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The Theatre of Democracy

Saturday, March 6th, 2021

BY: ABHEESHEK DEV ROYE

“No pedagogy which is truly liberating can remain distant from the oppressed by treating them as unfortunates and by presenting for their emulation models from among the oppressors. The oppressed must be their own example in the struggle for their redemption” Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

The underprivileged, the ones in need, the ostracised corners of our chest-thumping and proud society, are the ones who primarily populate the streets of our country. While they may seem like silent observers, who should and must hold to the shorter end of the rope that we, the privileged, have so benevolently handed over to them, their voice is the pertinent sound you hear in many of the erstwhile and on-going protests in our Democracy, oft-cited as world’s largest. And what is a democracy without the freedom to express as one wants? Is Freedom of Speech too much for our thin skins? Are conferences, public speeches, Gram-sabhas, Nukkad-naataks, addas and the collective dissemination of ideologies, facts, fiction and the rest, a good way to give voice to the oppressed?

The answer to the latter question is perhaps a yes or a no. But what should be agreed upon by us now, is the role of street theatre and performances in a democracy like ours and around the globe.

Street theatre is intrinsically entwined into our culture and ethos. More than five thousand years ago, “Nritya” was a form of theatre that existed in our country when Sanskrit theatre was at its zenith. The dances conveyed a story, a morale or an ideology. At the same time, indigenous values and stories were spread in the rural corners of the country to keep communicate the ancient myths and stories of our rich culture. This kind of theatre is still prevalent in our country in the 21st century. I once happened to learn a lot more about Ramayan from a street play in Guptkashi, Uttarakhand than I could from reading my school books. These nukkad plays, or are a source of cultural enrichment and entertainment in the hinterlands of our primarily agrarian country. Not much unlike the Bhil tribes in the Aravalli hills of Udaipur district in Rajasthan, who put on a vigorous and colourful show during the months of July and August, celebrating Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in a festival known as Gavari.

Evening_Gavari_performance_at_Udaipur's_Gangaur_Ghat

Picture: An evening Gavari Performance in Udaipur

Source: W. David Kubiak, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Street theatre found its social and political clout in our country during the struggle against our Western colonisers. As the enlightened and educated citizens of pre-independent India grew more aware the barbaric and fascist British regime, they saw no clear opportunity to mobilise the nation through its innumerable newspapers and media outlets. The problem was (and ironically still is) the utter lack of education and literacy, further turned grim by the diversity in languages and cultures. Street plays offered direct participation, real-time reaction, and dialogue with the people. It seeded ideas into people’s heads, with simple plays of relatable struggles, pertinent issues of the society and effectively managed to communicate the need for action. Street theatre emerged as a potent medium to express and catalyse social transformation through participatory methods.

The women of the Garhwal tribe in their stance during the Chipko Andolan of 1973

Picture: The women of the Garhwal tribe in their stance during the Chipko Andolan of 1973

Source: Biswarup Ganguly, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Street Theatre on Domestic Violence, Chandigarh, India

   Picture: Street Theatre on Domestic Violence, Chandigarh, India

Source: Biswarup Ganguly, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Since then, Street plays in the rural areas of India are widely used by NGO’s and even Government Organizations to spread awareness about developmental programs, schemes, preventable ailments, Women’s health, Malnutrition and several other pertinent issues. Socio-political issues, which might sometimes alienate the common man in terms of jargon and understanding, are best displayed with flair, creativity and most importantly, engagement via impact, through street theatre. As Ryan Powers, an artist in Pandies Theatre opines, “it is inherent in any theatrical performance that you would want to identify with what is going on. That is where I think it is more powerful than a speech”

In any part of the world, an uprising against the mighty ills of the society or even against the ones in autocratic power, needs the mobilization of people, their collective empathy and conscience. While speeches can only tremble our inner compass, street theatre is what creates fodder for the mind and the hearts of the common man.

DIY of the Week – Indian Flag Paper Chain

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Republic Day is here, and we’ve got the perfect little projects for the young ones in the house to keep busy and create some decorations for the occasion. And the best part is that they’re super easy to do, and require very little supervision.

 

What You Need:

1. Construction paper sheets (in orange, white, and green, to match the colors of the flag)

2. Scissors

3. Blue marker

4. Glue stick or stapler

 

What To Do:

Step 1

Cut the papers in horizontal lengths (giving you strips of about two inches thickness) for each color.

