Two themes that play out in Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard
are traditional culture versus modern culture and imagination versus reality.Traditional versus modern culture
India provides the perfect backdrop for the theme of sticking with traditional culture and customs versus entering the modern world. Ammaji is a traditional Indian woman who uses traditional remedies and astrology and folklore
to solve problems. She has firm roots in this and wants the same for her family. In contrast, Sampath's father is a very proud bank employee. He wants to follow more modern Western culture and looks down upon his mother for her traditional values. In some ways, he is caught between the two worlds: at home he does yoga, but at work, he has Western manners. He wants to be a Western banker, but he wants his daughter to be an ideal Indian woman, instead of being like the movie stars she wishes to emulate. The town itself represents the contrast between traditional and modern ways of life. On the one hand, people scrounge for what they need, the electricity doesn't always work, and traditional religious practices are followed. In contrast, they have a modern movie theater, busses, cars, and a university.Imagination versus reality
Kulfi and Sampath would like to spend much of their time in their imagination. Sampath, especially, has an artist's mind. He spends his time reading and finding beauty in words and shapes. This is further illustrated when he goes through rooms of the house smelling different smells and getting drunk on perfume and other various scents. He is "transported." This frequent transportation into his dream world causes him to fail his exams and get fired from his job.
Kulfi prefers to spend her time being a culinary artist. She spends her time finding herbs and spices to put into her dishes. She finds life a little boring and is almost obsessed with cooking something new and exciting, like a monkey. They both daydream about their future instead of spending time in the present. However, they learn that in order to be successful members of society, they have to suppress some of their imagination and live in the here and now.
In this society, most people do not spend their time dreaming of how things could be. They spend their energy worrying about their current position and how they can advance it. This can be seen by Mr. Chawla spending most of his energy figuring out ways to make money from his son's religious career. It is also seen when the ice cream boy is so busy thinking about himself that he doesn't realize Pinky has a crush on him.