Thursday, October 2, 2008

Drawbridge Puppet Theater

Sleeping Beauty - proclaimed my daughter. That was the puppet show that she wanted to be staged when she called a few of her friends to yet another celebration of her 5th birthday. We have attended shows at the Drawbridge Puppet Theater earlier - Pinnochio and Red Riding Hood and have come away smiling and in awe. The shows are simply wonderful. Marionettes, Shadow puppets, Hand puppets - a medley of techniques used to create an enchanted hour.

But let us talk about the Sleeping Beauty Show itself. It was done so dramatically, and so interactively, the kids loved it and I suspect the adults were quite a bit mesmerized ! The fairy godmothers glided in and out and there was appropriate thunder and lightning with the appearance of the evil witch. There were some entertaining improvisations which included "You've got mail" announcements from the witch's crystal ball. It was quite impressive to see the marionettes face move along with the appropriate words - obviously ventriloquism was involved. The Princess herself was dressed beautifully and the Prince no less handsome. The dragon was stupendous and may have actually stolen the show.....The kids especially loved the backstage tour where they saw the puppets lined up to present their lines.

But that's not all. The hospitality of Paul and Dale were unsurpassed. They were so helpful with every little thing, it was almost like having a party at home - without cleanup involved! We are indeed thankful to them for such a smooth yet fun party hosting experience. Not to forget the food, other than hors d'oeuvres and other tidbits that we got from home, pizza was ordered from Center Pizza from across the street. I was a bit peeved by a "delivery charge" but the pizzas were humongous (32 slices each) and simply cheesy and delicious. The Theater also has a very cute gift shop where puppets of all shapes and sizes are available at extremely reasonable prizes. The kids picked some finger puppets to practice at home.

I do recommend all who are even a bit interested in taking their kids (or themselves) to a puppet show to try out this authentic old-style theater that produces some very entertaining shows.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Where the mind is without fear .....

This day in 1947, India gained her independence from more than 300 years of British Rule. Also on this day, the subcontinent was divided into 2 countries on a religious basis, and 8 million people had to leave their homes and relocate. It was day to rejoice but unfortunately freedom came at a price that summer in 1947.

Today, after so many years it is still a day to realize how lucky we are to be free, makers of our own destiny to be a sovereign democratic people. But it is also a day to look deeply ourselves and consider our achievements. Of what we could be. Of what we are capable of. Are we today what was dreamt by those selfless people so many decades ago, giving their lives for a free India, for a free world ? Their hopes to gift their children a world where they can walk with heads held high ?

Freedom is just not about an external entity, it is also freedom of our minds, freedom from within ............

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow
domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought
and action--
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

-- Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali)

Original in Bangla

Chitta jetha bhoyshunyo, Uchcha jetha shir
Gyan jetha mukto, jetha griher prachir
Apan prangantoley dibash sharbari
Basudharey rakhey nai khondo khudro kori
Jetha bakya hridayer utshomukh hotey
Uchchhashia uthey, jetha nirbarito srotey
deshey deshey dishey dishey kormodhara dhaay
ojosro shohosrobidho choritarthotaay
Jetha tuchchho acharer morubalurashi
Bicharer srotophol pheleynai grashi
Pourusherey oreni shotodha, Nityo jetha
tumi shorbo kormo chinta anander neta
Nijo hostey nirdoy aghaat kori, Pito,
Bharaterey shei shorgey koro jagroto .

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sun Microsystems & Bollywood

July 4th announces an event which I am very interested in - on 2 counts - it is the premier of India's first major sci-fi movie and the technology has been provided by Sun Microsystems.

It is a fairly new concept in Bollywood which thrives on raw talent with majority of its audience expecting quality performances by the artists and actors. The fact that studios like WETA and John Cox have been involved raises my expectations considerably and I can't wait to see what the movie has to offer as far as special effects. Meanwhile I also hope that they did not neglect the story line in their . I notice the presence of a computer generated teddy (pink!) and there seems to be a robot involved.

For now I can only wait and eventually watch ......

