Books, Lit Fests, News, Movies, Art, Fashion and TV of course... "I must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book." - GROUCHO MARX

My Photo

I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you ever get a chance to watch The Candlestickmaker, Krishnan's Dairy or Pickle King, don't miss it.

After all, it's not everyday that ideas are born with a "serious laugh". That's pretty much how the story of New Zealand's Indian Ink Theatre Company began. They wanted to use humour to help people lighten up and then slip in something serious.

And the seriousness comes masked with a lot of fun and adventure thanks to the superb acting skills of Jacob Rajan.

The multi-faceted, multi-talented actor combines Western theatrical traditions with Indian flavours narrating stories that pan across cultures touching everyone in the audience.

I'd met Jacob when he'd staged Krishnan's Dairy as part of The New Zealand - New Thinking Festival. He appeared on the show again with Pickle King, he spoke about the Dairy. After watching the play, I'd sort of visualised it. On our recent visit to Middle Earth, we frequented several dairies. We met Indian families, including one from Amritsar. It was almost like being transported to Jacob's play. Mom, Dad, son (younger and older) were all there. A mix of people walked in and out of the dairies, culturally diverse, conversationally different, the stuff they bought reflecting their personality type.

Thinking of them I was trying to recall what Jacob had said about the essence of the Dairy experience, I found one of his notes tucked away as research for the interview. After a crazy news day, it had brought the smile back on my face, it's had the same effect again. So here it is, in Jacob's words:

"Being Indian carries with it certain responsibilities. Everyone expects you to be able to cook a curry, spin bowl and have a natural ability at yoga. As an Indian, you have the power to make an Indian restaurant authentic just by walking into it. And if you put three guys in a room with a snake you'd expect the Indian to have some kind of advantage.

Of course, we can't always live up to these responsibilities. I myself have been found wanting on more than one occasion. I have a woefully inadequate knowledge of Indian's geography, average rainfall and chief exports. Most of my understanding of its religions and politics was gleaned from a project I did in 3rd Form Social Studies.

I guess what I'm saying patient reader, is take everything you see in Krishnan's Dairy with a pinch of salt (and possibly a generous dollop of garlic and ginger paste). It's certainly not my intention to recreate an authentic day in the life of an Indian Dairy owner. My allegiance lies with telling a good story and I've taken liberties with "my culture" to try and achieve this.

To my countrymen and women who take offence, I apologize. To those of you who crave authenticity - I guess you've got the wrong shop. Of course if you leave the show with better understanding of what it is to be an Indian in New Zealand I'm quite prepared to take credit for it; but I'd far rather you left forgetting where you'd parked your car."

Labels: ,