Showing posts from 2013

Minthe in Mythology

The Herb Society of America has this to say about Mythology: Mythology is the handmaid of literature, and literature promotes happiness. Myths were told or sung to people at least 5,000 years ago. They were told to explain dreams or reasoning for certain happenings or to understand their gods. The website gives a brief outline of many herbs and also the myths/stories behind these herbs But the story I find most fascinating and filled with Jungian interpretations is the story of Mint... Minthe or Mentha was a beautiful naiadian (naiad), a water maiden who lived near the river Cocytus. The lord of the underworld Hades (otherwise known as Pluto), falls in love with her and seduces her easily, as she is completely mesmerized by the handsome God and his golden chariot.  Hades has committed great folly; his wife is none other than the mighty Persephone. The spurned wife captures the hapless lover and has her crushed. Hades unable to

Story Words: SONDER

n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk. Poetic indeed... Another meaning  The realisation that every random person is living a life as vivid and complex as your own... . This word (or non-word) is a relatively new entrant into the world of words and has not been actually accepted by any Dictionary of repute... It was used on a blog on Tumblr first and was created by "The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows" The origin is interesting and so is its meaning.... "As she

Stories in words: Serendipity

Life is a series of accidents...You can either agree with me or disagree. On one side you have the Achiever, who plans and plots his path, sticking to goals and getting there or  striving to get there. On the other hand is the Achiever who walks a path, that he/ she is willing to take as it comes and goes; the inadvertent adventurer. I fall into the second category... So as I found a definition for events that unfold in my life by virtue of accident, I also found something else by accident... Some words in the dictionary have beautiful stories to tell!! So my first word to you readers is "Serendipity".  It comes with such a rich background, I am truly stumped at how it has landed on my plate, and embarked me on this journey... Sir Horace Walpole created this word after reading the story of  "The Three  Princes of Serendip". It is a Persian fairytale of 3 princes who embark on a journey and make many discoveries by accident; discoveries of wisdom and

Anansi stories

I am always on the look out for stories to perform...and  Anansi the Trickster spider is a great story to perform especially in Tandem. This character of Jamaican origin, is a spider, but upto all kinds of tricks as he tries to become a human in many ways... Anansi and How wisdom Spread is a great story, with multiple versions available, each ending in a different way. The story can be performed with a nice African chant to begin with... These stories can also be adapted as sensory stories..."Why Anansi has Thin legs" is a great story to tell with sensorial material Enjoy!

Miss. Baigan, Mrs Kadhu, Yo Carrot and Oye Onion...Veggie stories

Story : The Great Vegetable Race Story characters: Miss.Baingan; Mrs.Khadu Khadu, Yo Carrot; Oye Onions and the winner is Runner Beans   Story Line: A simple story, where the veggies are excited over a competition, added flavor is the fact that Miss.Baingan thinks it is a beauty contest! They all come prepared...but eventually the race is won by Runner Beans!! Applause!! Applause!! A great way to have children participate in this story is have them bring vegetables and dress it up for the story! Best suited for the little ones... But I had fun, doing up my veggies...take a look.... Story: The Enormous Carrot Story Characters: Any animal that you can find, people too Story Line: Based on the story "The Enormous Turnip", I adapted it to use  a carrot as children are familiar with it and the veggie is also one that throws shoot out, which can be pulled out.. So Grandfather and his family try to pull out the carrot, but fi

When your daughter fits into your clothes...

There I have said it... I have actually wanted to write about this for the past 4 months, but just don't have the discipline to put pen to paper, or as the case here, finger to keyboard. What have I disclosed? daughter fits into my clothes!! (Picture me with a wry face!!) How does that make me feel? Proud, happy, awestruck Bemused, sad, and a wee bit scared... Whoa...I thought the first time it happened... is she that big?!! Well, let me set the context here. My daughter learns Carnatic music and till 4 months back she was allowed to wear long skirts and tee for classes. I guess the long became too flowy and unwieldy and definitely distracting for some children, so the rule now is to wear kurtas/ salwar to class. So she picked out her only kurta and legging and wore it for class. Then the next class came and the absent minded mother that I am, I had done nothing to enhance her wardrobe. So she started scouting....conveniently in my cupboard.  Lo and b

October starts with "Picturing Change"!

