The most fertile ground for memory is often a sense of loss. Loss of what we once took for granted.
Till I was eleven, most of my childhood was spent in Sita School. Yet it was the experiences in other schools, colleges and systems of education that made me grapple to discover what it was that I once lived without a second thought.
The education system of India is presently undergoing a process of blanket standardization. Yet what is the relevance of an education if it has nothing to do with the particularities of each and every participant involved in the process of learning?
The name ‘Sita’ refers to the goddess born out of the ploughman’s furrow. Can we see the function of a school – and teacher – as facilitating an already present capacity for growth, instead of directing through external instruction? What would such pedagogy entail?
‘Chikka Putta’ has grown from three years spent with the students and teachers inhabiting the spaces I remember. I was privileged, along with my crew, to be trusted, accepted and accommodated into the private worlds of the children. And as the class activities unfolded, the idea of school itself blurred and stretched to embrace Life.
I hope this film will act as a catalyst for the personal memories of every viewer. I hope even more that this film makes real the possibility of a school that listens to childhood. And that this possibility is heard.