Kalpana Desai hailing from Vadodara has a unique talent of puppetry with which she is imparting life lessons to children and trying to keep them away from digital screens. The 77-year-old always had a knack for telling stories and is an expert in making puppets. Puppet shows were a very common source of entertainment until our television sets replaced them with a variety of animated shows. She has been entertaining and educating children for the last 50 years.
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How It Started
The septuagenarian completed her BSc in Home Science in the 1960s and had joined Baroda High School, Bagikhana as a music teacher. She used to write and sing songs. She had always wished to teach children by ways other than just reading or writing. That’s how she began using puppets to perform shows in her school.
Her performances won hearts and left the kids spellbound. As a result, she gained popularity across the city and other schools started calling her to perform for the children. The word of mouth spread and Desai became a famous name in the surrounding cities as well. “I began making my own puppets as per the stories I wrote and narrated to children. What I experienced is that the kids can learn a lot and can be educated about important issues from such puppet shows,” the puppeteer stated in her interview with TOI.
“I began making my own puppets as per the stories I wrote and narrated to children. What I experienced is that the kids can learn a lot and can be educated about important issues from such puppet shows,”
After retiring from BHS Bagikhana in 2002, she joined another school and later joined Shram School. She has been performing puppet shows for blind children and hearing and speech impaired kids as well. Moreover, over the last few years, she started teaching the art of making puppets to small children as well as grownups.
What Kids Love The Most
“A story of a deer and her seven fawns is a favorite among the kids. The fawns never listened to their mother so one day she disappeared to teach them a lesson. When the fawns get worried, the mother returns and tells them to always listen to her. The fawns apologize to their mother. The story teaches the kids to be disciplined,” Desai told The Times of India about the story that is most liked among the children.
Kalpana Desai lives with her retired husband on the Ajwa Road. She visits her daughter living in the US every year and was called to perform in schools there as well. They gift her puppets as a mark of respect and gratitude for her art. She has been gifted nearly 250 puppets by these schools. Also, Desai has made about 500 puppets on her own using different materials like cloth, plastic, clips, and balls.
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Saavriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV