When Storytellers Came to Town

Payoshni Saraf is our newest intern and we sent her off to a storytelling event in Bangalore. She writes …

10.30 am. Sunny Bangalore morning…75 curious and intrigued children await….A gentle powerful voice fills the room, and the eyes, the ears, the hands and minds are all in sync – on a journey to a world of clever foxes and stupid husbands and a wailing village ! 
Welcome to Bookalore’s April Folkalore Mela, where 3 of our favourite authors read folktales from around the world to a bunch of 10-12 years old. Vidya Mani, Veena Seshadri and Shyam (also known as Greystroke), read out their chosen Pratham Books stories from lands as far as Argentina, Norway and China. 
Vidya started the session by introducing the kids to Bookalore -Banglore’s Big Little Book Club. Bookalore is a book club for kids, started by a collective of writers and illustrators. 
Vidya then started the first story telling session reading from the book ‘ The Quirquincho and The Fox ‘, a story of two friends , where the mean one is outwitted by the clever one ! The children listened to the antics of the two friends with great interest and many hands rose when Vidya asked the children what they thought was the message of the story – ‘Be nice to your friends’ – said the boy at the back with a toothy smile :). The children then solved Rebus puzzles to find out more interesting lessons from the folktale.
Veena started her session with a question which usually divides the world into two – Are Boys smarter than Girls ? 
The No’s were clearly louder than the Yes’s, till one boy scrambled to his feet to explain his logic for saying Yes ‘ “Girls cannot play football well’ ! The class broke into giggles and so started our next story ‘The Man who thought he was smarter than his Wife’. What could happen to a man who thinks he is smarter than his wife ? A story full of crazy happenings and funny accidents kept the children hooked. Their minds and hands were put to work when they solved a crossword puzzle after the story to find out which country did the tale belong to. 
‘Wailers Three’, was the story from China that Shyam (aka Greystroke) decided to read out for the Folkalore session. This hilarious tale of a village that wails for no reason , kept the children engaged, and amused when Sham actually taught them to wail on his signals. The room echoed with giggle-worthy wails as the story progressed. Post the story, the children got their creative hats on and learnt to make beautiful chinese lanterns. Multicoloured lanterns adorned the room as the day’s session came to an end.

A noisy exit ensued as 75 pair of feet ran out of the room bidding goodbyes to the 3 happy authors. 
The bookstall set up at the main building of the Army Public School was filled with children and parents and teachers browsing and buying books.This Summer promises fascinating journeys to faraway lands , colourful characters and untold stories. 
To buy these 3 books check out http://store.prathambooks.org
(Payoshni Saraf is a Teach for India 2012 Fellow, teaching a bunch of teenagers in a low income school in Warje. Her class of 21 is hooked to books and reads and learns together.Prior to TFI, Payoshni was a corporate slave in the field of Marketing who quit the money and chose the matter.)

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