Empty vessels sound much. We all know that. But there are only a handful of people who really want to know what this sound is all about. It’s a desperate appeal to listen to their pathos and free them from a parched existence. The Echoes of Empty Vessels was the theme of a thought-provoking event gifted to the people of Delhi by Sarvam Foundation, an NGO that does the dual service to the nation: promote rich Indian art and culture through diverse ways and create awareness about pressing issues concerning the country.
Their latest cultural endeavour was aimed at creating awareness about water scarcity which is a reality in large swathes of India.
The two-hour event felt like an unnerving journey into the dry river beds, cloudless sky, bone-dry farmlands, empty vessels, and the sagging faces of rural women struggling to fetch enough water for their family.
The distinct bass tone of ghatam (pot-like percussion instrument) played by Elathur N. Hari Narayanan, the stellar efforts of R. Sridhar to express agony through violin and the empathy of esraj (string instrument) drove home a strong message: lend ears to what these empty pots are saying.
While eminent Bharatnatyam dancer Nehha Bhatnagar paid a tribute to the ebullient flow of the River Ganga, poet Anamika breathed life into words to emphasize the need for sustaining the rivers. The beautiful finger techniques of percussionist Fakhroddin Ghaffari and the wisely choreographed mimed play by Lise Moulet made the moments even more overwhelming. The empty pots did open up their hearts and cried out aloud before those who cared to understand them.
Just as the acts were meticulously (and diligently) sketched and the use of instruments was inventive, the people of India need to think beyond the obvious and act in unison to fill the vessels, because, as Nehha Bhatnagar (founder of Sarvam Foundation) said, “Water is worship and worship is water”.