Sunday, 16 July 2017

Puppets and Parkinson

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder affecting patients in large numbers throughout the world.

Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a common degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, in which the movement-regulating cells of the brain get disabled, leading to tremors, slowed movement, balance problems, speech and behaviour changes. The main impediment in managing the disease comes from lack of awareness, feel doctors. However, "Advances in diagnosis and treatment have changed the outlook for these patients,"-Dr. Rukmini  Mridula of NIMS, Hyderabad.

The annual mortality rate per 100,000 people from Parkinson disease in India has increased by 87.9% since 1990, an average of 3.8% a year (2010 statistic report).
People affected by Parkinson disease may develop various symptoms including tremor, stiffness or rigidity in their legs and arms, slowness of movements and /or imbalance. In the early stages there may be a slight shaking of hands or walking difficulty that is barely noticeable. Over time the symptoms may become more pronounced resulting in unclear speech and varied physical disability. Parkinson usually develops in people over the age of 60 years. The risk of developing Parkinson increases with age. It affects both men and women. Rarely Parkinson disease develops in people at 40 years or so – called young onset Parkinson disease.

Parkinson disease is a Movement Disorder. It results from loss of brain cells (neurons) in an area of brain called the the substatianigra , that modulates movements. The cells of substantianigra involved in Parkinson disease produce a chemical called dopamine. Deficiency of dopamine is believed to be responsible for most of the symptoms of Parkinson disease.

Warning signs of Parkinson
  • Shaking (tremor) of hand or leg
  • Loss of facial expressions or poker face
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle ache
  • Decreased speed in walking
  • Difficulty in getting in and out of a car
  • Difficulty in turning while walking
  • Leg getting “stuck”
  • Fear of falls while walking or unprovoked falls
  • Slowness of daily activities, for instance dressing, bating, eating

 Well, in the journey Sphoorthi Theatre called to conducted a 3-Day workshop for Parkinson Disease Patients from July 10-12, 2017 at Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences-NIMS 

All the participants eagerly participated during the workshop and made socks puppet and Bunruku style newspaper puppets. 

These puppets will help them to give good hand exercise, speech exercise and also walking. On the whole a good companion who can be  apart of their treatment  along with medication and physiotherapy.  


The puppet making workshop involved in
  • Eyebrow raising/frowning - lift your eyebrows to look surprised.
  •  Motor movements, such as walking
  •  Frown creasing your forehead towards your eyes.
  • Yawning - Yawn dramatically
  • Smiling - try smiling with your lips open, and then try again with your lips closed.
  • opening of mouth and closing.

It was wonderful to watch an artist Mr. Murugan, who thoroughly enjoyed all the three days by making different kinds of Puppets. Mr. Murugan- the 'Hero' of the workshop.

It was really touching to see brother assisting sister in puppet making,  wife assisting husband, son assisting father and mother.

It's was a great learning not only about the disease but about the missing human touch relationship. and 'Human Life'.

Unfortunately, no print media covered good informative article about the Parkinson disease.  Though The Hindu newspaper Hyderabad edition

Friday, 2 June 2017

Womb Paradise--A Poem

The withering womb,

Cried a loud and outburst;

Holding and breathing my breathe,

To welcome the love trust;

To the unseen, unheard world of,

Beauty, care and love;

Realized my love lost trust,

Arranged for the crush;

Of the new life in my life,

Unfortunately no tag of wife;

Pain of pleasure increased in vain,

Now banished and bane;

The stretcher bed pulls the stretch marks,

My cry falls dead on ears and the mouth barks;

I nourished and nurtured my womb,

With love stories buried beneath the tombs;

Sadly washed out in the hospital room,

The promises and the oath taken;

Under the holy cross,

Makes no difference of my loss;

The mother in me with the hands pleading,

Not to kill my life yet bleeding;

For sure my love with sign of relief,

With no more hassles and grief;

Looked in my eyes,

Not bothered if the die;

Yet another morning, another sun rise and another life,

Just need a woman beside not a wife;

Flamed eyes looked in despise,

For the sake of false fame;

My life within me made a sacrifice,

How can a betrayer in love ever know?

The value of life growing within the Womb Paradise!!!


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

To Catch The Glimpse Of The Prince - A Poem

Twilight set in the horizon,
Filled with happiness for a reason,
Dressed in ethnic Elizabethan,
Looked through the opening of the window,
Far stretched sight crossing meadows,
For all that I longed for
To catch the glimpse of the Prince
About whom I dream day-in and out.

Gentle breeze passing by gently,
Filling the air fragrance of budding mango shoots,
Joy news of orange spread in the West,
Mustard flowers get the marigold look,
Birds returning back to their nest,
Blazing sun going down to rest,
To catch the glimpse of the Prince
About whom I dream day-in and out

Women fetching water at the well,
Rumbling sound of glass bangles,
Dancing sound of wind chimes,
Rhythmic sound of temple bells,
Pounding sound of turmeric,
Cracking sound of nutcrackers,
Buzzing sound of bees
Held my breathe high,
To catch the glimpse of the Prince
About whom I dream day-in and out

Threshold decorated with mango leaves,
Gardens filled with marigold fields,
Earthen lamps lit by eves,
To welcome the dusk with amusement feast,
All dance to the thundering sound of drum beats,
Children jump high hearing the paddling sound of horse riders,
Crossing my fingers and shedding tears of joy,
To catch the glimpse of the Prince
About whom I dream day-in and out.

