I’ve rarely interacted with children. Apart from the ‘so cute’ and ‘she is so adorable’, I haven’t said much to them. All this changed last week as I spent two awesome (and exhausting) days organizing the puppet making workshop. The tiny tots (aged 6-12 years) surprised me in every way possible. From correcting my facts on the Ramayana to getting the artisan make T-Rex dinosaur puppets, they gave me more than I gave them. If only we exposed our young generation to more such crafts. I am doubly sure that we will have designers, doctors and engineers who appreciate the innate wisdom in traditional Indian ways.

The workshop was held at Tharangini. A quaint little place at Sadashivnagar in Bangalore just on the banks of Sankey tank is home to a beautiful block printing workshop and a little hut-like place to conduct workshops for children. We started the workshop with a brief on the craft (click here to read more), introduced the artisans to the children and showed them a small presentation on where the craft originates, some pictures of the village, etc.

A lamp made by one of the participants

The children then set off drawing fishes, peacocks, etc that they decorated/filled in traditional Charmakari form. We gave them various forms and explained the process in each. Once they were confident of the shapes, we gave them each a piece of leather. The final design was etched on the leather and the kids were given an option of making puppets or a lamp. The most critical part of puppet making is punching. Holes are punched to let the light pass through. Here the punching was done by the kids with our help. The children painted beautifully, taking cues from the artisans and the various puppets hanging around.

We ended the workshop with a little puppet show depicting a scene from the Ramayana.

Working with kids is a lot different from working with adults. Though Nisha, my associate in Bangalore and a mother of two warned me about the exhaustion, I am grateful for all her help and wisdom. She knew the right answers to their questions!

So at the end of it all, the kind of ideas and questions that young minds throw up make me wonder if all our learning was worth it. They are far more intelligent than I can ever be now that I am so educated :)

 

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