Surrealism as the means of escape in Girish Karnad’s Hayavadana and Naga-Mandala

It is very easy to remain in the pragmatic world of apparent realities. Seeing is believing but if this were the ultimate truth, people would never have felt the need to escape the bondage of the so called empirical reality and plunge into a land of possibilities which does not comply with the parameters of tangible realism and yet has immense possibilities of excavating the depths of inner human psyche within which lies the unadulterated truth of their lives. What is the reason for the real world often becoming fake when it comes to projecting human conscience? It is because reality occludes people from presenting themselves as they are with their personal beliefs founded on unconventional notions that more often than not disregard the fundamental principles of propriety or righteous behaviour assigned to them. Girish Karnad’s plays Hayavadana and Naga-Mandala explore deep recesses of human conscience that often remained unexplored by practical human efforts.

In Hayavadana, Padmini’s secret desire is that she wants a man with a sound brain and a good physique instead of a weakly built Devadatta, her husband. In Naga-Mandala, Rani’s secret desire is that she desires a loving man in her life instead of the tyrant husband she has in reality. Both these heroines are essentially tabooed by the society from expressing their wants openly and they are intelligent enough to comprehend the fact that crossing the boundaries of morality for them both would typify them as adulteresses. It is therefore that another world altogether different from the real one is recreated by both these women in which their desires are met, rather subtly but conspicuously. Moreover, despite the fact that they manage to fulfil their wants, they aren’t stereotyped as illicit or wrong in their conduct. This is the speciality of their created worlds that are far removed from the realistic life.

Padmini’s world includes Kali, the goddess who wakes up suddenly from her sleep and grants her the incredible boon of a man with brain and brawn. This is actually impossible in reality. Nonetheless, when we read the play or watch it, we accept this improbability whole heartedly as we are somewhere aware that the deliberate use of surrealistic setting acts as an apt device to counter our expectations of a ‘good Indian woman’ who is known for her strong ethical values. When Kali makes an impossible phenomenon a reality with her trick Padmini does not have two men but has only one man with two distinct qualities of two men. This apparently magical reality is accepted readily by the us because we are indoctrinated so strongly to accept anomaly in imagination but not in our reality. It is therefore that educated readers and audiences of the play do not dismiss the story as absurd or unreal because there is no need for providing any official approval to the heroine for her conduct of desiring intelligent Devadattta and the able bodied Kapila as she has them both in one man because of a divine intervention. We are practically saved, I would say, from the onus of giving our opinions on the legitimacy of the choice. Similarly, when Rani makes love to a serpent disguised as her own husband in Naga-Mandala, we are absolutely free from being judgmental about her in any sense of the word. Rani is shown as an innocent village girl who hardly has the calibre to deduce the reality of the man who appears to her every night in the guise of her husband. It is so comfortable for the proponents of morality to convince themselves that Rani is to be acquitted from the blame of fornication. Thus, surreal acts as the device of escaping reality that is stringent and demands an absolute insistence on ethical conduct. While we know that Rani has a tyrant husband who does not love her and the serpent has brought a lot of love to her, we cannot apparently approve this extra-marital relationship of her. Nevertheless, it becomes a lot easier to bypass the illicit element in the relation of the two if we accept the imaginary folk tale of the serpent lover as true.

