Rahul Gandotra, director of the British Independent Film Award-nominated short film “The Road Home,” guides us on an amazing journey about Pico, a distraught British nine-year-old, who is having an identity crisis.
Pico, like most Third Culture Kids, is having a problem with hidden diversity. He has a British accent, has British customs and his parents live in England – it’s his home. But Pico’s father has dreams for his son: he’s enrolled him in Woodstock Boarding School in India to greaten his chances of attending Harvard.
The only problem Pico faces is simple — he looks Indian, and is expected by his peers to carry himself as such. He feels attacked when the taxi driver calls him out for not knowing Hindu. He feels attacked when the lady he met on the road told him to “look at your skin.” He feels attacked when the woman doesn’t understand why he can’t tolerate spicy food. After all, his mom should be making plenty of it.
But that isn’t Pico. Not in the slightest.
With most TCKs, what you see is not often what you get. It is a safe guess that Pico doesn’t know about his connection to being a TCK, which is why it is such a struggle for him to understand his identity and the fact that he can assume two identities from two different cultures. It’s the lack of knowledge on the topic that forced Pico down this road.
I felt Gandotra did a great job with the taxi driver. For me, it seemed like he played the role of Pico’s conscience, offering him tidbits of wisdom which slowly churn his feelings about fleeing to go “home.”
During the entire film, Pico never seemed to feel that comfortable in his own skin. The assumptions of others about what kind of person Pico should be, or what language he should talk, are all the events that led Pico to discovering his own identity. Not just what people see on the outside, but how he sees himself. Pico was under the impression that he wasn’t allowed to be English and Indian — it was one or the other and he hated India. I think that the four words the taxi driver shouted as Pico was fleeing him were what resonated not only with the audience, but with Pico as well.
“You can be both!”
And he was.