Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The store owners were looking for people and the people for bargains, which were there – hidden round some corner. Despite some hiccups, the first Open Village Night at the upmarket Hauz Khas Village on June 19 was a roaring success. The shoppers watched films, saw puppetry, enjoyed a sensuous reading session, ran into old friends and met new ones, checked out high art as well as folk craft and went home happy.
In short, the people had a gala time being at the Hauz Khas village. The innovative show that brought together galleries, restaurants, stores, studios and bookshops did manage to achieve what it had set out for – to play the Pied Piper and get Delhiites out of their comfy spaces. Publicised at an individual level, Facebook and through mailing lists, the Hauz Khas village (somehow don't feel like calling it a village) is likely to see more such events, provided the various shop owners can put together a more cohesive show.
A big cheers to the store owners for the sheer number of activities that they pulled out of their hats. The Yodakin bookstore collaborated with The Pleasure Project to organize a fantasy reading with Anne Philpott reading out some sensual passages from last year’s Granta. Contrarily, the newly opened art and design store A.S.O.T had Bikram Ghosh scaring a small audience of children with his reading of The Wolves in the Walls. Photographer Anushka Menon had displayed her photographs of the classical dances.
The far end of the village had a film screening by the Travel Café Kunzum, Neha Rehani held a colour interpretation therapy for individuals and the Happy Hands Foundation showcased the work of India’s rural artisans. A billboard painter from Old Delhi demonstrated how to get a 3-D effect in the English, Hindi and Urdu scripts. Later he showed the gathered enthusiasts how to paint bottles which were then converted into lamps by inserting LED lights.
A magic show and puppet shows with performers from the kathputhli colony of Delhi, souvenirs on Delhi as part of the capital city’s centenary celebrations, a thela selling traditional craft items while another one by O Layla sold exquisite merchandise on special rates only for that night – the Hauz Khas Open Village Night had quite a lot. The streets had revelry, more important people, and restaurants, that included Gunpowder, Flipside Cafe, TLR, The Grey Garden, and a couple of new ones like Elma's and YETi had more guests than on normal days.
Despite the happening scene, there were people who went back disappointed. Even some of the store owners were not happy with the effort. Not all streets were decorated, it was just one that had the buntings, lights and festoonery, and that caught the shopkeepers by surprise. A designer, who owns a store said: “This was the first time that we had an event like this therefore it was not very well managed. Hopefully we will hold the event again and a better one at that.”