Image Source - Putti's World

Image Source – Putti’s World

 

Step 2

At the center of each white strip, draw a circle with the blue marker, and then create lines going across diagonally within the circle, in the design of the Ashok Chakra.

Image Source - Putti's World

Image Source – Putti’s World

 

Step 3

Taking an orange strip, bring both ends together to create a loop with the strip and glue  or staple the ends together. Then, taking a white strip, pull it through the orange loop, and create and seal the white loop so that they are intertwined. Now take a green strip, and pulling it through the white loop, create and close the loop. Keep doing this (in the correct color sequence to mimic the flag) until you have the desired length of chain to hang up.

 

Happy Crafting and Happy Republic Day!

DIY of the Week – Paper Snowflakes

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

It’s almost Christmas, it’s definitely December, but cold weather doesn’t even seem to be on the calendar. Those of us in Mumbai are caught in heat, with an extra special dose of heightened humidity (WHY??). So we’re going to be a bit rebellious and just make our own snow to help put us in the mood. Don’t worry, we’re not at the “stick our head inside our refrigerators” stage (yet). We’re talking about paper snowflakes, of course. Of course. So let’s get started.

 

What You Need:

1. Paper (white, if you’re going for the pure snow look, or whatever else from wrapping paper, handmade paper, to even newspaper, if you’re going for a different vibe)

2. Scissors (small craft scissors would be better for intricate design cuts)

 

What To Do:

Step 1

Take your paper and fold over a corner to help you mark out an exact square, then cut off the extra paper, if any.

Image Source - Martha Stewart

Image Source – Martha Stewart

 

Step 2

Take the folded square, and fold over again, creating a smaller triangle.

Image Source - FirstPalette.com

Image Source – FirstPalette.com

 

Step 3

Imagine the twice-folded paper being in thirds, and fold one third to the front across the middle third, and the other end across the back of the middle third as shown in the picture below.

Image Source - Old Farmer's Almanac

Image Source – Old Farmer’s Almanac

 

Step 4

Trim the extra edges across the top of the folds. You can cut it straight across, at an angle, or in a circular cut, each type giving you a different general shape for your snowflake.

Image Source - FirstPalette.com

Image Source – FirstPalette.com

 

Step 5

Now comes the part for your creativity. Snip out little cuts here and there, creating your own design. Just make sure not to cut entire across. (To make it easier, you can trace out a design onto the paper before you cut, especially if you’re doing it for the first few times).

Image Source - FirstPalette.com

Image Source – FirstPalette.com

 

Step 6

Open open the paper folds to reveal your snowflake design. You’ll probably need to keep the opened snowflake under a heavy book initially to press out the fold, but once that’s done, you’re good to go.

Image Source - FirstPalette.com

Image Source – FirstPalette.com

 

These are great for decorating on windows and walls, or you could even hang them on floss string with a bit of glue at the tip. And they’re great alternatives to bows on your Christmas gifts too!

 

Happy Decorating!

DIY of the Week – Button Cluster Key Ring

Monday, September 16th, 2019

Mondays might suck, but not here! Why not, you ask. Because we start our week with some great creativity. And because it’s Monday, we’ll even go easy on you. Check out how to make your very own customized key ring, and using things you’ll easily find around the house, stuck at the back of a random drawer.

 

What You Need:

  1. A Key ring
  2. Jump rings
  3. Small assorted buttons (ensure that the gap between the hole and the edge is smaller than your jump rings)
  4. 2 Pliers
Image Source - Pinterest

Image Source – Pinterest

 

What To Do:

Step 1

Using the pliers, open the jump ring and push a button through, and follow through with one chain of the key ring. Then close the jump ring.

Image Source - Sew Very Crafty

Image Source – Sew Very Crafty

 

Step 2

Repeat with more buttons, altering where on the chain you are placing them.

PRO TIP – You can add charms here and there for added, well, charm.

Image Source - Button Bothy

Image Source – Button Bothy

Step 3

You’re pretty much done. No, seriously. That’s it.

 

Have a fantastically creative week!

