” All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as he grows up.”

– Pablo Picasso

As I was sipping my evening tea, occupied with my own thoughts, I saw my 4 year old nephew scribbling colors vigorously on a piece of paper. Asking him, what he was drawing, he said he didn’t know, and would inform me once he finds out. Using vibrant colors and unconventional shapes, he was creating something extraordinary for a 4 year old. Although the art teachers at his school had a different opinion. While he was developing his own style of expression through art, he couldn’t stay within the lines, and found pleasure in coloring outside the pre-defined lines into his own world of creativity. He always had a problem in coloring within the lines, and more than often, simple squares and circles he had to color, would have hands and legs, and sometimes a hat to go with it.

As time passed, and he turned 5 last summer, I found one of his book lying carelessly on the floor. It was his coloring book, colored perfectly within the lines. When asked, how was he able to do that, he casually replied that he had to get better grades.I realized that something had been lost there. Though the book was perfectly colored, but there was nothing extraordinary about it any more. It’s not that I have anything against coloring within the lines. That is a skill everyone should posses. But so is creativity and personal expression. By this, I am not judging his teachers or the teaching system, but this surely is a judgement on the social experience that a child has to go through right from being born. Nowadays children are taught to find theĀ “right” answer to a question or a “correct” way to perform a task given to them, which is always fruitful, but at the same time they are more interested in doing it “right” according to someone else rather than finding the truth for themselves. It is us who are responsible for the stereotype thinking, but it is also our moral duty to break the stereotype fro time to time. All the greatest inventions, discoveries and the advancement in our knowledge today wouldn’t have been possible, without breaking the stereotype that has been a chain strangling our society.

It was Pythagoras who came up with the idea that the earth was round rather than flat. The stereotype thinking that prevailed at that time was challenged. With enough proof and evidence, his proposition was finally believed in. He didn’t accept the “so-called right answer” to the question, but tried to find the answer ‘right’ according to his own curiosity. The same happened with Galileo, who proved that earth was not the center of the universe. When Pablo Picasso came up with the new art style of cubism, he had to face much resistance, only because he was breaking the stereotype. Today he is known as the father of modern art.

It’s time, we start asking questions, not to anyone but our own selves. Do we want to be trapped into what society calls norms? Do we dare to be different? Are we ready to be the change we want to see in the world?
Are we ready to ‘BREAK THE STEREOTYPE’ ?

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