Where do I begin to tell you of all the wonderful things that have been happening? October started with a bang...with a great storytelling session for the Picturing Change event at Thalam Gallery in Domlur. Let me rewind a bit to tell you that I met a wonderful soul called Mathangi in a theatre workshop. Somehow in spite of the age difference we really clicked!! We kept in touch, and I happened to keep bumping into her from time to time. and so it happened....she invited me to do a story session for children from the Anganwadis that she was working with, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. But the request was to do it in Kannada! That is a challenge, as I can tell in English and Tamil, but have never tried Kannada. Luckily for me, Aparna, who I work with at Kid and Parent Foundation is fluent in Kannada, so we accepted the invitation to do a session in Kanglish (if you will pardon my typical englification of Kannada!) Picturing Change is a wonderful idea, conceptualized

Round up of Events for September!

Loads happening and loads to tell! Though I would have liked to blog about each event separately. Too many things happening around me! It so happens that in my excitement to capture the event, I have been busy behind the camera and forget to ask someone to capture me in front of it! So here are more events and activities from Kid and Parent Foundation.... September 2/ 2013 : It all started with a wonderful event at a school in Indra Nagar, Bangalore, that was celebrating Maria Montessori's birth anniversary. They had requested us to present snippets from her life story to the children along with some fun, interactive stories. So we introduced the children to Karan and Pinky, 2 adorable brother and sister puppets, who shared Montessori Aunty's life with them, followed by 2 stories, Counting Lady Bug and MilkMan's Cow! We had a blast ad so did the children #-----------------------------# September 5/ 2013: Call for Champions: Pratham books annual story

The Myth of Cupid and Psyche

Here is another story that touched me.I generally keep browsing for stories, and particularly look for stories that can be performed. There is a difference. You see, there are many stories, that need to be read aloud from a book as the language of the text itself is so beautiful, while others sound nice being narrated at some opportune moment, like  a personal story, or a parable. Stories that can be performed are a different league, not only does one need to relate with the characters, we also have to look at the flow of the story, in terms of the character's quest or search for some resolution. If you are a story writer, you will be well aware of how the story plot has to be carefully planned and characters sketches need to stand out for some unique reason or the other. So browsing through my collection of stories for a story to tell at the monthly meeting of BSN (Bangalore Storytelling Network) at Atta Galatta, I saw I had saved the story of Cupid and Psyche.  Ah! a Love

Serving a higher purpose

Stories serve a higher purpose. Every storyteller starts with a passion to tell a story. They are in all probability enamored by the hero or the hero's quest (here I use Hero without denote male and female). But soon this fascination starts to wind itself around the teller, and she/ he soon begins to play with the story. Adapting it, changing it to suit the occasion, or completely transforming it to make it their own. But there is another angle to it. Stories speak directly to our consciousness. Things that were not said may be construed by the audience and every person takes back what they want to from the story...I as the story teller, have no control over it. Can we then engage the audience in a way to step up their understanding. That is what is called as scaffolding. A term widely used in drama and theater practices. Where the audience/ participants will actively engage with the story through specific strategies...which could include asking questions, role

Where is it?

Compassion, kindness, love Where is it? I am unable to read the newspaper nowadays. Unable to see the rape, death, and horror that we have created in this human reality, I read my children's school edition least there is some positive information there. A good question to start with is What does compassion look like in ourselves? For me compassion is unlimited, unbound unconditional love. For me compassion is in my word. Compassion is knowing that the reason for another to be different, is as difficult for me to understand as the other's difficulty to understand me. We go through life so unaware of what we are saying and how we are saying it. Words and actions that so contradict our intentions. We love our children, but do we respond with compassion to them? Is communication congruent? We growl and glare and stare at them...all because we are trying to discipline them. Recently we had a mini crisis in my house. My son is in this trajectory of runni

We meet again!

