Posts Tagged ‘children’

K2 and PDA (Public Display of Affection)

October 12, 2019

I’ve been noticing an increasing (and quite understandable) resistance on K2’s part, to give me an “Uggandakiss”.

Today, when I asked, he said, “I can’t kiss you, my nose is too big.”

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More from K2, 190919

September 19, 2019

K2: Paru Sharma is actually Rama.
Me: Oh, really?
K2: Yes, he is Vishnu, born as Rama and then as Krishna.
Me (catching sight of the Amar Chitra Katha in his hand): Oh…that’s Parashurama!

He’s very annoyed that I am laughing. I am hoping that he doesn’t make the Buddha into a Buddhu…

Pouring out…ghee and grief

August 16, 2019

The young daughter pours the oblation of ghee into the sacred fire of the “havan”…and her tears pour down her tender young face.

My own eyes fill as I see the sorrow of the toughest part of growing up. If Agni and Swaha do not take her love up to her father, surely those twin streams of salt and grief will do so.

IMG_6042 Outpouring of ghee and grief, Blr, 160819

The waking child

August 9, 2019

t’s a reasonable time in the morning. The little body next to me stirs; the eyes flutter open, then close again. A little turn, and two little arms twine themselves around my neck, as the child cuddles up for a few minutes. Then the eyes, and the mouth, smile up at me. A few quiet remarks, a short prayer, and then, the child is up.

This…this…is the way children should wake up every day…not the daily ritual of “getupgetupGETUP it’s getting late for school!”, with the entire routine of Ayurveda medicines and tablets, school uniforms and shoes, bags and notebooks, breakfast and milk, have to be got through before the child boards that unforgiving school bus, too early in the morning. But…I am talking of Utopia.

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The Gedious, 040819

August 7, 2019

K2: As soon as my maths teacher writes out a sum on the board, I call out the answer. so she called me a gedious.
Me: G D S?
K2: No! GEDIOUS! That means I am VERY intelligent!

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Here he is, the Bubble-wrap Monster.

….This very modest guy may be a gedious in Maths, but his English….!

Theatre Review: “Woogie Boogie”, Ranga Shankara, 180719

July 19, 2019

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Superb special effects.

I am often asked why I go to watch children’s theatre shows. People usually associate children’s theatre, or puppet theatre, with a “fit only for children” narrative, too simple to hold an adult’s attention.

But plays, or to be accurate, performances, like “Woogie Boogie”, by Brush Theatre of South Korea, staged on 18th July 2019 at Ranga Shankara as part of the “AHA!” children’s international puppet theatre festival, show how any adult can be as entranced as a child. On the child’s level, the clowning and the brisk narrative are very entertaining; but on an adult level, one can see the precision of the production, with all the technical aspects of the performance blending seamlessly into a whole.

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Raindrops fall from the cloud that has been drawn.

“Woogie Boogie” was first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in UK in 2018 and has been travelling ever since. In Seoul, South Korea, the cast and crew end up performing Woogie Boogie every Saturday, at different venues, mainly for young audiences.The storyline is about the story of two friends, (Woogie and Boogie) who go on their first adventure to the sea with their tiny friend, the turtle. The show was first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in UK in 2018 and has been travelling ever since. In Seoul, the cast and crew give performances of Woogie Boogie every Saturday.

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Performers, showing the costumes and the laptops used.

Even as the audience entered the theatre, they found the cast and crew on and off the stage, casually waltzing, playing the piano and thumping on an empty cardboard box. The central, large white screen or board was flanked by two performers ; electronic organist Sung San Hee on one, and another, operating a lot of highly technical software and hardware, on the other.

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The whole theme of the set and costume design was black and white; the performers wore white shirts, black trousers and suspenders, and paper crowns or cones. The two performers who acted as Woogie and Boogie, drew black pictures on the huge white board, erasing them or transforming them as the play progressed.

As the play began, their cheerful “Hello”s were reciproated by a full-throated response from the children. The two came out with white boards with an “O” outline drawn on them, held in front of their faces. They then ran into the audience, allowing some of the eager children to draw eyes, nose and mouth in the outlines. Back on stage, a body was drawn, and the narrative began to take shape, with Woogie and Boogie first playing with the “on-off/black-white” scenario, with superb and precise lighting being switched on and off.