Blissful evening turns into the stormy night,
Hounding sound of wolves pricking fright,
Surrounded by the fortress of clouds,
Full moon up in the sky,
Appear like a shroud with a corpse,
Calling for the crowd,
To witness the harshness of my love,
Sent as a reward,
By the envious with whom he fought,
Courageous, brave and vigilant,
Stabbed mercilessly in the back
Cruel, unkind and coward-as they were,
Tears that flow down the cheeks,
Without my eyes noticing it,
My love, my life buried along
With the dreams I carried lifelong…..
To catch the glimpse of the Prince
About whom I dream day-in and out

Monday, 29 May 2017

O' Death!!!-A Poem

The prick of unbearable loss of loved ones;

Is more painful than the prick of a needle,

The suffering that one under goes;

Makes a strong one also feeble,

The heart stops in jiffy;

The mind acts like iffy,

Day before the loss looks clear and bright;

All of a sudden the onset of gloomy night,

Blown out roof, worn out kitchen;

All that pitch in,

Friends and relatives;

Pat on back,

Mom and Dad lay in ice pack;

Left only with questions with no answers,

It’s all the game of cancer;

Why me?? Why only me??

All pass through the stage,

In turns, it is they or we;

Thank the eyes that weep on the departure of dear ones,

What if I go…..

Will there be any eye to weep for me????


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Gammat Jammat Events Dolls conference in Pune

When asked to name the Puppeteers or puppet practitioners from Maharashtra, you get to hear only the present day well known practitioners like Meena Naik- an Indian actress, director, writer and puppeteer from Mumbai or Ramdas Padhye- an Indian ventriloquist, puppeteer and puppet-maker who has 40 plus years of experience.

Little when further interrogated then  about Shri Vishnu Das Bhave -and Ganpat Sakhram Masge (Sangeet Nattak Academy Awardee 2005)-the traditional puppeteers (can also refer to my previous blogpost on “Kalasutri Bahuliya and Chamdyacha Bahuliya-traditional puppet forms of Maharashtra”

Shri Vishnu Das Bhave well known as father of Marathi Theatre is multi-facet personality-Engineer, poet, puppeteer and scrupulous crafts man.  Got to know in one of the theatre conferences that the 150 years old puppets of Vishnu Das Bhave traveled to Mr. Ramdas Padhye through a  known source for revival of the traditional Maharashtra  Kalasutri Bahulya-String Puppets. Source: (

I congratulate Shri Ramdas Padhye and his whole family for taking this initiating and restoring the traditional puppet art of Maharashtra.

In 2012, I conducted Puppetry workshop for Lalit Kala Kendra-Theatre department students of Pune University. During my conversation with Prof. Praveen Bhole, I encountered that Puppetry is lost in Maharashtra excepting two persons who are still continuing some activities in the name of Puppets in Maharashtra.

A couple of years back when  I received a telephone call from Times of India, Pune office inquiring me about the contact details of Puppeteers in Pune. I could refer two names: Ranjana Kelkar and Mridula Kelkar. ( )

Well, now you can ask me how did I know these two names?? It’s was during a cultural meet I encountered these names.

Then, I do frequently receive phones calls from Pune and other regions of Maharashtra state enquiring about Puppetry course.

This also made me wonder, are they only four contemporary people doing puppetry or puppetry related stuff in Maharashtra.

I was fortunate enough to participate in first of its kind in Maharashtra State, India- "Gammat Jammat Events Pahaliya Bahulya Natyamahostav -Gammat Jammat Events Dolls conference held in Pune on May 9, 2017.

This dolls festival which was more of ventriloquist kind and less of a true puppets play. An open platform of puppeteers, ventriloquist, mime, magicians, theatre practitioners and event managers.

Surprised to see a gathering of 40-50 performers-mostly ventriloquist and magicians with their respective talking dolls mostly made by Mr. Krishnaji Gode who is an expert in building various kinds of talking dolls.

The hall lined up on both sides with various kinds of stick and glove puppets majority of them made out of paper mache head.

Smt. Sandhya Sabane of Pune is into Puppetry for the last 30 years. She uses Puppetry to teach government school Marathi medium students and also works with two NGOs who in turn work with Slum children. Hardly anyone knows her.

It was nice to see Sandhya Ma’am with a Ganesha string puppet that she carried along and presented a Ganesh Vandana as a mark of inaugural.

A school teacher Ms. Deepali Babhulkar from Amaravati, Maharshtra who received her basic training in puppetry course form Centre for Cultural Resource and Training CCRT, New Delhi has taken up puppetry to her heart and conducts workshops and training sessions regularly. She also gives performance. More effectively, she uses puppets in her own school as a teaching aid.

Then there was another school teacher Mr. Dinesh Salunke who is a drawing and art teacher. He had mastered Katputli style of Puppets of Rajasthan and gives performances. 2016 he participated and represented India in International Puppet Festival held in Poland.

On the whole, there is no dearth of artists in Maharashtra. Maharashtra state is well known for rich folk arts, theatre performances and plays. In spite of being very close to Mumbai city and influence of Bollywood on one side and various T.V channels hub on the other, still people of Maharashtra respect and like to watch live play performances.

Maybe Puppetry in true form may not be visible, but it’s still alive along with other folk arts and theatre arts. A group of women who are quite active in theatre and mono acting have taken up puppetry. They engage storytelling with puppets and puppets shows for children. They also collaborate with event managers and do puppet shows for birthday parties and stuff. Hence, Puppetry is visible under events more than as an art.

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