DIY of the Week – CD Wall Art

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Technology has really (I mean really) changed over the last decade or two. Those born in the eighties can easily attest that they’ve seen music technology go through so many changes that it’s making our collective heads spin. From gramophones, to cassette players, boomboxes, CD players, walkmans and diskmans, to mp3 players and iPods, from mix tapes to compilation CDs, and now to online streaming apps. What a roller-coaster ride it has been!

Image source - Boredom Therapy

Image source – Boredom Therapy

One sad fallout of the quick changes has certainly been that our storage areas now have boxes full of old audio cassettes and CDs. So how about we show you how to turn those old CDs into some quick wall art!

 

What you need:

1. Old CDs

2. Black acrylic paint (or any dark color of your choice)

3. Paintbrush

4. Sharp metal object (flat screwdrivers are perfect for this)

5. Pencil

Image source - Boredom Therapy

Image source – Boredom Therapy

 

What to do:

Step 1

Paint the entirety of the bottom side of the CD with your black paint. (The bottom side has a wonderful shine that reflects well in light, and that is why we use this side). Ensure a nice and thick coat of paint. Feel free to do a second coat, as this will help later.

Image source - DIY Ideas Craft

Image source – DIY Ideas Craft

 

Step 2

Once the paint has completely dried, trace out designs of your choice on the paint. You can draw anything you like, including tribal designs, flowers, musical notes, or even write out a message or names of family members.

Image source - fabartdiy

Image source – fabartdiy

 

Step 3

Trace over your pencil design with the screwdriver, scratching off the layer of paint to reveal the shine of the CD underneath. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, otherwise you’ll damage the shine of the CD. You can play with the thickness of the scratches you make, to add dimension to your design.

Image source - fabartdiy

Image source – fabartdiy

 

Step 4

Stick them finished CDs on the wall directly using sticking strips or wall tac. You can even put them in frames and hung them up that way.

Image source - Pinterest

Image source – Pinterest

 

Et voila! Your very own customized art piece is ready to be shown off!

 

Happy crafting!

DIY of the Week – Felt Christmas Tree Decorations

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

With Christmas just around the corner, even we can’t help getting into the spirit. Along with being a time of celebration and family, it’s also a time for decorations, gifting, and of course, rum cake! And we all do love our rum cake, don’t we?

But we digress. This week’s DIY is right on time for Christmas. We’re making Christmas tree decorations from felt. They’re cute, they’re simple, and you can easily keep them hanging around the house all year long.

Image source - Crafthubs

Image source – Crafthubs

 

What you need:

1. Felt fabric in the colors of your choice

2. Scissors

3. Needle and thread (of contrasting color from the felt)

4. Cotton for stuffing

 

What to do:

Step 1

Take the sheet of felt, and cut out a Christmas tree shape. You can use any template you find online, or cut it free hand, but make sure to cut two identical pieces, as these will form the tree hanger.

Image source - Crafted

Image source – Crafted

 

Step 2

Thread the needle and make simple star-shaped embroidery. Basically, make a plus sign, and super-impose this with a cross sign, as shown in the figure below. Try it a few times on some scrap cloth, then proceed to make some scattered over the cut tree shapes.

Image source - The Spruce Crafts

Image source – The Spruce Crafts

 

Step 3

Once a sufficient number of star patterns are on the two pieces, stitch closed the edges together, leaving the bottom section open. Through this section, push in the stuffing little by little, till the tree looks slightly padded. Don’t over-stuff it, as it won’t end up looking as delicate as you’d like. Once done, finish off the stitch to close the opening.

Image source - Crafted

Image source – Crafted

 

Step 4

Make as many more of these as you’d like. You can go for different shapes, different types of embroidery, and even mix it up with layers of felt, for different designs.

Image source - Rickshaw Bazaar

Image source – Rickshaw Bazaar

Image source - FamilyHoliday.net

Image source – FamilyHoliday.net

 

Happy Tree Decorating!

DIY of the Week – Tangle-Free Earphones

Monday, November 12th, 2018

We love listening to music, and we know you do too! And while you’ll never see any of us travelling without our trusty earphones, we can all agree that they can be a real pain to dig out of a bag, only to have to spend 5 minutes just untangling them.

But what if we told you that you no longer needed to worry about ever having to untangle your earphones ever again!! (And no, the solution is not to just stop using them. We would never suggest that.)

With a little bit of embroidery thread, some patience, not only get to completely customize those earphones, but you also never have to struggle with ‘The Great Untangling Mess’ again! (Well, at least until you change your earphones.)

