In search of Dariya Sagar
A two hour long play curated by the Blind and the Elephant and directed by Gerish Khemani. I watched in my favourite place G5A.. favourite because of the location.
When you've spend you primary and secondary school years in a place called Ulhasnagar you cannot avoid Sindhis. As a child I grew up seeing the transformation in Sindhi community around me. Once I told my mother, "That fat woman with big bumpies came to meet you." I got slapped for being so honest. A hard working community, my widowed mother used to contributing running the house by getting loan by mortgaging her jewellery to one of the Sindhi families in the neighbourhood. One day she lost her mother's only piece of gold pendant and I saw her crying because she was unable to repay the interest rate. I developed special emotions for all Sindhis thereafter... Period.
In this background, I took courage to watch this play - more to understand if Gerish Khemani will address what is this lost identity has done to next generation - a majority who continue to live in ghettos/ camp areas. The play was too long.. that would be my first comment to writers Khemani along with Akshat Nigam.
The actors did a good job to entertain throughout using appropriate props in between. By break time G5A's Black Box cold temperature was already making many feel drozzzzy ;-) Some audience left during the break time, but I wanted to check out the ending. Oh the music and the singer (didn't get his name) did fabulous job and kept the momentum of the drama alive. About the play, the constant search for identity - Sindhi identity - by the protagonist, Jatin, takes you through the history of India before the divide and the journey to leave the land, memories behind in Sindh to adopt a new home. Dreams, ghosts, story-telling of two lovers, and displaced community all these elements nicely twisted in the script gave a nice theatrical experience. Entertainment.
As I walked out of the theatre, I remembered my childhood friend Dolly whose grandmother 'amma' used to tell us stories of why she converted to adopt Sikh culture. Amma would tell us stories of how before partition they had to leave all their ornaments in a trunk that they hid in a well. She would say it was the trunk where she left her Sindhi identity. Now they are Punjabis. Dolly's father was brought up like a Sikh family. Amazing how identity gets lost and new identity is created.. you cannot have the luxury to not have any identity - can you?!
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