Will You Be My Neighbour?

I sat in front of the television like a toddler. My hands were in my mouth and my eyes were as wide as they could get. The catchy tune was blaring from the TV and yet, it did not hurt my ears. Though I was completely enchanted by what played before my eyes, I was fully aware that it wasn’t the song which made me feel the way , but its lyrics which captivated me. It opened my eyes, both, literally and metaphorically. 

As a normal Friday night ritual, my entire family sat down on the couch to watch a movie. It was my dad’s turn to pick, so naturally, we did not expect much. But when the charming face of Tom Hanks flashed on the screen, my mother’s expectations suddenly shot up. Needless to say, the movie did meet her hopes. Based on America’s favourite TV show host, the movie was an absolute joy to watch. Until that day, I was unaware that there existed a man called Fred Rogers.( At this point, I suggest you go and read a bit about him)

When I did learn about Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood, I found the entire concept to be very fascinating. To teach kids about war, divorce and death in such an inventive way really impressed me. The show lasted for thirty years, and was not stuck around to just a few topics. It taught young children much more than just significant and pertinent values. It taught, and in fact, still teaches all to love and accept themselves, to talk about feelings and just be more simple and human in general.

All throughout my life, I have somehow been conditioned to think that there is more than just a single face to a person. Naturally, when Fred Rogers, as portrayed in the movie, seemed simple, kind and loving, I thought that there was more to it. I started spinning stories inside my head thinking that there might be a conspiracy, a scandal, a double life or something of that sort. But when the movie got over, I realised that it was simple and not complicated like us. I realised that I was so used to being warned that people are not as good as they seem, they are selfish, they are rude, they stab you in the back that I had to think again about what I perceived of the film. Perhaps it was something simple.

Eventually, I realised that one song in particular was sort of like a wake- up call for me. I have often heard about songs having an impact on the listener but had never experienced it myself. Sure, I had listened to various compositions which made me choke up, shed a tear or two or jump around in glee, but I had never heard one which instantly made me figure things out. Fortunately, I came across Fred Rogers’ ‘It’s Good to Talk’ . Unknowingly, a simple Friday ritual of watching a late night film had a really positive impact on me.  It went like this:

“It’s good to talk
It’s good to say the things we feel
It’s good to talk
We’re much more real without the lock
It’s good to talk

Let’s see now…

I like you.
I’m angry.
I’m happy.
I’m sad.
You see that’s not bad.
It’s good. Not bad.

It’s good to talk
It’s good to say the things we mean
It’s good to talk of all we’ve seen and heard and felt for
And wished and knelt for
We need to talk more
It’s good to talk”

And just like that,  a simple children’s American soap had all of a sudden saved me hours of bottling feelings up.