The point here is, not only does surreal drama acquits the protagonists from the blame of disloyalty; it relaxes the recipients from the cumbersome task of giving an honest verdict for the two. As soon as the readers/audiences are released from this requirement, there germinates a whole range of viewpoints in relation to both these characters that are far removed from the idea of stringent categorization of good or bad. This is what the playwright Girish Karnad intends to execute in both these plays. He seems to provide us the luxury of freely interpreting Padmini and Rani as victims of patriarchy or shrewd creators of their own desired reality. Ultimately, this dual interpretation dismantles conventional bigotry in a very intelligent way without dismissing the ethical notions value education we study in our lives. Karnad does not undermine ethics and morals; he dislodges the fetish for these that often we have in our lives. In addition to this, he gives those the emancipation to liberate themselves from these notions completely who feel that they do not require them at all and their life is a personal matter in all its entirety. Thus, both these characters expose our expectations for an orderly social living as well as our keen desire to break the set concepts of ‘morally correct’. There is a Padmini and a Rani in all our lives who don’t want to comply with the rules but our reluctance to accept them in public is also a matter of perception in these plays. If we secretly support extra marital alliance, why don’t we have the courage to voice our feelings out in the open? Why do we have to have double standards in our lives promulgating loyalty in marriage on the one hand and carrying on a tacit affair on the other? Our perspectives of modernity are also challenged in the plays through the use of the surreal. We want the surreal as a means to escape reality of our misbalanced living that is both conventional and anomalous at the same time. Only surreal can divulge these inner secrets and can be digested by the people today who superficially cling either to their culture or to unconventional ways of living. If Padmini and Rani were vocal enough to claim their likings, am sure people would have then(when these plays were published) and even today would have comfortably judged them as wrong. At the same time, it would have been done by the same people whose notions of ethics and propriety and very vague and far from being culturally sound. Unlike these people, those that cling to ethics strongly would have completely dismissed both these characters as inappropriate in their desires. Surreal prevents both these extremes and gives us thankfully some space to think and decide which school of thought would we like to belong to – the ethical or the modern and how.

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Is Ethical teaching to students possible in the modern pragmatic times?

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Teaching is not just a method. It is a principle forming ethical code of conduct that students and teachers are inevitably required to retain in order that education becomes something more than just a curriculum driven enterprise. Today, times have changed and so has the value system being reformed which makes it quite interesting and challenging to balance the rightful morals and the modern alternatives on the part of both students and teachers. To adequately select the kind of valuable precepts to be followed and those to be accurately negated for the higher good of futuristic learning which is far from being simply a matter of ‘obeying the fixed norms set by authorities is indeed an intricate choice to make.

The present day has shown us the theory of relativism which operates on the notions that ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are mere perspectives and there isn’t a hard and fast rule behind following or rejecting certain behavioural codes; the academic sector also not being excluded from the same. We know we have many who seem to be confused whether rules are meant to be followed or broken. That’s the tragedy of the modern times that we aren’t able to draw a visible and clear line between the dos and the don’ts in our lives. Consequently, we all try ways and means to adjust ourselves the way we can without being bothered about being essentially – ‘ethically’ correct. There isn’t anyone who could be straightaway blamed for the circumstances that have resulted on account of the modern man’s own lethargy of finding out the adequate distinctions between morally correct and incorrect. All we can do is simply state that the times have changed and so we need to accommodate ourselves with the altering times wherein teachers and students may take certain deviations from the stringent norms of maintaining a conventional –Guru-Shishya, Teacher-disciple relationship. It can be based on camaraderie rather than a pedagogic alliance between the two and the one who teaches and the one who learns both can be on the same platform; each learning from the other. There isn’t any harm of course in accepting this fact for this is the truth of today’s era that encourages equitable learning which rests on the principle of non-discriminatory teaching enterprise wherein the teachers act as mentors and facilitators providing the best of their knowledge and at the same time remain receptive towards accepting the points of view of their mentees.

Apparently, this is healthy and seems oriented towards eradicating orthopraxy wherein the teachers dwell on the notions of stringent dominion and the students hardly get a chance to ask questions or engage in any healthy discussion that could enliven the concept of education as a holistic learning approach. In such an overtly adequate environment, it seems rather inconsequential to demarcate the teachers and the students as seniors and juniors or experienced and novice etc. These terms that are viewed as derogatory by those that regularly endorse teaching as the means of effacing teacher student difference and making the teacher an approachable entity rather than a formidable personality. Nonetheless, as the thin line of difference has been blurred, it now becomes very difficult to justifiably present the requisite of the need to treat teaching as a respectable profession and teacher as the one that deservedly ought to be revered for the contribution that one makes in the field of imparting education. The repercussions of this phenomenon are such that neither the teacher nor the student and not even the parents of the respective students are able to offer an appropriate wisdom on how teachers and students should be when they are in an academic setting. In addition to this there seems absentia of guidelines in the matter of interactions between teacher and student in the external environment outside the school.