 

What you need:

1. Your favorite pair of earphones (you can also do this with headphone or even charger wires)

2. Measuring tape or a ruler

3. Embroidery thread in the colors or shades you prefer (read Step 1 and Pro Tip at the end before purchasing)

4. Tape

5. Clear nail polish (optional, but suggested)

Image Source - Fashionlush

Image Source – Fashionlush

 

What to do:

Step 1

Measure the length of the entire wire, ensuring that you count each end of the earphones separately. Take at least three times the length of wire measured for each color/shade of thread.

Image Source - Refinery29

Image Source – Refinery29

 

Step 2

Tape one ear bud, or the end plug to a table’s edge so that it doesn’t shift, leaving both hands free for handling the thread. Select the thread colors you wish to use to create your design (you can use from 2 to 4 complementary or contrasting colors, or even use several shades of the same color). Tie one end of each of the selected threads on the wire and push it all the way to the edge, to ensure a tight weave.

Image Source - wikiHow

Image Source – wikiHow

 

Step 3

Once ready, fan out the wire and threads from the knot, and taking the first color (placed on the left side), lay it loosely across the wire and other threads, taking it towards the right side, then loop it around them as a bunch, finally bringing it back to the left side by pulling it through the loop created between the starting point and the wire and threads you went around. Keep repeating this with the same thread until you achieve the desired length, before changing colors/shades. To change, simply pull the desired next color’s thread to the extreme left and then begin with that color. Don’t loose patience. It’ll be slow going for the first few knots, but your hands will eventually pick up their own rhythm and speed.

Image source - Pinterest

Image source – Pinterest

 

Step 4

Once finished, tie off the ends real tight. Make sure that you have taken the knots to the extreme end, to ensure that the weave doesn’t loose tightness.

 

Step 5

Using clear nail polish, lightly coat the end knots to seal them, so that threads don’t fray or the knots don’t loosen. This will help with ensuring that your weave doesn’t unravel.

Image source - Sarah Skeen

Image source – Sarah Skeen

 

And voila! You no longer have to untangle your earphone wires ever again!

Image source - campingplatz

Image source – campingplatz

 

Pro Tip 1:

Instead of using several colors or shades, and alternating between them at regular intervals, you can easily use variegated thread (single thread that has 2 or more colors mixed in) for a cool and effortless design.

Image source - ausbeta.com

Image source – ausbeta.com

 

Pro Tip 2:

If you want to add a little extra glam to your earphones, you can thread in small charms at regular intervals.

Image source - AliExpress

Image source – AliExpress

 

Happy Listening!

DIY of the Week – Paint Your Own Diyas

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

Here’s wishing you all a very Happy Diwali from all of us at NSPA!!

Image Source - Beauty Tips

Image Source – Beauty Tips

For this week’s DIY of the project, we’re going to be hand-painting our diyas to jazz and glam them up, right in time for tonight’s festivities. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

 

What you need:

Image Source - BaazKart

Image Source – BaazKart

1. Diyas (plain ones are fine, but get self design ones if you want to go the extra mile)

2. Paintbrushes (1 thick one for painting the base, 1 thin one for designing)

3. Paints (pearl color shades will really pop as they have a metallic shine to them)

4. Gem stickers (optional)

 

What to do:

Step 1

Once you’ve bought the diyas, put them in a clean bucket and soak for a minimum of 20 minutes. This will help dislodge any dirt or loose clay, ensuring a smooth paint job.

Image Source - YouTube

Image Source – YouTube

 

Step 2

Lay them out over an old newspaper to dry. You’ll get quick results by putting them in direct sunlight, but if that’s not an option, put them under the fan at full speed. If you’re really short on time, you can always use a hairdryer.

 

Step 3

Pick a color for the base, and paint the entire bottom section of the diya, leaving it upside down to dry. Repeat for all diyas.

 

Step 4

Now paint the front portions of the diya. If there is no design, you can paint them in plain colors, with maybe a contrasting color for the rims, or even create your own designs, like in the picture below.

Image Source - YouTube

Image Source – YouTube

 

Step 5

This step is optional, but if you want to add some extra pizzazz to your diya, you can use colored gem stickers and stick them in a few spots coordinating with the design of the diya. This will give a bit of additional sparkle to your final design.

