In Indian city & villages the fair/Mela other than festival & cultural activities are being regularly devised. It mainly contains various adventure sports specially for kids like giant wheel & rides. I visited such fair with my kid & sharing some shots showing the spirit of Indian Mela. Mostly there fairs are being run during vacation of children's like summer vacation, Diwali vacation,new year celebration etc.
Mela is a Sanskrit word meaning 'gathering' or 'to meet' or a Fair. It is used in the Indian subcontinent for all sizes of gathering and can be religious, commercial, cultural or sports. In rural traditions melas or village fairs were (and in some cases still are) of great importance. This led to their export around the world by south Asian diaspora communities wishing to bring something of that tradition to their new countries.
The purpose of these fairs is to offer an opportunity to enjoy amusement rides like Giant Wheel, fun slide, merry-go-round, toy trains etc. It also has Indian chat & food centers to serve for food lovers.
Image 1 : The senior old man enjoying the balloon shoot like an innocent kid. This is a very favorite game part of such fairs/melas in India.
It was really nice to take an opportunity to see a Kathputli show (Puppet show) in this fair. I was more interested because my daughter had never seen such a live show before. Kathputli is a join of two Rajasthani language words Kath meaning wood and Putli meaning puppet. Kathputli means a puppet which is made entirely from wood. However it is made out of wood, cotton cloth and metal wire.
The art of puppeteer has a long tradition in Rajasthan, but the puppets themselves are fairly simple creations. Mostly, they consist of painted wooden heads draped with dresses made from old fabrics and sequined for charm. The hands are made simply by stuffing rags or cotton into the sleeve of the dress and filling it out. The most quaint aspect of these puppets is the way their expressions are painted, large expressive eyes with arched eyebrows, and a curling mustache for men, or a nose ring for the women. Inexpensive souvenirs, they recall more easily than most other things memories of a visit to this state of chivalrous kings and beautiful queens.
In Kathputli Dance in Rajasthan India, the puppeteer narrates the stories through soulful ballads. Kathputli Rajasthan features puppet plays based on popular legends (now here Indian Bollywood stars) being performed by skilful puppeteers. Various types of puppets or Kathputlis are used during the Kathputli Traditional Dance in Rajasthan. These include Glove Puppets, String Puppets, Rod Puppets and Shadow Puppets.
Image 4 : Photograph of a Kathputli Dance & junior show player in the fair.
It was sad to see people taking away their interest of paying for the free show conducted by the performer. It also shows that how a marketing has become necessary to earn the money from your art for daily living.
The three persons drive two cars and a motorbike simultaneously along the walls of the `maut ka kuan' (wheel of death), a wooden well 18 ft deep and 50 ft across. The maut ka kuan has been in existence for about 35 years. But, the use of cars in the kuan was started in recent years.
Image 5 Spectators waiting before starting the adventurous ride in "Maut Ka Kuan"( wheel of death )
Image 6 Car driver taking special prize money offered by the spectators without loosing control of the vehicle.
The drivers feel comfortable between the speeds of 60 to 70 km per hour. That way we are stuck to the walls firmly and find sufficient time to veer when needed. needless to say that these peoples with big heart are far away from having any knowledge about gravitational, centrifugal or centripetal forces. They just rely on their personal co-ordination, in between understanding & judgment. The owner of the show after asking "don't they fear from death & accident?" he said "The performance is called well of death. However, it is the grace of God that we are still alive".
The highlight of these fairs is that everybody enjoys it without bothering the age, cast & class of others with a right spirit. It was nice to see the existence of such sports even in so called modern age delivering the thrill & adventure at such a low cost lived up to by the courage & efforts of the performer.