It is under the pretext of being ‘modern’ educationists that teachers today at times dismiss the mandate of being ‘obeyed’ irrespective of the child becoming assertive or demanding or even at times irreverent in one’s demeanour. Ignoring under the guise of being receptive towards informal approach of the students in order to make them feel comfortable in one’s presence seems simply an excuse. It is universally acknowledged that a teacher ought to let one’s students understand that a certain code of conduct is supposed to be followed when one chooses to interact with an elderly and experienced mentor. A student often escapes the guilt of being impertinent with the teacher on account of one’s tender age wherein immature language lapse and unregulated mannerisms are labelled as juvenile misdemeanours. A teacher on the other hand is responsible for the mistake a student makes while taking the self-respect of the mentor for granted.

Teaching is just not disseminating the information contained in the books. It is the onus on the teacher of ‘shaping characters’. This process is not only serious but also challenging. Not all the students are open-minded towards the process of ‘ethical guidance’. It therefore becomes inevitable for a teacher to identify the mental readiness of each student towards adopting what we term as ‘good manners’. Moreover, the difficulty is also on account of the fact that the contemporary society is heavily oriented towards promulgating the notions of pragmatism which unfortunately dispense with the requirement of including ethical values and principles of life. It is erroneously proclaimed by many so called modernists that being sensitized towards cultivating humanitarian virtues founded on the principle of emotions is a sign of weakness. Those people that get influenced by such misconceptions become hard hearted and focus only on attaining material success. That pragmatism is the only need of the present day and emotional thinking is a waste of time and energy is the most convenient theory adopted today. This is generally the belief of those that perhaps do not comprehend the rationality of being modest and courteous without which apparently there is no chance of establishing a healthy human society. Since the minds of the children are so impressionistic, they are the ones that get misguided by such wrong concepts and because they do not know the difference between being practical and being insensitive, these two concepts overlap and shape the deformed personality of many as we see them today.

Teachers have an integral role to play in this regard and even parents need to extend their support in the establishment of value education as a priority. Opted by many academic institutions these days, it is indeed beneficial to have a course on righteous conduct that may enable the children understand the worthiness of being ethical in their attitude. Together with the students, today’s teachers also need to undergo a vigorous training on retention of ethical virtues. Ensuring equity in their approach towards students that effaces distinctions of any kind based on either their academic progress report or their social stature is fundamental. Practicing the principles endorsed to the students in one’s own life is another mandate that the teachers indispensably need to follow in order that the students develop respect for them; respect cannot be demanded, it is to be commanded is a well-known adage. Thus, value education is not to be myopically understood as another subject to be taught to the students. It is something that is ought to become a regular habit inculcated in the lives of the teachers first and then through them in the lives of the students in order to have clarity that we all strive hard today to achieve about the goal of the teaching profession.

It is very easy to state that the child is beyond control or discipline is not possible to be imposed as a rule in today’s high-tech secular environment wherein students are smarter and more informed than the teachers as they are exposed to the techno-savvy world. The fact is that corrective measures are the right granted to every teacher and they need to be adopted as the means to bring about the change in the misinformed students that have been wrongly manipulated towards the ideas of liberty and secularism. The goal is achievable and is not something that is too far-fetched or larger than life to be experienced as a reality in our lives. Let us as teachers try our level best to strike a balance between ethical values and modern pragmatic concerns that demand constructive alternatives in the existing traditional systems of education. This balance is the adequate mode of making teaching something more than just a mundane exercise carried out as a professional endeavour offering lucrative benefits. The day when teacher learns to make learning a holistic experience for a student and selflessly impart education retaining ethical values, this world will certainly have better citizens committed towards living a virtuous life. The teacher student relationship will definitely be exemplary of an amicable affinity between a true mentor and a responsible mentee.

