SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

about storytellers and storytelling

Sorry to have flooded one and all with some terse verse!
I resume my musings on the art of storytelling. Story telling as you all know is an ancient art, and in India the oral tradition dates back to thousands of years. Even as far back as 15 to 20 years back grandparents were available (on demand!) to tell stories, ranging from religious to ribald. Now too, stories are told but not by humans, conveniently we have been replaced by electromagnetic waves.
Shove in the CD or the VCD and and children stay put for an hour or two.
Believe me I do it too, so I am not here to criticize anyone, my idea is to take you to the world of the story teller and try to project, how different the same story appears in the hands of an adept story teller.
So in this context I want to introduce you to an organization, unique in its role of training storytellers. Kathalaya is in Bangalore and they train interested personnel, from all walks of life, in the art of storytelling. After that the world is your stage!
(See my link to the same)
The lady who has started this organization Geeta Ramanujam has been in the field for many many years. The other person is Jeeva Raghunath from Chennai. Its interesting to note that both are Thamizh, though G.Ramanujam has domiciled in Bangalore for so long she is fluent in Kannada as well.
I have been searching for comprehensive sites of people working as storytellers in India, but find that time and again, only Kathalaya comes up.
Different art forms, like Yakshaganam, Kathakali, Koothu, use story telling, but what we are talking about is whether our modern day children can connect with this?
So here in lies contemporary storytelling, which is the narrative style using props, in a language that children can understand.
I will be back with more reviews on interesting story telling sites.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Goa in October1999

Lush green, meets our eyes
Is this our India, land of grime?
Inescapable, Panaji though is
Hot and humid, dirty and dusty.

Resort life we wanted no part of
As we set off to explore Goa.
Boarded the bus for there to see
Churches and beaches, and Portuguese!

A different world, a foreign one
Of roadside altars and feni bars.
Ladies in frocks, and men in shorts
Funny alien guise for an Indian visage!

Famous churches, more famous beaches
In different hues and different shades.
Some red and sandy
Some rocky and gray
Here white skins frolic in gay abandon
While brown skins watch with quiet amusement!
Honeymooner's paradise
Explorer's delight!

Sunset cruise on the Mandovi
Ringing music on turbulent waters.
Where mountains meet water,
Without bars nor barriers.
Where blue skies merge
With green and glossy foliage.
Here lies such naked beauty
Here lies such virgin purity.

An enchanting time, an enchanted world.
But will it remain
for future generations the same?


Vijayanagar/Hampi:October 2000

The Royal Rayas and their splendid kingdom
Spread over the valley of Tunga in great abundance.
From Vittala to Virupaksha
From Lotus Mahal to Bhima's Gate.
We amazed at the expanse,
We admired the extent.
Kings and Queens,
Ministers and Subjects
Once tread this soil
Shared the ground we stand!
Oh! For those romantic times;
Of poetry in stone
Of language in art
Of wars won and lost
Of lovers new and past.
Of rulers who become monarchs
Of maids who become queens.
We were transported in time, standing amidst the ruins,
Thinking thoughts of the splendor...and the fall.
Wondering at the enormity, saddened by the pall.

Would I go back in time
Not at all....maybe?!!

versespace:3- Payanangal: Ajanta/ Ellora

On our trip to Ajanta/ Ellora: April 2000

Ajanta and Ellora
Opened up like Pandora's
To reveal beauty in stone.
Caves and Hollows.
Mortar and Clay.
Pillars and Statues.
Tempera and Lime.
Tools of ancient clime
Toiled, to capture time.
Preserved forever on mountain walls
By faithful monks working with awls.

(Dare we create such magnificence now?)

versespace:2- Toddlerhood

again repeated twice over!

None prepared ,
Not all ready.
She jerks me out of complacency!

No more late mornings
No more breakfast in bed
She'll wake you in the wee hours
Howling to be fed!

Its like being hit by lightning
Swift and shocking!
And our toddler is way ahead
Shoving and pushing.

Move over things
You are all not to be spared!


Written for my first baby, echoed on arrival of the second too!

The anticipation at the begin'
continues within....
Thoughts of you my baby
Encompass me like a blanket.
A time, I cherish, this bond,
These special moments.
Are you mine? I wonder.
This is the beauty of nature
The marvels of creation.
Cliches for sure, yet for each
An inexplicable experience
This cozy haven,for you,
Created in me, to hold,
Till you are ready to face us,
Stay there little one safe and sound
Because, you are not yet, to meet the world!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Writing stories

Now lets talk about writing a story, that's a totally different ball game. Many of us have stories inside us, waiting for the right audience to release it! Blogs are wonderful spaces for clandestine writers like me who fear feedback so much, we cant share it. It took a lot of courage on my part to release it to my audience, and I am glad I don't have to face them.
One needs to be inspired or suppressed enough to write! You may wonder at this dichotomy, but I know it holds true.
I draw inspiration from Sudha Murthy, yes our own Goddess of Good! Silly name but I say it with fondness, because I have personally benefited from her goodness, and any one who I keep on the pedestal and I am in awe of, I call Goddess!
I happened to read her book, "How I taught My Grandmother to Read and other stories" Simple, lucid and direct, to the point that I felt I could have written each and every one of them. I dedicate my amateur efforts totally to her!
She takes very ordinary, day to day events and people, and presents them to us in her typical forthright manner. Being an uncomplicated person, thats what appealed to me and launched me off on an exciting, catharatic journey with words.
The other aspect that goads creativity is supression! You may wonder how and why, but history records and I confirm that when one is unable to express oneself freely, creativity with words flows abundantly. So also with me. So now that there is freedom I wonder whether i will be as creative?!
Any incident can become a story. So in my quest for stories I encounter interesting discoveries and understanding.
Hear ye, Hear Ye! Lets Swap some stories
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