She walked in, smooth of gait.
Bright smile; all eyes and curved lips.
You can’t help but feel a joy moving through you.
So I grinned.
Wide eyed and toothy.
“Hi Ms Teo!”
Then a pause.
The smile ever present..but a shade less curved.
Head quirked with curiousity.
Gaze seeking, penetrating.
“My boy, it’s only been a year and a half at most but you’ve…grown, matured somehow.”
Kathputli Colony is a tinsel slum. Over 600 artists from here have represented India in several fairs and festivals abroad. About 800 families have settled here since Independence. Magicians, acrobats, mime artists, puppeteers, jugglers, folk singers, snake charmers, bear handlers, monkey trainers and other street performers reside in this colony. A visit to the colony is enough to believe that Shadipur Depot is perhaps the only place in Delhi where the ancient tradition of magic is preserved and inherited.
Most of the artists are from UP, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Kathputli Colony is also called by other names: Kalakaron ki Basti, Madari colony and Bazeegarcolony.
Photo: Serge Bouvet