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AGARBATTI – THE SEXUAL INCINERATION ON STAGE – SO ARRESTING!

Sexually Explicit Content – Well, the phrase itself provokes many intelligent communities to either hide their face behind the four walls of the house or to protest against it in loud volumes. I must say, the opening scene of the play AGARBATTI -(Directed By: Swati Dubey Produced By: Samagam Rangmandal  Written by Ashish Pathak, the play has bagged four awards at Mahindra Excellence in Theater Awards META)is been so intelligently devised by the director that it resists both these reactions in the most convincing manner. The scene is brutal in its explicit provocation of sexual act openly but, in spite of the same, it forces admiration for the craftsmanship that works behind making such a sensuous implication bold and yet appreciable in its own right.

Women who are the major participants of this scene inviting and enacting sexual insinuations manage to extract the susceptibility that stimulates sexual urge and receptivity towards sexual matters in the feminine gender. The most significant part of the reality about women especially those in the conservative Indian rural areas (now I am not generalizing here though) who despite being apparently uninitiated in the matters of sex, as the world knows it, display their repressed sexual urge through such innuendos. Primarily, this sort of depiction on the proscenium in front of an apparently cultured urban audience accompanies the predicament of these women being stereotyped as flagrant on account of the evident unconcern about propriety. The consideration that the lack of urban literacy in these ladies may provoke them to comply with blatant projections of the kind they choose to engage into in such private gatherings exclusively for women may or may not be the conscious level of acceptance in the midst of the educated audience. The same being represented in a rural set up amidst village audience also may not offer a neat solution for the participants. This is because, the onslaught of orthodoxy may not give it a fair chance to explain the social reality that forces the play participants to opt for such depictions that escape revering societal taboos against phenomenon like sex.

Witnessing the scene, it seems the director makes a bold choice; the one that lets him the freedom to outdo inhibitions that often mar the essence of the play despite an interesting script. That sexual acts do often have the potential to be synonymous with brutality is the implication one explicitly gathers when one watches the sexual act being symbolically represented through the means of an enactment and gives a feel of the supposed theme (Now I need to watch the play to comment more on this) this play perhaps would be dealing with coercion the women often encounter with respect to overbearing masculine tendencies. It is this very intent that makes the apparent sexual content in the scene worth watching (particularly for those that know its content) as it emblematically proclaims the reason to justify its inception on the stage. It works as a foreboding of a gruesome massacre that is perhaps supposed to occur next. However, for someone (as I) who has no knowledge of the subject matter on which the play is based nor has access to the entire script of the play, this entire scene comes as a jolt for the manner and the extent to which a sexual intercourse is celebrated elevates curiosity to construe the reason that it has been done this way. Therefore, the scene appears relevant to those that know the reason and interests those that do not know the reason for the explicit proclamation of sex in the opening scene of this drama. This (I feel) makes it a justifiable attempt in spite of its radical nature and helps it survive the jeopardy of questions or objections that accompany a presentation of such an explicit kind. When you explicitly dramatize “let’s have sex” for the people, you are required to maintain a symbolic decorum which does not exclude the need to be barefaced. This paradox is a difficult challenge and to a great extent it has been managed very well by making women participants cover their visage (full/half) with veils that douse their brazen nature in spite of its openness- and it’s supposed to be so in conventional milieu(supposedly). Moreover, the mannerisms of theirs in terms of aping a sexual intercourse are well regulated in spite of the recklessness because every time you see the actor in disguise of a man attempting to assault, there is an obvious emphasis on the mode of representing it as a part of a dramatization than a realistic event. There is a dramatized attempt, extremely effective by the women to thwart him from the shameless act.