Sun technology partnerhsip for India's first major sci-fi movie Love Story

From the "The Hindu":

Sun Micro provides special effects tech platform for ‘Love Story 2050’ :

Bangalore, June 13 Sun Microsystems has announced that it is the technology partner for the sci-fi Hindi movie Love Story – 2050.
Sun has provided the technical platform to create special effects for this movie directed by Mr Harry Baweja, starring his son Harman Baweja, along with actors Priyanka Chopra and Boman Irani.
The post-production and visual effects have been done at studios such as WETA (behind movies like Lord of the Rings and King Kong), John Cox, Rising Sun Pictures (Harry Potter and Superman Returns) and Prime Focus India.
The Sun brand also appears in Love Story through some in-film placements. The movie releases on July 4.
Mr K.P. Unnikrishnan, Director – Marketing, Alliances and Teleweb Sales, said, “Technology forms the foundation of sci-fi films. Hence, the need to get the technology right is of utmost importance for the creators of special effects and animation for these films.
“Today, technological advancements are allowing filmmakers not just in Hollywood but also back home to experiment by opening up and enabling a world of possibilities for story-telling in cinema.”
Sun has worked with Hollywood on animation movies such as Barnyard and Big Buck Bunny. Love Story – 2050 is Sun’s first association with an Indian movie.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A new Rapunzel - By my daughter Aishani

Tonight, after the 3rd storybook was read (yes, we did set a limit of 2 but ....) my 4 year old pleaded for another story - to be told by mommy storyteller. So I started with Rapunzel. Now, I am a bit guilty of converting the everyday fairy tale into a "story with a moral" and the moral usually hovers around " Always stay with mommy and daddy" or " Don't talk to strangers" or "Never Lie". Actually I have gotten pretty good at it and I glibly add bits here and there as to how the fairy or princess wandered too far or even spoke to the evil witch and consequently bad things happened.

Anyways, as usual I digress. My daughter insisted that she there was another story about Rapunzel and this how it went :

Rapunzel wandered away from home and reached the airport in Boston. She was on one side and her parents were on the other side and so they could not meet. She went into the wrong plane and sat on the wrong seat and reached the wrong destination. But as she was walking on the wrong side she suddenly found that her mom and dad were on her side and they hugged each other. Then they ran home. The End.

She told the tale joyously. I noticed the quite apparent absence of "hair", "witch", "tower" or "prince" which I tend to relate with Rapunzel. She insisted on the part when they all ran home. I actually checked with her since that was quite intriguing. So there, my little daughter's first very own story and hopefully there will be very many more to come. And hopefully mom and dad will still have some leading roles.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bitter Sweets

The striking red Sari on the cover of the book caught my eye as I was checking out yet another set of Childrens Books at my local library. Having given up the right to wander anywhere away from the Kids Section since my daughter turned 2, I seized this oppurtunity and picked up the book hoping that the contents will be as appealing as the cover.

The men are the victims in Roopa Farooki's novel "Bitter Sweets". People come and go with disturbing speed and their stay within the pages tend to be abrupt and unconvincing. The book spans across 3 generations of characters each with his/her own quota of vague secrets . However the reader aka me in this case, is left with a vague feeling of mistrust since one really does not get the chance to know any of the characters in depth.

Story starts with Henna's father who has been more or less blamed for the errors made by all following descendents in the family tree. But that is the only time one hears about him - although he is the lone male species who has not been victimised in this story. So Henna and Ricky unites and Shona is born, Shona and Parvez unites and Omar and Sharif are born. Omar and Jim, Sharif and Candida unites respectively. And then there is Verity, Dermont, Uncle Aziz, Mother Karim all hovering around these many main characters.

To sum it all, a book with an interesting story (After all I did read it in 3 days which says much when you have a 4 month and a 4 year old) but a ghastly habit of jumping from people to people, places to happenings, starting one thing without finishing another gives the reader a frustrating feeling of incompleteness. Most disconcerting is the underlying disturbing belief of the novel that we will always repeat the mistakes that our parents did, that our individual sense of morality is completely and irrevocably dependent on that of our parents even if we are repulsed by the same values.

Author website -