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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Even fire mishap fails to daunt this Hanuman

Shailee Dogra, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, October 09, 2013
First Published: 10:04 IST(9/10/2013) | Last Updated: 10:10 IST(9/10/2013)

Working as senior manager with a private company, 31-year-old Jyoti Sharma enjoys portraying the character of Hanuman at the Ramlila being organised in Sector 7.

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Associated with Ramlila for the past 20 years and playing various roles, Sharma has been portraying Hanuman for the past six years.

"As a child we used to look forward to watching Ramlila sitting on the daris (carpet) and always wanted to act. It was my neighbour who introduced me to the organisers of Ramlila in Sector 7 and since then I have been associated with it," says Sharma, while talking about his two-decade-old association with the Ramlila.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/10/JyotiSharma_compressed.jpg
Jyoti Sharma dresses up as Hanuman to perform at the Ramlila in Sector-7. HT Photo

"Jostling between office work and Ramlila rehearsals is not easy," adds Sharma, who these days is not able to get adequate sleep.

Sharma also follows discipline throughout these 10 days like sleeping on the floor and having meal just once a day, following the traditional values associated with Ramlila.

Even an accident on stage, in which he had sustained burn injuries while performing one of the roles about seven years back, did not dissuade him from performing.

"Staging Ramlilas is becoming a costly affair and these days each organising committee spends anything between `5 to `7 lakh," adds Sharma owing to the innovation each committee is putting in and escalation in the cost of other related paraphernalia.

He strongly believes that even in the age of computers, gadgets and smart phones, Ramlila is here to stay for ages, which he claims is evident from the fact that the youngsters are coming forward to be part either in the organising committee or act on the stage.

"Children of most of us are acting, carrying forward the traditions from one generation to the next, is it not encouraging enough. My son, who is a few months old, played newborn Ram this year.

We have artists whose children all these years have been playing roles in Ramlila, voluntarily and even follow the discipline of sleeping on the floor just like their fathers," says Sharma, who feels that use of technology while maintaining the originality and sacredness associated with the staging of the Ramlila is good way to connect with the generation X.

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