The two began doodling various things (the children and adults both had great fun guessing what each doodle would turn out to be).But to our amazement, the doodles took on a life of their own! A fish that was drawn started swimming in the sea that the board represented, and a little turtle turned from a drawing into a small puppet. And so it went as the action progressed; a delightful melange of drawing, puppetry, mime, and computer-generated moving images, laced with music and audio side-effects kept the audience enthralled.Soon enough, the actors are out on the stage again — amid squealing children, whiteboards in hand. The children excitedly dart up from the seats to scribble on them — this is precisely what the performance draws focus to. Doodles and scribbles are a child’s favourite companions, especially when a blank space is involved. And most often, stories take form through these careless strokes.

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A brain, and the thoughts from that brain.

“It is a multimedia drawing show. We combine hand drawings and projection to make these doodles come alive on this big white board,” says Kim Jae Woong, the video technician in the crew. This was one thing I could appreciate as an adult–the perfect synchronization between the computer graphics and the performer’s actions, so that there was no glitch at all in the story. This was truly amazing, as no matter how much they have practised together, it still needs excellent timing to succeed.

Apart from the music, the strange noises the various creatures make when conjured up. were also produced by various instruments or through the voice of the cast. I was able to get only a few names of the crew members from the net: Kim Dong Hyu, Yeom Yonggyun, Lee Seungeun, Song Eyunjae…I was not sure who played what role in the production that evening; I think all six of the crew can do any of the roles if needed.Unfortunately, there was no brochure provided,nor were the cast and crew introduced at the end of the play.

Innumerable creatures and doodles later, a puffer fish slowly grew into an evil creature which wanted to eat up Woogie and Boogie. Finally, the little turtle returned to the sea and swims off to deafening applause from the audience.

The final few moments of the play also transformed the stage from a monochrome black and white to colour, as Woogie and Boogie performed lithe calisthenics against the board.

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. And, instead of going off to wipe their faces streaming with perspiration from the exertion in the humid weather, they all came to the foyer to interact with the delighted audience once again.

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The cast taking a bow, with the electronic organ and the head of the turtle visible.

Such an evening of a performance that delights young and old alike, and has enough for any age group to marvel at and enjoy, is a real treat, and our grateful thanks to Ranga Shankara’s AHA! for giving us such an opportunity to enjoy this creativity.

“Woogie Boogie” by Brush Theatre, South Korea
Duration: 50 min.
Cast and crew of 6, I could not get all the names.
Multimedia presentation.
Tickets:Rs.200
July 18, 2019, Ranga Shankara

Theatre Review: Squirrel Stole My Underpants, Ranga Shankara, 150719

July 16, 2019

Do adults go to watch children’s plays? Or to be more precise, do adults go to watch children’s puppet theatre…without children accompanying them? The answer, for me, was a resounding yes. I had been hoping to take my grandchildren to at least some of the puppet theatre festival be at Ranga Shankara, under the AHA! banner.


The “Same-Same” theme of the festival.

Language and music classes in the evenings prevented my grandchildren from coming along with me, but when a friend, Harini Srinivasa Rao, told me that she could not utilize her three tickets, I jumped at the chance, and converted my evening walk into an evening, watching “Squirrel Stole My Underpants”, staged by

The Gottabees

a Boston-based ensemble. It was a show for “children above 4 years”, and since I counted myself in, I settled in amongst the full house of children, parents, grandparents and family.


The queue (it was a full house).

The 45-minute performance was carried by Bonnie Duncan, with auburn curls, a printed frock with a gingham apron, with preppy socks and shoes. Two musicians, Brendan Burns & Tony Leva , kept up the tempo and mood of the show on the electronic cello and guitar. These instruments, which were very slim, shaved-down versions of the traditional ones, were as interesting to me as the rest of the show.


The musicians on the left of the stage.

Though the stage setting was very simple — a clothes stand of two poles with lines! What “Sylive”, the main character, brought to the narrative was, like Baa Baa Black Sheep’s wool, three bags full of props. She started with putting out a large bedsheet, which served later as the screen for the hand puppets. She then added the laundry, and showed especial happiness when putting out the pink underpants to dry. Almost immediately, the squirrel turned up, and off he went, after several hilarious attempts, with that article of underclothing. As Sylvie chased him, out came a smorgasbord of articles and clothing f from those three bags…including a blue-curtain sea, a bag that she could step into and create a boat out of, a sun, a cloud to hide the sun, and so on….in sunny weather and rain, she chased the naughty squirrel.


