Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Story-teller!

Today being World Story-telling day and Happy World theatre for children day, the Aantarya Film and theatre house held a special event at Atta Galatta called "Night Night", a story time presented by Padmavati Rao. In fact Abhay first exposure to stories in India was through Padmavati Rao’s story sessions at Little Cloud at Rangashankara back in 2011 when we’d just returned from the US.

Today's story time had children come in their pyjamas and bringing in their pillows too. Today was also Abhay's last day of school before his summer break and so we headed to Atta Galatta to be snuggled to sleep by Padmavati Rao's soothing rendition of traditional lullabies. Need I say anything about one of our favourite story aunties, Padmavathi Rao and her quirky yet relatable characters you can make yours, her home grown stories, and her inimitable narrative style that has not just the children enthralled! Today's story revolved around various characters from the jungle, Motu, Natkhatu, Shilku and Kok-Kok trying to mollify the angry Sunny boy.... the sun! Thanks to Pinty Aunty, I can now "Kok-Kok" Abhay into doing the daily routine activities he hates! :-)

I need not underline the power of stories and their Impact on children's mind and imagination. Stories have become a part and parcel of the bedime routine of our kids. So much so that they do not sleep without stories being read to or narrated by their parents or grandparents. What happens if the situation is reversed? Well, on the occasion of the World Storytelling day, we read a book where the tables have turned and Unni’s grandma can’t fall asleep without one of his stories! “The Glass Tree” a Katha publication by M. Mukundan and illustrated by Poonam Athalye. “Tell me a story” Unni’s Muttashi requests him as Unni, studying in second standard is busy finishing up his homework. As Unni concedes to his Muttashi’s request for a small story…an Unnikatha, Muttashi sits up, all ears! Unni snuggles up his grandma and so vividly narrates the story of the glass tree that they watch the images unfold on the bare wall in front of them. Kuruman Panikkan was a chieftain and as described by Unni as riding a palanquin by four men on a journey to the famous Champakam tree under which lies a stone idol to whom he sets out to pray. Just then a small man appears and tells him that the Champakam tree is very old and is soon to die. Melkoran then promises the chieftain to a build a tree that never grows old or dies. In preparation of the new tree, Melkoran cuts down the Champakam tree and with it went away all forms of life including its fragrant flowers, lush green leaves and birds with their nests. A year and a half later, Melkoran erected an exquisitely carved glass tree- with it's intricately designed trunk, branches leaves and flowers. People came from all over to see the tree made of glass that reflected the light of the sun, changing colours at sun rise and sunset. Yet it's flowers had no smell, no bird laid nest or no children climbed on its branches, much to Kuruman's dismay! So Unni asks his Muttashi if a glasss tree can be a real tree?  But Muttashi was fast asleep! So Abhay..... are we ready for a role reversal at home too????

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