When you witness the entire dramatization, since it appears ‘dramatic’, it convinces that it is not ruthless in spite of obviously trying to show the ruthlessness that accompanies such acts which embody forceful subjugation of women. A well balanced attempt which certainly shows how tactfully a vigilant and responsible theatre practitioner can manage the repercussions that are invariably a part of such a portrayal which intends to upset many brand ambassadors of decency and propriety. Well, admitting the fact that sobriety is an essential responsibility to be observed in artistic endeavours, I also feel that the needful depiction of violence and sex may not be essentially curbed but rather could be exposed taking full advantage of the scope that theatre offers; to dramatize the dramatic content. I felt, this scene is a vital to  construe the relevance of histrionics that must be in close proximity with reality but not lose connect with the genre of “performance”. It is this distanced involvement of this scene with ‘realism’ that erases all issues pertaining to decorum instead of avoiding it entirely as a tabooed matter or criticizing its candour, watching it makes one rethink about the societal indifference towards certain realities that has ushered the need for art to penetrate into such explicit rebuttal of the so-called morality. As a result one cannot help but admire its intensity apart from anything else…therefore; the dramatized sexual havoc on stage appears so arresting!

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Sources:
Agarbatti: The Play – http://metawards.com/plays/agarbatti




Beyond transience – Soulful sufi rendition

An ethereal experience

Sufi singers are prolific artists illumining the possibility of uniting divine feelings with sublime love.

Vocalist Dhruv Sangari recreated the magical splendors of SUFIYANA culture with his vivacious serenity encompassing aesthetic beauty and reverential Indian ethics – magically interwoven.

For me, the program primarily effaced the Hindu Muslim divide as the singer so poetically inculcated the true feelings of divine invocation irrespective of class, caste distinction; a classic paradigm of the SUFIYANS who sing in praise of the lord. This ethereal composition he rendered ” chaap tilak” was not only one of the sweetest sufi chants of the eve but also indoctrinated me and my folks(parents) with the message of “ISHWAR ALLAH TERO NAAM”- Am sure it might have made the recipients rethink the concept of caste and class differences often acting as a hindrance in matters of spiritual escalation.

Sangari’s uniqueness lay in his profound explorations of the renditions he chose. Each musical composition preceded a explanation admirably detailed to entrench the specialty of the song chosen. This reflected the erudition of the artist; a mandate with regards to a performance that’s meant to be an IBADAT – A PRAYER to the almighty.

The open air theater of Darpana – NATRANI became the most adequate purveyor of the tools that assist such a presentation resounding the features of FOLK CULTURE. It was heartwarming to see people once again.having gathered in an open space ( independent of covid fears fortunately) to listen.and get one glimpse of the talented artist. It replicated the village folk artistic tradition very well; of course the audiences were English speaking urban elite with.modern.western.attires – a stark reality of the urban.India today) I must admit that the organizers were pretty particular in their choices of apparels – Mallika Sarabhaiji in her traditional Indian dress and her accompanied trio too dressed similarly well; obviously one does expect the consciousness from.someone as distinguished as them.

I got the privilege the second time to be at Natrani. The first time I went was some 10

Years back when I saw,Rajit Kapoor performing Girish Karnad’s monologue Flowers at the open air auditorium. It was an indelible experience and this one I had yesterday night revitalized my spirits and invigorated my soul to acknowledge the superiority of sufiyana art that’s no less than.a means to elevate our material consciousness towards the possibility of experiencing BRAHMANANDA – spiritual delight which crosses the boundaries of transient earthly living and becomes an eternally pleasurable ethereal experience. A heavenly feeling that Natyashastra speaks about so rightfully when it endorses natya as a blissful process meant for redeeming the world from.sins. As Sangri rendered CHAP TILAK.sab cheen li re mose naira milake – the feelings of respectful admiration arose in my heart for an artist who chose a sublime melody of SUFIYANA sangeet which gives us a moment of realization ” We love our lord too” not just worship him. Meerabai reverentially merged the feelings of adoration and invocation in her worship of Krishna. In the rendition I felt the same mood restored in me – self surrender to the lord I love and revere at the same time. Yes, it could be for someone close to us in fact anyone who we feel is inseparably in us – why only God? It was this intersection of divinity and earthly feeling of love that made the presentation so special, so heavenly.

