Raman and Sunny: Middle School Blues
by Fiza Pathan
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Middle School is the worst period in a child’s life. He or she has to undergo bullying, and an often painful transition from childhood to young adulthood. It is also a period most neglected at home and in school, for the child grows rebellious as he feels he is misunderstood and unjustly dealt with. Parents feel helpless to interfere. Imagine what then can be the plight of twins?
Set in teeming, exotic Mumbai, India, this is the story about Raman and Sunny who are twins. Their childhood period was full of companionship and love and healthy competition. But with their graduation to middle school their travails began. Raman and Sunny felt suffocated on being compared with each other. Each wanted to choose his own path, be it academics or sports. They drifted apart and the bullying began. Where before their togetherness was their strength, their separation resulted in their being isolated and bullied, especially the mild Raman. Resentment between the twins creeps in and the crevice in their relationship widens. The mild Raman allows resentment to feed him and he becomes irritable and destructive. This leads to him being thrust before the school counsellor, Mrs. Bulwa, who decides that the best way to deal with waywardness in children, is to deprive them of their comfort zone.
Raman’s only solace is his friend Imran. Imran is the son of a Doctor. He is weak in studies but has a literary bent of mind. He shares his passion with Raman. But as things turn out, even here Raman misreads the situation and resorts to a deed which lowers him in the estimation of his father.
Enter Sunil Sir. He is a reformer teacher who firmly believes that children should be encouraged to explore the different subjects taught by research and analysis methods to inculcate a love for learning and literature. Though sometimes prejudiced by past events, he does not allow this to cloud his judgement.
The book deals with parenting, the agony of middle school, the individuality of each child, the jealousy, resentment and fear of change faced by both children and teachers, each at their level. It deals with violence, resentment, bullying, and defiance in children. It explores new methods to get the child on the right path by introducing him to those less fortunate than himself. It explores a synthesis in learning and new and fun methods of teaching. And it deals with the inherent goodness in children and in man. It’s a family story, which shows that love, forgiveness and understan