SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Friday, October 1, 2010


Vaguely having heard of this word, Dastangoi, and with a faint idea that it was related to story telling and oral tradition, I booked myself for the show at Chowdiah Memorial Hall.

For those who have not lived in Bangalore, this hall at Malleswaram, Bangalore was and is the cultural hub of traditional art forms. Shaped like a violin, it is named after the erstwhile doyen of violin music, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Mysore T.Chowdiah.

I’ll let you in on a secret. I went alone.
Feeling quite liberated! This has nothing to do with any hang ups about traveling alone or going out at night alone…none at all. This is all what I had been doing before marriage.
Yet there is that childish need to share every thing with the spouse, do things together….well other than watching TV (News /HBO) or having dinner/lunch together, my partner would never budge!!

What I expected was storytellers and telling of course, so it was a moment of sheepishness when I realized I was going to spend the evening in the company of classical Urdu and courtly Hindi!!
A sense of serendipity seized me, as you know I have freshly embarked from the soils of Hindi heartland.
Yet an experience well worth it.

Though I cannot or did not absorb the entire depth of the words, the fascinating stage performance and body language kept me engrossed.
Simple, minimalist d├ęcor and white clad storytellers, after all the audience needs to feel he/she has entered a Mehfil.
The Dastan is an epic tale that is told by a Dastango who performs the Dasatngoi.
Tilism-e Hoshruba was the name of the Dastan that was performed on that day. I distinctly remember the Dastango/ director of that day’s Dastan saying that they have finally captured the story into 16 volumes of 1000 pages each. Making it the longest story ever told!

Completely extempore, the Dastango initiates the audience into the storytelling process. The verbosity, the fluency and connect he establishes with the audience was truly inspiring. As true story tellers do he infused some contemporary humour into the story.
I was impressed with the sheer volume of words that poured out of the tellers.
Urdu couplets and dialogues, were interspersed with Hindi explanations, even an illiterate as me could understand and enjoy the imagery of the words and the creativity of the story.
It is the passion that I went to absorb, and so I got. To see creative expression such as this makes me value human spirit, intellect and curiosity.

An art form worth reviving!

Those interested can check out the performance on You tube

and read about their performance at Hyderabad