Image Source - Shop - Home Marrow

Image Source – Shop – Home Marrow

 

Happy Diwali everyone!!

DIY of the Week – Gift Bags

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

The ‘Holiday Season’ is here and upon us in all its glory. Yes, with Garba in full swing, and Ravan knocking at our doors (only to be vanquished, poor lad), it is officially the season of lights, sweets, and yes, of course, gifts. And with family members, and friends, and co-workers to hunt up little knick-knacks for, wouldn’t be nice if you could find a pretty, but cheap way to jazz up your delivery of said gift? Well, don’t worry, over the next few weeks, we’ll help you out with some cool gift wrapping and presenting ideas that will be straight from the heart.

This week, we’re looking to make these pretty and vibrant gift bags. And the best part? You can make these in various sizes and colors, and well in advance (you can even start now), and just stick in the gift once you buy it, instead of painstakingly wrapping each individual item last minute. So let’s begin!

 

Image Source - Gift Ideas

Image Source – Gift Ideas

 

What you need:

1. Wrapping paper (we suggest using actual the paper sheets, not only are they sturdier than the plastic wrap ones, they’re also more eco-friendly)

2. Scissors

3. Tape or glue

4. Hole puncher

5. Ribbon or Jute string

 

What to do:

Step 1

Lay the decided size of paper design side down. Now fold in one side towards the center, and the fold the other side with a little overlapping on the first fold. Tape to hold in place as in the photo.

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

 

Step 2

Now fold over the bottom section. This is the part we will convert into our bag’s base.

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

 

Step 3

Separating the edges of the folded over bottom edge from the center, fold in the sides as shown in the photo below.

Image Source - Pinterest

Image Source – Pinterest

 

Step 4

Now take the protruding sections one at a time, and fold the first down towards the center line, folding the other one up, slightly overlaying it to strengthen grip. Tape along the joint.

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

 

Step 5

Open out the bag, and now fold inwards lightly the side sections (you might have seen these folds in all paper bags). These will help your bag maintain shape.

Image Source - City Kitty

Image Source – City Kitty

 

Step 6

Take the hole puncher and punch two equidistant holes for your handles in each of the wider top sections of your bag. Cut two lengths of ribbon or string to make your handles. Knot the end of one ribbon or string, pull it outwards from one hole and back into the other of the same side, knotting from the inside. Repeat on the other side.

Image Source - The Penny Hoarder

Image Source – The Penny Hoarder

 

And there you go! Your handmade gift bag is all ready!

 

Pro Tip:

You can make super kitschy looking bags by being creative with your choice of paper. You can use handmade or textured paper, your very own handmade marbled paper (remember how we learned how to here), jazz up plain paper with paints, washi tape, or bows, and even use the comic section of newspapers (looks real good too). It’s all up to your imagination!

Image Source - yourstruly.com

Image Source – yourstruly.com

 

Happy gifting!

DIY of the Week – The Easiest Bird Feeder Ever!

Monday, October 8th, 2018

It’s Monday! And so, we’re back again with a brand new DIY project. This week, we’re going to learn how to make the easiest ever bird feeder in the history of DIY bird feeders ever! (OK, so we might be a little over enthusiastic about how easy this one is to make, but we’re not kidding about how easy it really is)

So, let’s get started then!

 

What you need:

1. Cardboard egg box

2. Scissors

3. Jute thread

4. Bird feed

Image source - Homemade Bird Food

Image source – Homemade Bird Food

 

What to do:

Step 1

Carefully cut the top half of the egg carton off, and proceed to make four small holes in each of the corners of the remaining bottom portion.

Image source - Pbs,org

Image source – Pbs,org

 

Step 2

Run the string through each of the four holes, leaving enough length to hang over a tree branch, and tie together at the top.

 

Step 3

Fill each egg compartment with the assorted bird seed.

Image source - DIY Health Academy

Image source – DIY Health Academy

 

Step 4

Head outside and hang your bird feeder. Ideal location would be on a tree branch, but if you don’t have a tree right near your house, you can even hang it in your balcony, or off the grill outside your kitchen window.

Image source - Homemade Bird Food

Image source – Homemade Bird Food

 

And there you go! See? We weren’t exaggerating about the simplicity of this project.

Image source - greendiary.com

Image source – greendiary.com