts say it is very necessary for a child to grow in a natural way and only a healthy citizen can contribute in building a developed nation. But in this era of cutting edge competition the first casualty is innocence.

Young stars like Palak Mucchal and many others in recent years have made not just their parents, but also the City proud. Forced to work hard to maintain their status and to scale newer heights they tend to lose small joys that other children of their age get to enjoy.

Akanksha Jachak with her renewed celebrity status after the 16-year-old crooned for 61 hours recently, can no longer giggle around with her friends. She simply cannot continue to be herself with the newfound media attention and a whole lot of honours coming her way. “I feel really proud to be honoured by the dignitaries. But soon I start feeling uneasy,” she says.

With everyone right from her friends to relatives to society members showering special praise and blessing, the Class 11 girl says, “I have asked my parents that at least they should behave in a normal manner with me. I have to achieve my aim and move ahead but it will take sometime for me to get used to all these things,” says Akanksha, who is currently in New Delhi to receive the Rashtriya Bal Puraskar on November 14.

Eight-year-old Pulkit Jain, who has adopted 100 children for providing them education and stages bhajan programmes, also echoes similar sentiments. “I don’t have any friend in our colony so I play with my father, my papa is my best friend.” Coming from this Class 2 student of Bhavan’s Prominent School, one can imagine what he is missing out on.

But it’s only after long hours of practice, attending school and then the homework that Pulkit finds time to play and that too with his father.

Sheetal Kumrawat, riding high on fame wave with her recently released music album ‘Chulbuli Sheetal’, the seven-year-old enjoys photographers clicking her. But the Class 2 student of Emerald Heights International, who started singing at the age of three, says she does not find time to play with her friends, as “I have to practice for long hours for the music album.”

Another ‘star’ child Khusbhu Prajapat with most of her time spent on tours for stage shows for charity, the Limca Book Record holder hardly finds time for studies and ends up coming back to Indore two months before the final exams to study and ensure she completes the course and passes too.

Even today she is on a Mumbai tour, chips in her sister Sonu. Khushbu started singing at the age of nine soon after which she tied up with an organisation to sing for stage shows with earnings going to charity.

Being called the ‘City of Singers’ (remember even Lataji has her roots here) might not be a bad idea at all but does this justify robbing the children of their childhood and simple joys of innocence associated with their age?

Says psychologist Dr Smita Agrawal, “The society as such has become more ambitious and most parents want their child to be special in one way or the other.”

“Quantum of child patients visiting psychologists for counselling has increased in the past decade. The extra pressure to achieve or do something can make the child mentally, psychologically and socially ill,” Dr Agrawal told Hindustan Times.
“Leave these celebrities, even otherwise, children are rarely playing games now-a-days, they can hardly be seen bicycling around just for the sake of fun. And unfortunately this is the manner in which most of the children are growing up today,” Dr Agrawal adds.

Adds psychologist Dr Abhay Paliwal, “In some cases, it becomes a matter of ego for the child to excel in each field he/she is attempting. Failure and/or the excess pressure of achieving the aim can lead to depression, phobia, stress and other diseases.”

“Every human being has a natural need at a particular age, accordingly, playing, merriment and such other activities are need of a child. When a child is overburdened with pressure to excel in a particular field, he can develop a feeling that his parents and others will love him only when he/she maintains the excellent track record,” warns Dr Paliwal.

First Published: Nov 14, 2006 17:08 IST