I drank the elixir of sufiyana art sumptuously and though pressed for time wherein I couldn’t listen to more than two melodious songs, I acknowledge my heart grew fonder.

Overall, I loved the performance and the night was indeed memorable with fine white lamps shining in the midst of the open air auditorium giving it the feel of a traditional Indian setting with oil lamps and lanterns adorning the environment making it look no less than a paradise. Natrani is a must visit and I would recommend it to one and all.that desire to relish classic art.

Last but not the least, its discipline is praiseworthy and noteworthy. We reached a bit late, gates were shut. Nonetheless, I must recognize their waiving of the stringent rule for us and letting us enter which was indeed an insignia of an organization that is both adequately strict and endearingly loving.

Thank you Natrani for an unforgettable event that is sure to remain perpetually etched in my memory as an experience beyond the fleeting worldly domains of earthly concerns.

Review by –

Dr. Payal Trivedi

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Karna’s wife – The Outcaste’s Queen By Kavita Kane

An Overview

Dr. Payal Trivedi

There are events in life we feel we have the RIGHT to change and there are those that make us powerless, Kavita Kane’s novel Karna’s wife – The Outcast’s Queen brings both these facets of life into prominence. As a primary subject matter, the audacity of princess Uruvi to choose Karna, the son of the sutaputra, the charioteer over the royal prince Arjuna as a valiant reformation and comes to the readers as a pleasant surprise. Nonetheless, her powerlessness as a wife to change her husband’s course of improper action is more than evident as Uruvi sees Karna meet the dire consequences of being susceptible to his dutiful adherence towards Duryodhana and his inherent disagreement with the Pandavas.

Despite all her wishful thinking that her husband would come to terms with the truth of being misguided by vengeance towards the Pandavas Uruvi is unable to deviate Karna from the path of his own destruction. This brings us to the acknowledgement of a woman’s opinion being of secondary or negligible importance in a man’s life in spite of it being true. At the same time, Uruvi’s strong denial to be subservient to her man’s choice of being indulgent in his decision of supporting the wrong is a defiance of the conformist notions that subject a woman to blindly consent to her man’s beliefs. When she leaves Karna and opts for a reclusive life away from all the obligations of being a dutiful wife, we see this as the author’s appreciable effort towards dethroning the regular assumptions of modernity towards traditional figures as essentially submissive.

The ending of novel does evoke a sense of resignation towards fate and undoubtedly seems to be a conventional approach towards understanding life. Krishna becomes a clairvoyant messenger in informing Uruvi that she cannot change the predestined fate of her son and cannot escape the massacre of war by just evading the truth of her being a warrior’s wife and her son being the posterity of a royal clan – Angaraj. Nonetheless, this very conventional approach exposes the unspoken or often avoided truth of life as a preordained karmic cycle which is inescapable. While we know for the fact that individual reaps the fruit of one’s own karma, the same fact leads us to acknowledge the fated destiny in case of Karna that brought him to his helpless death end. It is Karna’s own choice that brings his downfall but that same choice was made not out of his own choice to be with the wrong doers. His unfortunate destiny of being Kunti’s illegitimate child was instrumental in shaping up the course of events in his life; an undeniable truth. Kane adopts a more subtle but an effective mode of unravelling the fact of life being a perplexing arena of the constant feud between fate and deeds. This universally pertinent message makes this novel interesting, appealing and even mysteriously absorbing in its own regard.




THE LOCKDOWN LOVER that LOCKS YOU DOWN!

