When They Heard Those Stories…

On one Sunday last month, we woke up super early and headed to Cubbon Park. Why? Amrita Tripathy tells us more …
What is a usual Sunday morning about? Sleep for long hours, have an elaborate brunch and so on! Over all a lazy day? The last Sunday of June was an exception for us at Cubbon Park.
Situated in the central part of Bangalore, Cubbon Park is one of the city’s green lungs. Tall trees, verdant canopies, whistling cuckoos, chirping birds, Cubbon Park is home to urban wildlife. Amidst all these, an early morning visit to such a place can be rejuvenating.
In association with The Hindu, we celebrated Cycle Day at the park on June 25, 2017. The red-canopied reading zones set up by The Hindu team could not be missed and neither were the sessions like yoga and zumba. The already charged-up crowd wanted a relaxing session and there we were! Our storytelling session was just right for all age groups.

When Mohammad Mustafa, the anchor announced the storytelling session, the kids were enthusiastic. Along with kids, we saw parents and adults gathering around the stage to hear our storytellers— Shruthi Rao and Bhavana Vyas Vipparthi.

Bhavana started with her illustrated book ‘A Cloud of Trash’. As she narrated how sad, grumpy and troubled Cheekoo was, she unfolded the reasons of her frustration too. With a foul-smelling trash cloud hanging over her head, Cheekoo was the unhappiest girl in the world. The cloud made of banana peels, biscuit and chocolate wrappers and hovering flies was troubling Cheekoo and the others around her. But one day, things changed and she managed to get rid of the trash cloud and became happy again.

The crowd was smitten by Bhavana’s narration. A powerful story about garbage and what one could do to handle it. From waste segregation to waste management through 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), Bhavana spoke about the simple steps and day-to- day changes that each one of us can incorporate towards making a clean, green and safe planet.  She took her illustrated story to the next level by talking about how composting and how organic manure help in plant growth anda greener environment -thus setting the context for Shruthi’s story.

Shruthi, the author of ‘Avani and the Pea Plant’, is a well-known storyteller. Avani’s story is about the journey of a pea seed from Avani’s mom’s kitchen to the backyard garden. One fine day while playing in the garden, little Avani notices a new plant and mother identifies it as a pea plant. Neither of them knew how a pea plant got a place in their garden. Doesn’t it sound intriguing? Shruthi also encouraged the younger ones to try a small experiment of germinating seeds at home.

After the storytelling session, we had a half an hour interactive activity session where Bhavana taught kids to create a ‘tree of life’ from waste like dry leaves, tetrapak sheets, cereal packets, rope, straws, and water colors. Nearly 45 children participated in this activity session and thoroughly enjoyed the craft work.

The kids were also given tomato seeds with instructions of ‘how to grow your own tomatoes’ and take part in the upcoming contest at Pratham Books. We will post the details of the contest in a separate post soon. So, stay tuned!
The activities designed around these two books was an attempt to generate awareness about trees and nature, sensitize children about their environment, and waste management in general. The joy, curiosity, and happiness of the children and enthusiasm of the crowd was worth seeing. Wish every Sunday morning could be like this – in a park, among trees, with children and endless stories!
What happened to Cheekoo? How did she get rid of her cloud of trash? Read the entire story here.
How did the pea seed become a plant? Did Avani or her mother play a role? Read the entire story here/ get your own copy of the book here.

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