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TIN CAKE PUPPETS - Grace Sitharaman

When the less fortunate those who live by the roadside watching the streets lit up on Christmas eve, they surely ask themselves why they do not have a single electric bulb glowing in their shack?

New clothes have a festive fragrance and perfume sprayed on it makes it inviting enough for the homeless sniff their torn and tattered clothes over and again because the high, mighty and affluent leave a trail of fragrance behind and the wretched perched up on sidewalks imagine those trails of perfume settle down on their body, their skin, and hair! What imagination?

A young girl from the destitute quarters was seen walking through the crowds in off-color clothes, mesmerized by the glitter and glamour of the festivities. She imagined herself to be dressed as pretty like any girl moving in the crowds. The shops had everything new hanging out of the windows and people carried big shopping bags. The girl imagined that someday all this would add on to her invisible existence also. She stood in front of a cake shop, There was a big cake sale on. She was not greedy but wished for a piece. To her surprise, a lady came out of the shop and handed over a small tin box of freshly baked fruit cake! The girl grabbed it from her hand and wished her Merry Christmas all the while trying to unpack the cake.

Once unpacked she did not stop herself from gorging into the festive delicacy. That tin cake at 10 years left an indelible mark in Gowri's mind. With every bite, she started to believe that goodness prevails and wishes are instrumented by angels. Gowri was growing up to be a lovely young girl, very fond of the little things in life. She started going to a government school and was in Class 10. Cake's story over the years turned more real in her life. She no more lived in a shack but a tin-roof house. Her father worked in a tailoring shop and mother worked in a tailoring accessory factory.

Gowri is interesting because though she is a young girl of the jet-set age, she is lost in her happy world of tiny joys of making rag dolls. She at this tender age tells her mother that her schooling is for not getting her a job but her passion would be the driving force to be a happy and contributing worker in whatsoever her job might be.

Her mother was amused to listen to her thoughts. Gowri collected strips of discarded cloth. She always carried a little bag in which she dropped in these little strips when she visited her father's tailoring shop. Along with cloth patches, there were a lot more, beads, ribbons glue, buttons, sequence, and shining things which she gathered from a heap of defective and discarded products in her mother's workplace. Whenever and where ever she had some free time, Gowri's treasure box popped open, and she engaged in making tiny puppets with paper pipes, Gowri would speak to them as to how she would want them to be. As she brought her imagination to reality, the puppets seemed to grow real, her conversation with them made them as pretty as Gowri's thoughts. Every doll made would be created listening to her gratitude story of the tin cake.

Gowri's fondness for these dolls also had a purpose. She gifted it to children with Special needs and also to her classmates on their birthdays. What a lovely thought and what a beautiful way of beautifying the world! Gowri's puppets had healing powers so said children and staff at the special schools and hospitals. As good word went around puppets grew in popularity. Surprisingly her client's made a special mention of the cake fragrance the dolls emitted.

On asking Gowri she would once again narrate the story of the Tin cake and how she creates her puppets on the power of the cake story. Gratitude begets gratitude and this was the tag line of her puppets. Oh! Yes, the puppets were known as Tin Cake puppets - puppets with a purpose!

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