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When I first got to know of Mishkkaa – the Billi of Hollywood, I was amused. Here was a girl, who is talking so sensibly and simply about causes relevant to children, and society in general, and yet, the sweetness of her age is intact in the way she decides to name her YouTube channel (“I like cats, and I like Hollywood” was the story behind the name as she told me later!). I got in touch with her through her mother Ekta, and she agreed to talk to me more about her channel, and herself.
Mishkkaa speaks of sustainability, reducing pollution in all forms, children’s safety and food wastage amongst other topics on her channel. And she is only 11 years old! Naturally, the first thing I wanted to know was how and why she started a YouTube channel. “I love YouTube videos, and so do a lot of my friends. But there are very few videos that children can watch. So, I thought of making my own videos, so that children of my age have some good content to watch.”, says Mishkkaa, all serious and business-like. She doesn’t tell the children not to watch bad content, because she doesn’t want to be preachy, but she is empowering them with options, and that should give you a glimpse of how smart the next generation is!
Mishkkaa picks the ideas for her videos from her school assembly, where her teachers and Principal talk about important issues. She also gets them from the newspapers and TV. The exposure at home also helps a lot. Both her parents are quite active with social causes, and her elder sister is following in their footsteps. Sometimes, her friends, or the friends’ mothers suggest some topics that she should talk about. No matter what the source of her idea, she does her own research on it, and thinks of ideas to make the video sound fun, because “otherwise the children will get bored and they will not listen, and they will understand very little!”. And true enough, all her videos talk about the issues in a way that is more interesting and understandable for children. She keeps them short, as she believes too much talking will bore them. She takes pictures, and shows them on her video, or dramatizes things a bit sometimes or uses props. Her rule of thumb is “Basically, I make sure that my videos are such that I will not feel bored watching something like that”! The girl sure has the pulse of all the children!
It goes without saying that Mishkkaa is quite popular amongst her schoolmates and teachers. Her friends keep coming back to her with their feedback on how they loved a particular video, or what else she could do to talk about a particular topic. They all go back and tell their friends to watch Mishkkaa’s videos because the topics are relevant, and they all want the subscribers to the channel to grow. But Mishkkaa says ”Having more subscribers is good, but that’s not the most important thing! What’s more important is that they should watch and understand the videos.”. And she does have a point there!
The Hobbies and School
She loves doodling, and of course watching and making videos. I ask her about her favorite book, and discover that she is not a big fan of reading. Ekta, who has been silently giving us company, then disclosed that Mishkkaa has ADHD. She is managing her condition by regular sessions with her psychiatrist and a regular dosage of medication. She can’t concentrate on reading at a stretch – and it fits in the puzzle. It’s no wonder that the girl is after short, crisp videos. She wants to work on a video to help other children who might be facing learning difficulties like her. Like every other kid her age, Mishkkaa loves and (only sometimes) dislikes her school, depending on her mood. When I asked her if she would want to give a message to the school principals and teachers, this is what she had to say.
Isn’t it amazing, how the kid has the essence of learning figured out, already? I hope the schools are listening!
The mention of the lake cleaning in her message had me curious, so I asked her more about it. She does feel a lot about conservation of water. The swans swimming in a lake she helped clean has been one of the most impactful memory in her life, she says. As we keep talking, I get the sense that Mishkkaa is very compassionate, and is a fierce advocate of inclusion – she wants to adopt a pet, wants her family to adopt another girl child to have a sister to play with (both she and her sister are adopted by her parents, and their story is beautiful and inspiring), wonders about the way transgenders are treated in the society, and makes sure that she is not hurting anyone by what she is doing or saying.
How can one not ask such a smart child for a message to other children and their parents?
Do subscribe to her channel, and stay tuned at KidEngage too. We have some surprises in store for you, where you see the “Meow meow meow” in action!