Sanskari safar

Updated: May 23, 2019, 13:40 IST | Dalreen Ramos

A show by travelling performance artiste Nupur Saraswat will unravel the peculiarities of being an Indian girl

Sanskari safar
Nupur Saraswat

It's ironic that the man whose face became synonymous with the word "sanskar" was named in the #MeToo movement. But what's sanskari and what's not is itself open to debate, so the question that is being asked increasingly is, how does one escape this conditioning? As a woman, you may move countries, but the so-called Indian values will still haunt you - although the people around you may not necessarily get it. Artiste Nupur Saraswat aka The Sanskar Girl who performs shows all over the world centered on the strict patriarchal and familial structures Indian women are bound to, will address this question and the unique cultural phenomenon by talking about her own life experiences at a SoBo venue tomorrow.

Raised in Singapore and having performed in 17 cities in six countries, the 24-year-old highlights how she has to tailor her sets comprising spoken word and theatrical acts for audiences across geographies. "It's all about the accessibility to the word 'sanskar' which the Western world doesn't quite get. So, if I illustrate my point through safety on the streets there, which is also a problem in other Asian countries, the audience won't understand. Everything I say has to be in the context of the 'brown' girl. So, performing in India is such a blessing," Saraswat says on a phone call from Bengaluru.

Saraswat's set in Copenhagen
Saraswat's set in Copenhagen

Talking about her own upbringing, Saraswat will elaborate on Aunty jis - you know the ones who ask you when you are getting married. "I have always been policed for being this voluptuous woman with curly hair. They stop us from being the woman we could be. And sometimes, the Aunty ji is within you because you too police your friends, if for instance, you say that they can't carry off a crop top. It's a behaviour that is passed down the generations," she says, summing up internalised misogyny.

For the past one year, Saraswat says she's been working on getting her work to be more intersectional. On Friday, she will discuss themes ranging from her identity, long-distance relationships, body image and dating apps. She shares, "It took me a long time to start loving myself. I want attendees to know that it is possible love [yourself] despite having no real role models. That even with all this and the sanskari-ness and what aunties tell you, you can still love."

ON: May 24, 8 pm to 9 pm
AT: Si Bambai, Mumbai Samachar Marg, Kala Ghoda.
COST: Rs 200

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