The Season of Storytelling in Delhi

Samina Mishra's first storytelling event with the primary school students of the MCD school in East Nizamuddin

Via Time Out Delhi

The reader looks up from her book. Seated on a rug at her feet, in the Gurgaon bookstore Books-a-Buddy, she’s the MC at Wednesday’s weekly story-telling session. The audience is small but loyal, and this is just one of the many venues where stories are a regular event.
Originally Grandma’s turf, traditional story-telling has taken a backseat with parents’ lifestyles getting more and more frenetic. “In fact, a lot of the parents bringing up their children are not regular readers,” said Rabani Garg, owner of Reading Caterpillar, a children’s book library. “It’s commendable that they use [bookstores] to fill what might be a void in their child’s life.” These events might be the best way to bring a non-reader into the fold. “A session is very different to Mama reading bedtime stories. There are group dynamics at play here and you end up getting so much more out of a book and the interaction.” Much as adults do, kids can learn interpersonal skills and empathy from exposure to books. “Story-telling helps children in many ways, not the least of which is resolving conflict on the playground, dealing with issues that crop up in real life and much more,” said Swati Roy, co-owner of the children’s book store Eureka. “There is often a real world connection that the child makes.”
Devika Rangachari, children’s author, and one of the organisers of the Habitat Children’s Book Forum, says that the assumption that one will make a good storyteller just because they write for, or work with, children, should be dismissed. The sessions at the HCBF are called book interactions, not story-telling, because the children meet to read, discuss and interact. “Many parents who are too busy or don’t care will never take their child to a library or read to them,” said Rangachari. “All they do is ask if their child contributed during the session. Only 30 per cent are interested in the child enjoying a book. It seems to be yet another boasting point for them along with tennis and ballet-lessons and foreign trips.”
n fact, a great story-telling session can be an introduction to aspects of a child’s own culture – not just through the subject, but through the format.

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