Yes it was the second meeting of BSN! @ Thalam in Domlur on 30th July 2013 Bangalore Storytelling Network is creating a space for adult story tellers. This time it was a smaller group, but we shared great stories. I heard an Arabian folktale  and a Jewish folktale, a very engrossing and looong story from South India, a myth actually, then a children's tale and finally a wonderful episode from the Mahabharata. (I told a very contemporary myth from Tibet, written by a Shambala Sangha member.) The episode from Mahabharatha was taken from the book, The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, and speaks about the beginning of the story of stories...and that it was all for a glass of milk...kept us engrossed for quite some time as any story from Indian mythology does, as it is so rich in metaphor (Thanks Neeta). It is difficult not to sit and ponder over the fact that when we actually trace the source of a gigantic manifested problem, it would have in fact started as an i

Remembering You

My mother passed away this January. But I am not writing to say I am sad…she suffered towards the end and was in great pain. I want to write about the dignity I saw in her pain. Some people suffer a lot throughout their life and then when the end comes it is in all probability sudden and peaceful. But Amma lived a peaceful life, troubled by small things I am sure, managing a joint family, 3 children and an ambitious husband. She sacrificed her aspirations in the initial years to pave way for a life filled with achievements in the later stage of her life, as an accomplished writer and social worker. When her end came, she was but 61 years old, is that too young, or is that old enough? I know a friend who lost his mother when she was but 51 years and another who lost her father when he was but 48 years. However old, the loss is amplified by the amount and extent to which they suffer or the extent to which we see their suffering. Sudden, incomprehensible loss leads to grea

Knit me a Story

Asha Nehemiah's story "Funny Sweaters" is really a gem...I am not sure many have taken a theme such as this to write a cute children's story. It is about an old woman who ...knits!  The old woman moves to the mountains with her daughter and faces a problem every day. As evening sets in, the clouds move into her house and barely allow her to see, and in that darkness she continues to knit. But alas, in the morning she discovers an extra hand or an extra hole in her sweater...but don't you fret, for she is a resourceful lady who then gifts these wonderfully crazy sweaters to those who really deserve the Mother and Baby monkey a sweater with 2 neck holes, to keep them both the three legged Dog, a sweater with 3 arms!! I wonder how children would enjoy this story? I know my children have chuckled over the story line and picked it up couple of times to look at the whacky ideas created by Asha...but it would be interesting to throw open this bo

A story! A story! and the creation of BSN

Venue: Thalam Purpose: Meeting of the Bangalore Storytelling Network Theme: Any story for 5 minutes Well if I was to send you an invite it would contain these details! An interesting forum has been created  for Storytellers in Bangalore and the venue was Thalam, a brand new space for creative endeavors, in Domlur(check out the link)!! Thalam is centrally located and provides space for events, workshops and get-to's. We were happy to get this space for our first ever meeting of the Storytelling Network in Bangalore, created by Deeptha a pretty young storyteller! So a bit of intro, some stories and some thinking went into an evening spent sharing, understanding and creating...creating a focus for this group of people who appear to love evening well spent. Here is the story I said: AK Ramanujam's Folktales from India, is a collection one must a scripture to put it more strongly. Read it and then again, till stories sink into your bone. I

My Mountain Song - Hope to appease its fury...

It is almost surreal to think that we were there just last week (June 11th to 16th). My much awaited vacation, a proper one, with rooms booked, flights booked, not an ad-hoc drive down-and take-the-first-motel-that-we-can-find. The Himalayas, seductive beauty that she is, beckoned us and we gladly surrendered to her enchantment. We had  a dream stay at Manali Sterling Resorts called White Mist. Picture perfect, and at that time I thought, in perfect weather. The locals were complaining of the heat and on the day we landed it started drizzling, "perfect weather too" I exclaimed. Sweaters out, umbrellas out, what a quintessential Hill station! "I just died in its arms!!"      We did not realise the fury that was to be unleashed in the wake of our return. We escaped at every step, just managing to leave Kullu from Buntar airport on the only flight that flew that week and then again from Delhi, before the floods marooned the s