"Technology is destroying kids' power of imagination"
Meet Mahrukh Bharucha, a Puneite who has been training children and teachers in speech and drama for the last 27 years through her academy Expressions Unlimited
There are numerous summer camps being held for children every year in the city. Why do you avoid organising summer camps?
I am not against the concept of summer camps. In fact, some of them are really good. But I am not interested in conducting camps to just fill up seats and make a quick buck. I hate doing shoddy jobs. Besides, summer vacation is the busiest period for us. I train my teachers and undertake planning sessions for the forthcoming year. Most teachers are my past students, so they are aware of the importance of planning and preparing for a customised working year.
What is the average age group that you deal with?
A bulk of our students range from 4 to 14 years. All my courses (Speech and Drama and Club English) are customised as per the requirements of particular age groups, their needs, likes and dislikes and their inherent talents.
What challenges do you face while training children to use language effectively?
My biggest challenge is fear, and it’s heartbreaking to know that nowadays children don't read. All kids love technology - but this is destroying their power of imagination. When millions see just one visual of Harry Potter it is impoverishing. Now compare this with millions of kids just reading Harry Potter and imagining him - we would get so many different types of Harry Potters. But then, why blame the kids? What are the parents doing to nurture reading habits? Characters like Noddy, Tenali Raman, Swami of Malgudi Days and Katha Tales used to live on a bookshelf by my bedside. Don’t they live only in DVDs now?