Thursday, July 24, 2014

Toddler’s Play – Butterfly Kiss

As a kid growing up in the 90s, my first recollection of summer vacation is a day of chasing dragonflies with my friends. The bratty-ones use to tie a thread on the tail of the flies (sounds brutal, I know)—they were the expert in the game—much-respected and lauded among their peers. Such was our obsession of catching the flies that even games like pitthu and hide-n-seek took a backseat that summer. We all use to start early so that we get enough flies to practice and master our art. Fast-forward today; my 2-year old first introduction to the concept of chase has come from Temple Run or Subway Surfers.

So, when few weeks back Israel-based director Elinor Agam Ben-David’s toddler play Butterfly Kiss came to Indian Habitat Center, Delhi, I knew that this was something I would never miss for life, for my sake as well as Aurko’s. The concept of toddler’s plays being non-existent in India, I was eager to find how would they be catch and hold the attention of 2-year old. 

The play narrates the tale of a young girl who catches butterflies in a jar and finally decides to set them free, but only after getting the last butterfly’s kiss. After watching the first scene, I knew that only a mother—who knows the psyche of a child—can come up with a concept so simple and innocent. The use of hand puppets, digital artwork and toys made the show visually appealing and interactive at the same time. 
The play was recited by this beautiful lone actor Hagar Tishman, who effortlessly formed a bond with the audience the moment she entered the stage. Dancing, playing and sharing butterflies, Tishman made sure that the backbenchers also get the same attention. The best part was kids were allowed to stand very close to the stage making them the participants. Alas! All of the kids in the front where way older then toddlers, but nonetheless the interaction was not limited to the front rows.

Now, how Aurko perceived the show is all together a different ball game. I would say the experience of sitting among 50 kids was something new to him. He was very coy and shy to start with, but warmed up to the show in the end, much to my surprise. It’s just a start for him; we are taking tiny steps now. Though, I have not seen a dragon fly in Delhi yet. I hope to find few butterflies in our small garden for him to chase. At the end of the show, we all received a handful of little butterflies, which the actress tapped on our cheeks—like a kiss.

Altogether, it was a wonderful experience, and something I would love to see again.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Can Women Have-It-All?

It seems, Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo has stirred up a hornet’s nest by claiming—women can’t have-it-all. Working women from all corners of life are now bashing her up for her brutal honesty. The first time when I read the interview, I was so taken by it that I shared it on Facebook right away. I loved her honesty when she claimed that there were times when she had been a bad mother—a term which I use every day for myself when I leave my 2-year old for office. For those who have been living under a rock, in the Aspen Ideas Festival when reporter David Bradley asked her the age-old question whether women can truly have it all, this was her response:

I don't think women can have it all. I just don't think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all... Every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother, in fact many times during the day you have to make those decisions... We plan our lives meticulously so we can be decent parents. But if you ask our daughters, I'm not sure they will say that I've been a good mom. I'm not sure.

I would call that impressive. Not just that, it also made me realize no one has it easy in life. I loved the fact that she gave us a peep into her life in not so many words. We working women are always facing this dilemma of how to attain a work-life balance. There are days when things are smooth, and then there are some when it could have been better. By accepting that probably she did not give enough time to her daughters while they were growing up is probably a reflection of a remorse that she maybe harbouring inside, or maybe not (I am not psychologist), but atleast she said it out loud. 

Besides this current jargon of having it all is all Hebrew to me. What defines having it all? That word is too idealistic to be true. We all know, career and motherhood can go hand-in-hand, our mothers had done it. There will always be glitches in life and every one faces it be it men or women, single or married, working-mom or homemaker. I am surprised with the people’s reaction. The hate blogs and articles that are cropping on the wake of this interview are mostly from working women—where they are boasting about how easily they have been managing both sides of the coin.

But when bloggers claim Nooyi is endorsing working woman as bad mothers, I vehemently disagree because her interview was an honest reflection of what she has to deal with, and how many times have we heard a person of her stature speak up about their shortcomings in such a matter-of-fact way (she could have said the same in guise of humor and satire). Her interview was not about the archaic war between stay-at-home and working moms.

Life is tough, and we are constantly making decisions and choices, sometimes we succeed, other times we fail, but in the process we grow as a human and try to survive each day the best we know how. The world is increasingly becoming less tolerant and opinionated. Let’s not shred someone for letting us peep into their life. Embrace it, take the good, eliminate the bad, and move on.