Lockdown Lover

A CRITICAL REVIEW
By Dr. Payal Trivedi

Well, any theatre performance is meant to entertain is an understatement today because we have all come to terms with the fact that theatre is much more than simply a mode of refreshment. Investing our time and energy in beholding any performance ought to enable us enough food for thought not just by being didactic but by helping us realize our weaknesses, our flaws and misdemeanours that may have led us to falsely believe in the material notion of scepticism that seems to have crept in all our walks of life today. We tend to always engage in self doubt, of essentially questioning the obvious and of incessantly negating all possibilities of giving stability to our lives. All that today’s worldly compartments of propriety and impropriety have given us is a bizarre set of meaningless precepts. These we follow mechanically with the fear of being ostracized by the so called normal society or flout entirely as a means of blatant rebuttal against the stringent myopic framework that often surrounds rules made for whom we label the ‘Normal Man’. The category of the ‘normals’ includes those that bear the onus of proclaiming ‘acting’ according to the stipulated socio-cultural norms as a mark of sanity. This excludes any kind of aberration which may disturb the so called normal setting of a ‘settled home and family’ we humans often propagate as an insignia of ‘orderly mental health’. Unfortunately for us, anything anyone does different from having a perfectly settled home is conventionally considered unhealthy and the primary cause of mental illness.

Well, the message is simple and clear but is conveyed through an essentially ‘vague’ motivation towards choosing ‘absurd’ mode of theatrical performance that leads the motto of laying bare this extremely vital issue hay ways. First and foremost, the disorderly array of character shifting that we come across mars the charm of this rendition at its very onset. That stage cannot capture the nuances of facial expressions is a matter of common understanding and therefore, it is obvious that when the actor shifts from one character to another, the performance does not seem to deal efficiently with this change simply because it is not required prominently to showcase the difference. When there is an overbearing energy that tries to dominate or suppress the other and the explicit resistance of the other is being displayed with repressed tendencies, it obviously should impart a lesson of a ‘toxic relationship and its repercussions’ when in this performance it comes out as an ‘enforced torture’ upon the audience to make them forcefully assent to the ‘failure of values’. This failure is so anointed with the cumbersome obsession of anomaly that can be seen in the character using the ‘whip’ that acts as a paradigm of inexplicable violence that puzzles due to the lack of clarity. A more structured absurdism(If I am permitted to use this expression) would have made it intelligible rather than prolix one, the performance chooses to adopt the ‘heightened potency of absurdism’ that is needless and I feel is so overwhelming that it almost nullifies the importance of conveying at least, ‘some’ meaning.

I do feel that proportionate dose of the vaccine called ‘absurdism’ can boost our immunity but an overdose may completely lead to multiple organ failures and not being sarcastic at all as a viewer I definitely felt that is performance is beyond my level of comprehension. It is possible that this is ‘heightened intellectual apex that perhaps an ordinary theatre person as I may not be able to reach; definitely possible and I accept this with all humility!

A talented and popular theatre artist as Tathagata Chowdhury fails to cast a long lasting impression with his extraneous attempts to correlate absurd theatre with Indian bourgeois set up. This is simply because; the hypocrisy of today’s English speaking Indian families with ultra modern outlook ultimately boils down to having a settled home with children. This is not dual mindset I suppose but is an outcome of the age old Indian mentality of being culturally rooted to one’s customary adherence to tradition that seldom permits anomalous living. When Chowdhury tries to target the contemporary Indian society with its loopholes that disallow normalcy to them, he does not take into account the fact that the apparent aberration of tradition in India is equally a facade like its retention of its values is. That’s the reason that he cannot think beyond a ‘shattered morality’ tendency of the Indian modern class and is unsuccessful in his attempt to impress with his absolutely vague acting. In my opinion, it is a failed attempt of displaying absurdity ‘par excellence’ that gets ruined due to the pressure of creating an intellectual feast that often becomes tasteless when the ingredients are overused. We get a feel of being LOCKEDDOWN by absurdity of this lockdown lover who seems to have lost completely his senses in the motif of explaining the senselessness that prevails in our lives today; a fact that certainly cannot be denied but such bizarre engagement with the theme? I leave it to the viewers anyways.

Finally, I do acknowledge that drama is a means of self analysis that forbids insinuating anyone under any circumstance. This review is simply meant to give an unbiased outlook towards a performance and does not intend to dictate any opinion. Rest assured, it’s simply my personal perception folks!