‘Hichki’ (hiccup) is a Hindi film about a teacher (played by Rani Mukherji) with the incurable Tourette syndrome – a neurobehavioural disorder that varies from person to person. The condition may manifest as blinking, jerking of head, arm or shoulder, scrunching of face along with vocal tics like involuntary barking or repeating words.
Despite being qualified, the teacher is not getting hired due to her recurring loud ‘hiccups’. Eventually, she gets an assignment to teach a class of combative underprivileged students who are angry at being put down by others in the school. Their ire is a hiccup that prevents them from realising their potential and purpose.
An adaptation of Brad Cohen’s book, ‘Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had’, the movie is about living with disability as well as dealing with indignity and denial of equal opportunity. It is about learning to cope with hiccups as well as learning to live with the hiccups that cannot be coped with.
The lesson is applicable to all of us. We have to identify our hiccups and cope with them. And if they cannot be controlled, we have to accept them and move ahead with them. In either situation, we must recognise the hiccup and don ownership by taking it head on. And that is not possible; we must choose to take it along.
Nevertheless the courage to do so will come from empathy for those who suffer from mild or severe hiccups. The acceptance of Autism, Tourette and other developmental disorders; coupled with eliminating negative stigma will facilitate the triumph over such hiccups. Indeed, it will script create success stories in society as well as in self!
Accept the ailment: take it head-on or take it along
Every Hiccup can be turned into a success song!
~ Pravin Sabnis