Sylvie and her clothesline.

It was delightful to see that both the performer and the squirrel had smaller-size puppets to represent them; reality and fantasy flowed into one another with great ease, in just the way it does in childhood. Several times, the audience applauded spontaneously, cheering on the performer and her narrative.


Some papiermaiche puppets in the foyer.

The two musicians, producing a variety of sounds, evoked different moods and enhanced the production very well. The cello was tuned frequently; I did not know whether it just fell out of tune or the accompanying music required the re-tuning. But it was obvious that the musicians, too, were enjoying the spectacle playing out in front of them! At several points, the audience joined in the rhythm of the music, clapping along.

Three-quarters of an hour slipped by fast, and once the show was done and the performers had taken their bows, Bonnie gave a delightful Mime 101, inviting the entire audience to mime taking a cupful of “the most yucky thing” imaginable, trying to drink it, and spitting it out. The audience, even the adults, followed the instructions gleefully. This involvement caused another round of applause at the end.

The innovative use of props (I never knew that a pair of brown trousers and several green underpants could become a tree!) was a highlight of the show.

Speaking of highlights, the light design also added considerably to the visual appeal of the show. Now bright, now dimmed, they followed Sylvie on her adventure of search. Alas, we were not told who handled the lights!

It was a delightful show, simple without being cloying, and it was very obvious that the children and the children-at-heart enjoyed it very much. I am sure many in the audience would follow Bonnie’s suggestion and try their hands at puppetry or mime.

The

AHA! Children’s Puppet Theatre Festival

continues until 20th July,2019.

Squirrel Stole My Underpants
July 15, 2019, at Ranga Shankara
45 min.
No language; puppetry and mime.
Created and performed by Bonnie Duncan
Music by Brendan Burns & Tony Leva
Directed by Dan Milstein
Costumes by Penney Pinette
Set by Hamideh Rezaei-Kamalabad
Tickets: Rs.200

As an aside: Ranga Shankara needs to either update or close down its FaceBook page, which only gives details of the AHA! Festival from 2017.


Small workshops and performances by and for the children also taking place in the foyer area.

The homework bird, 210619

June 21, 2019

Both K1 and K2 often use the board on the refrigerator for their artistic efforts, and clicking these is much easier than trying to save pieces of paper (though I do that, too.)

Here’s K1’s depiction of her wish…” I wish I could tell the teacher that the homework…flew away!”

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I wish I also had a homework bird!

Eid at Fatima’s home, 050619

June 6, 2019

Fatima (in the lehenga..she’s 20, can you believe it?) teaches K1 Hindi. She invited us over for Eid and, with her family, extended such warm hospitality!

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Fatima, her parents and brother Zain, with K1 and K2

When we got home, I explained to the children how Imitiaz, her father, had fallen on hard times and had to shut his tailoring shop. The children have just brought out some toys that they want to give Zain, her 7-year-old brother.

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The feast at Fatima’s
I am very proud of of Fatima, who works in an office; and I am very proud of my grandchildren. This warmth and inclusiveness is what Eid, or any other festival, is all about.

Hecky (Mukul)’s tribute to Jayesh,2018

April 5, 2019

Hecky’s tribute to his dad, when Jayesh quit his job: I have always shared a unique relationship with my father. He has been several things to me over the years and continues to assume different roles, even within the span of a single day.

An assertion of fatherhood takes the shape of two religious phone calls to me daily. He sheds that mould and becomes a friend when he shares his numerous and infamous below-the-belt jokes that I am sure you’re familiar with. A true corporate takeover of the household occurs when he makes excel sheets to explain concepts as simple as tying a shoelace to the family. And a true buddy, when he helps me recover from a crippling hangover.

Among all the roles that he has played in my life, the one that stands out constantly, is that of a teacher. The man is a walking life lesson. Immensely articulate, to my father, a true thing badly expressed, is a lie. He has always set the bar high, a bar that has become my life-long goal to one day surpass.

As my father leaves the role that he has for so long cherished at Fidelity, I want him to know that I love him and that I will always have his back. I want to assure him that despite the greying pastures that abound his head, greener pastures await him in his personal life.

My best wishes to a true renaissance man— renaissance in that everything he does was fresh in fifteen hundred.

I had to take that last jab.

Love you pa,

Hecky