Best known as the Human-Computer, Shakuntala Devi was a headstrong girl, who had a charm for numbers, people, and places. A pretty girl with her dazzling mind, moving around the world, solving complex numbers, and math problems, Shakuntala Devi comes across as one female who certainly lives life on her terms!
The effervescent and talented Vidya Balan who stars as the lead role does justice to the film with her brilliant acting. Streaming on Amazon Prime, the narrative directed by Anu Menon portrays Shakuntala Devi from her daughter’s eyes. A lot to learn from her certainly!
Here are 3 things we did learn from Shakuntala Devi’s Life.
Wear Your Confidence Before Anything Else
A small-town girl, with no schooling, no teachers, no formal education. Still, she turned out to become a mathematical genius by having in possession a brain that loved numbers. So much so that she played with numbers and loved solving complex problems. Her entire life was devoted to doing shows with a belief that if people can hear a singer on stage then why not a mathematician?
This itself reflects a lot about her confident personality. Despite being not trained formally she carries on with confidence be it in India or abroad. She delivers stage shows across to a huge audience without caring about their remarks or any stage fright. Even in the West, she wears bright sarees with contrasting borders and her confidence in the shows! As they rightly say, believe in yourself and success comes following.
Of Everything, Kids Need A Childhood First
What happens when the father of a five-year-old girl in pigtails and flowers, learns that his daughter is a mathematical genius? In a normal scenario, any father would have considered gifting her with the best of education and a platform to enable better opportunities! But, in Shakuntala Devi’s case, having her at home was a mere source of income to her lion-tamer father. He immediately gets her doing shows and deprives her of a normal childhood.
She grew up resenting the fact that she never went to school and was constantly upset with her mother for not standing up for her and her father for his transactional ways with her. History repeats when Shakuntala Devi becomes a mother. She becomes over-possessive for her daughter based on her life’s experiences. Then she deprives her of having a home, a father, and also a school to an extent. She carries her daughter along with her like baggage for her shows. Her daughter all this while only yearns to have a normal life!
While Shakuntala Devi was a bold and confident woman, shaped from her own choices. She was flawed as a mother. She and her spouse both had a choice to let their daughter have a normal life, but both of them were selfish enough to not think about their kid. Honestly, no parent is perfect but a kid only needs to be a child first of everything else and all parents should remember this.
Where There Is A Will There Is A Way
A girl with two ‘chotis’ from a village down south of India ended up becoming a world-renowned mathematician with an entry to the Guinness Book Of World Records. Isn’t that amazing? Life is full of endless possibilities! Shakuntala Devi knew and accepted from a tender age that she was supposed to be the man or woman of her life. Her ambition was to become a Big Woman someday and she kept working towards it. She internalized the facts right inside her that she is on her own. She believed that her skill will take care of her and worked towards it.
Her only sister died because her family could not afford medical help. Shakuntala understood way earlier in life the value for money and to be self-reliant. This is what gives her an edge of course along with her skills. She grew up to be the woman who would never settle for less than what she thinks she deserved! It is because of her this quality that she bravely kept questioning success and its very notion of being gendered.
To us females and viewers in general who got a glimpse of her life as portrayed on screen by Vidya Balan, she was inspirational. A female who dares to question the normal routine practices of life. A woman who likes a magician cracked the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in 50 seconds! A woman who agrees that parenting is an ever-learning process and nobody is perfect yet we are perfect and good for our children. There is a lot to learn from her especially this,
“There is Always a Way and A Choice that You Firmly Believe In!”
To all women reading this, if there is a chance in a million that you can do something, anything, to keep it from ending, do it! Keep your doors open, take your chances, make choices, not excuses. Be bold to pay the price, and face the consequences as nothing in this world comes for free.