The Shadow

Creator: Narayan Sharmah
Age rating: Everyone
The Shadow is a melodrama about a challenged autistic child who wins gold medal in skating by virtue of his shadow teacher’s relentless effort just to face more challenges of life.
Synopsis: In the opening of the story kids celebrate joyful moments of back to school in the school carnival. We see a little girl Mazoon, 11 welcomes the parents and guests on the INFORMATION DESK with mic when her classmate Dustin assists her with his video cam. Their class teacher Miss Louisa guides them in helping the visitors into the carnival. Amidst this cheerfulness we meet the autistic boy Rohan accompanied by his Shadow Teacher near the information desk. They have a pet, a cat called Chat along with them. Mazoon introduces him for the public. Weather changes dramatically at that very moment. A hauling storm scatters the kids. Immediately a rainbow of hope appears in the drizzling sky. As soon as it becomes dusk an award giving ceremony pave the way for the visitors where the autistic boy Rohan receives gold medal for national skating challenge held before their vacation. Since Mazoon’s friendship has been instrumental for Rohan’s achievement Rohan gives her his pet as token of love. But Chat runs away from her moving car through the window. Rohan sees it and runs out of the car to chase it followed by the girl.
We are taken back to the first day of the Shadow Mr. Nasser along with the challenged, severe ADHD child Rohan in the class. Characteristic to his existence Rohan doesn’t sit in his desk but slides down to the floor with a scream every time his shadow tries to place him in his chair. He tears off the classroom decoration, crawls on the floor to disturb others. The class teacher Miss Louisa suggests the class to ignore his pranks. Mr. Nasser gives him a small bottle of his favorite Juice. The boy turns violent after consuming the drink. He pulls his teacher’s hair, pulls the chair of the Assistant Teacher and bites whoever tries to pacify him. He runs out of the class, faster than a hare. Thus he bumps on the transparent glass. Discerning that the Shadow has hit him he screams and cries to invite a crowd.
Next day Rohan finds it weird to pull his Shadow’s hairs as he has shaved his head. Then he takes routine session at the Achievement Center with the special educators among other kids of special needs. Most of them are of Western and Arabic origin. He is obsessed with the swing over there as he is addicted to juice. Special educators have to struggle to train him here. Rohan expresses his reluctance to study here by scrubbing his whole body. After the therapy kids make queue at the infirmary to record their height, weight and other medical history. Obviously Rohan has no patience to wait in the line; he breaks up the line and runs abruptly. His Shadow has to take him back for medical check. When the new doctor asks questions to this boy Mazoon replies on behalf of him because he can’t talk. The doctor advises the Shadow to stop giving him juice or at least reduce its quantity.
Days pass by Rohan doesn’t learn anything. He hardly scrabbles the paper and throws away his pencil. He has no sense of color or shape to attach them with. His behavior reminds us the stray animals on the street or the lost bird that falls from the nest. He hates his shadow because he incessantly asserts him to do something academic. Lately he has been an intruder to the carefree life of the boy. On one occasion Rohan stamps on the shadow of his own natural shadow and rolls on the playground to express his loathing. Next moment he runs across the obstacles of hurdle race set in the playground for the bigger students. The Shadow tears off his own trouser while chasing Rohan back. He holds the boy in one hand and sits on the bench holding his bag by his another hand. He is worried how to go back to the class or even home in such condition. Mazoon appears there to give him a solution to his problem. She removes Rohan’s jacket and ties it around the waist of the Shadow hiding the torn portion. Meanwhile a Canadian Psychiatrist introduces herself to the Shadow and pledge to work together to help Rohan cope up in the mainstream school.
Later, we get to know that Mr. Nasser, the Shadow had a terrible past through the conversation with another Shadow Miss Priya. He shares his circumstances that compelled him to live a life of illegal immigrant in the emirate after a court verdict. His passport was with his employer for which he couldn’t leave the country.
At home the parents of the autistic boy leave no stone unturned to see their only child do something in the name of learning or schooling. Responding the suggestion given by the Shadow the parents Mr. & Mrs. Raval visit the ophthalmologist to get reading glass for Rohan. But the doctor can’t take his eye test in order to prescribe eyesight. Soon the family appoints a Yoga Trainer to stabilize the unruly movement of the special boy. But Chat doesn’t allow the Trainer to take session. On the other hand we hear the further conversation with his colleague when Mr. Nasser shares more about his past circumstances. Again it was some circumstances that compels the Shadow to live on private tuition when he has a case in the court. Thus he had a chance to teach Johan, a dyslexic child who learns how to read Bible. This experience boosts the confidence of the Shadow to accept the challenging job of shadowing an acute autistic child.
The growing friendship between the autistic boy and the talkative girl earns the attention of their parents and their class teacher. They appreciate the little girl for her endeavor to help the challenged boy. Mazoon has been always supportive to Rohan. She proves to be a friend, philosopher and guide in his life. By no means little Mazoon skip her classes. She performs every assignment sincerely. In fact she gives ideas to the Shadow on the likes and dislikes of the boy. She spends most of her school hours with him.
She teaches her skating. Once she has a nightmare that Rohan has been lost in the metro. He runs into the moving train releasing his clutch from the hand of the Shadow. The police doesn’t understand the desperation of the Shadow. However somebody inside the train apprehends him. On the other hand Jarmon eats eight mandarins along with the seeds and peels when Harrison brought them to show some magic. His teacher can’t book him for the offense for not having evidence.
Good days come when Rohan gradually learns to read and write. People begin to appreciate the perseverance of the Shadow teacher. Conversely, the Special Educators fail to bring changes in the autistic boy. Obviously they become jealous of the contingency teacher. They hatch a plan to let the parents withdraw the child from the school. Most significantly Rohan now knows how to skate. The class visit to Kidzania and Dolphinarium where he practices skating. But KHDA finds Rohan inappropriate for mainstream school.
Unfortunately the parents don’t approve the proposal of the school to allow Rohan take part in the skating contest. They fear he would break his leg or hand being a challenged boy. The Shadow plunges into a big risk. He fakes the consent form and make everything to prepare him for the exciting event. Eventually the exciting skating competition takes place on the hills. Ignorant Rohan doesn’t skate in the beginning. He moves when Mazoon whistles. Another friend Jarmon arouses his temptation for the juice helping him to win the contest. The class teacher Miss Louisa tries her best to inspire the team. Despite much scuffle Rohan wins. Ecstatic Shadow runs across the skating venue in order to buy some juice bottles for Rohan. Meanwhile police arrests him for not having his resident permit. They make all the arrangement to deport him. Mazoon forms a kid’s team and approaches the immigration department to release the Shadow. All the other kids gesture their very special love for the special friend by means of retaining the Shadow stay with his child.

Latest Work

  • Video 1 - Brief Sequence of Events
    Creative Notes:
    As per the law of "Inclusive Education" the expatriate teacher shadowed a 10 years old, very hyper ADHD child Rohan who couldn’t even speak. At the end of the year, along with his best friend 10 years old Mazoon, his class teacher Miss Louisa, his professional research expert Miss Nicolas and his whole class Rohan began to read, write and communicate. Most interestingly he won Gold in skating.
  • Script 1 - Narayan's Original Draft
    Creative Notes:
    An illegal immigrant volunteers to shadow a 10 years old severe autistic, non-vocal child in a mainstream school in spite of all the legal, scholastic, social hurdles amidst high expectation of the parents; the child befriends with another 10 years old talkative normal girl to set all the autism spectrum upside down.