Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tattoo Show (Not the one You Know)

Tattoo Show

Today talk of Tattoo Show and everyone would expect to see tattooing on ones body, that is an art of engraving colours/shapes/designs to beautify one’s body. But many won’t know what actually is a Tattoo Show as this art is fast decaying and one does not come across seeing this beautiful show. It takes dozens of performers with brightly lit torches at night to present the show. Once this massive work of art was a prime entertainment feature of the armed forces around the world. Over hundred performers exhibit dozens of combinations with the torches which presents a spectacular show at night. But now this art is very rarely performed and witnessed.
I saw this show as a young child at the annual Horse and Cattle Show at Lahore in 1964 and was nothing but baffled and dazzled when the entire Fortress Stadium Lahore was filled with countless torch bearers performing different feats by moving torches and making different formations. But that was long time back and I did not see the show till 2008 when I had gone to Abbottabad to attend a veterans’ reunion along with my family. And I was thrilled to know that after the dinner, there will be a Tattoo Show as well. My two grown up sons were also excited as they had never witnessed a live Tattoo Show.

So after the dinner, we moved to the sports stadium, where we were seated in the stands – shivering with cold and dampness in the air – peculiar to winters and early spring of Abbottabad. Then the lights were switched off and it was pitch dark. And here they started trickling in from all sides on the drum beat – over one hundred performers holding torches with flames eating away the darkness. The arena was surrounded by high mountains and the echoing drum beat and the marching flaming dots made the scene awe inspiring and dramatic. The torch bearers marched in, got together in the middle of the stadium, standing in rows and then on pre-set whistle shots, the started making formations, moving their torches up, down and sideways, making circles, squares, stairs and God knows how many dazzling shapes. The audience was spellbound and watched it with great enthusiasm as I am sure most of them had not ever seen this feat before.
We move on, but we are leaving some very beautiful things behind – things that nobody would even know of after sometime. But for those who are witness to these fantastic feats, these will be lifetime memories.


Unknown said...

Thanx for sharing. An excellent reminder of our togetherness and bondage.

Asghar Javed said...

You are so right. I have had a chance to see it once in Lahore. It looks so good.