I grew up with the idea that we all are little distressed of what we are, where we live and what life does to us. Yet, since childhood, either I tried to settle this conundrum with the ancient sayings of finding satisfaction in what I have, or accepting something like “this is what God has had for you”. The meanings of satisfaction were always quite unsettling for me but a real resettlement never occurred. I grew up resisting to feed myself about the form of the world which is closer to a social dystopia and I beautifully sugar-coated it with those equations of satisfaction. For me, who breaks these equations of satisfaction is the little boy (Zain) of Capernaum.

Can anyone of us sue our parents for bringing us in this world? Well, Little Zain does that. Zain, a 12-year-old boy acquainted with poverty and injustice doesn’t only fights with the cold and hunger he is meant to face but is disturbed by the uncertain neglect of his parents towards him and his siblings.

Zain lives in a family which has five children and Zain is the eldest of them all. One fine day, he finds that his younger sister, Sahar (11) has started menstruating. Having known that she will be made to marry now, he asked her to not tell the parents about the bleeding and helped her in padding the blood. Yet, their father manages to know about this and fixes Sehar’s marriage off which, Zain left his house.

He happens to meet a woman, Rahil who offered shelter to Zain and in return, Zain takes care of her baby boy who could barely walk. With the arrest of this Rahil, Zain struggles to feed the empty stomach of the baby and himself. In this race, he ended up being in need of his papers (the ID proofs) which took him back to his parent’s house where he learns about the death of his most affectionate sister, Sehar because of being raped by her husband.

Angry Zain, without a second thought, stabbed Sehar’s husband off which, he was sentenced a seven years imprisonment under Juvenile Crime. During this period, he learns that his mother is pregnant – which adds to his disappointment – remorse of Sehar’s death. He made a live call to a TV news show where he says that he is disappointed by the neglect of his parents towards their children and he wants to sue his parents for bringing him in this world”.

Zain is in discontent and is outrageous. He knows what’s right and wrong and he is not scared of ills but compassionate of making the world realise the ills. It is not like he doesn’t love his parents but he is disappointed with the life they give to their children. He reckons the thought that just food, shelter and clothing can be parenting. He fights the neglect he faced as a child. He asserts that it is not the standard of life which disturbs him but the quality of living which a child should deserve. He wants love and caring. He is angry with the system, of the society and its beliefs. He understands the meaning of happiness and is crying with anger to find that happiness.

Capernaum to me is not a film but an important piece of art not because it aims to show the social structure of the society but it provokes to think about the ills in a different manner. The visuals, the character, the conversations, all of it are enough to make a person feel the world se are living in. It will devoid a person from accepting what they are being offered with. It will ponder the human race to think that basic needs will not add quality to a life. When Zain decides to sue his parents for giving birth to him, he perhaps wishes to emphasise that it would have been better to not give him birth instead of giving him a life that’s not worth living.

Ishika Aggarwal is a freelance writer


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