The Ishara International Puppet Festival has been coming to Delhi for a few years now. I wanted to take the kids last year but what with all the shows being in Delhi and starting at 7.30 pm in the evening, the logistics of getting everyone to the city from Noida, and back, seemed overwhelming. Add to that S's I-will-get-back-home-only-by-midnight-everyday work schedule, and it was truly a lost cause. I was so happy when they decided to perform in Gurgaon this year. Epicenter is a really nice cultural and convention center in the city. They have lots of live music (jazz, blues, rock), plays, concerts and other cultural programmes happening all the time, and their Sunday breakfast brunch rocks.
In any case, the puppet festival is here this month. Tickets were excitedly booked for 2 shows. The first one we went to, last Friday, was a production from Taiwan. The 'puppets' were just clothes - shirts, women's tops, dresses, trousers. They danced and they jumped, twirled and swayed to music, expertly handled not by the usual rods and strings, but by near-invisible puppeteers, clad in black and blending into the black background of the stage.
I really liked the show. Given that Ads hasn't seen that many puppet shows and this one was new and innovative, I fully expected him to enjoy it too. But are kids today jaded or what? He was bored almost from the first few minutes. The thrill and pleasure that I was getting from the show, none of it was visible on his face. I was disappointed, not least because Ads has raised the bar so high for me. He obligingly accompanies me to art shows and galleries and places of historical interest, throws a thousand questions at me and comes up with his own interpretations. I tried hard to see what it was that he didn't like about the show, and came up with nothing. I asked him and he said "It's boring". That was it.
What I thought would be a simple pleasure for us to take in on a cool winter's evening, an art form that's been around for centuries, something from another land and culture, left him cold. Thinking over it later, I felt I was being unfair to him. I was trying to experience childhood pleasures through him and was upset because his reaction did not match what I thought it should be. A typical case of unjust and unrealistic expectations!
My research sample was not representative enough however. A sample size of just one? No way. Unfortunately, I could not validate any assumptions I had made because the second puppet show we were to go to, never happened. I was a little unwell the day we were supposed to go, and I didn't think I could handle the kids by myself, so I chickened out. The expression on Ads' face when I told him we were not going, I am sorry to say, was one of pure relief!