Wednesday 8 February 2012

A puppet show and some food for thought

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! 


  1. wow the puppet show sounds wonderful!
    It's awesome Aparna, how you try to pack in various culture-rich activities for your kids..
    doesn't matter Ads is not interested now but am sure he'd appreciate it sometime in the future and will be thankful to you..:-)

    1. Uma, I very much doubt whether he'll feel gratitude :) As long as he remembers his childhood as somewhat fun and interesting, that's fine with me :)

  2. This line really spoke to me "I was trying to experience childhood pleasures through him and was upset because his reaction did not match what I thought it should be." - hmmm aren't we all guilty of this at some point or the other :) ?

    But it's wonderful that you're exposing the kids to all this stuff, taking full advantage of whichever place you're located in! As they grow older, they're going to be the most knowledgeable of their peer group about all these things, wait and see :) !

    1. Aparna, so true...we are all guilty of this at some point.
      About their knowledge, let's wait and watch :) Horror of horrors, he asked me yest who are the bollywood heroines. There was apparently some discussion in his class and our man felt left out!!

  3. Ads is pretty cool I must say coming along for art shows and all. Though the occassional 'I am bored' is also good to just keep parents guessing about whether they have really figured out what is happening :)

    Btw, your description of Epicentre sounds good. When did Gurgaon become such a happening cultural hub. Not bad at all.

  4. ha ha, anita, don't get too excited :) epicenter is about the only place in ggn for anything 'cultural'. gurgaon people think going to malls is a cultural activity.

  5. Hi Aparna
    Your blog is sure interesting and gives a great insight into your world...I specially liked this article as it directly has to do with the work I pursue : Puppetry!
    It is more fun than work though :)
    I was amused at reading how Ad got bored with the puppet show you all went to far as I have experienced Puppetry is an art everyone loves, specially the young audience! Till the time it talks about their world, their issues or gives them a chance to interact.
    But having said that, children are unpredictable and that's what's great about don't know how are they going to react!
    Anyway, let me say that you are doing a wornderful job with the blog and congrats for being such an aware parent and taking all the efforts you can for making life enjoyable for your little ones.
    Love to all of them and best to you!
    (Co-Foounder, The Puppetarians, Mumbai)

    1. HI sangya,
      Good to hear from you! Wow you are a puppeteer...that must be a whole lot of fun. You must be a very creative person. I must say that most of the other kids were enjoying the puppet show thoroughly, so maybe it was just my son - and anyway he was tired after a long school day. There could be so many reasons.
      Thanks for your kind comments on my blog!!
      Take care:)


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