We find out how city-based storytellers weave their magic, as they prepare to mark March 20 with stories inspired by wishes, the theme for this year’s globally-celebrated event.
“Stories are food for the soul. They are fundamental to how we understand the world and ourselves. But of late, we have lost touch with the oral storytelling traditions,” begins Ameen Haque of The Storywallahs. “They are like crystal balls; you can see the past; make sense of the present and predict the future by looking into them,” adds Aparna Athreya, a founder-member of Bangalore Storytelling Society, which is planning an online session for today. Initiated in 2013 in collaboration with professional storyteller Sowmya Srinivasan, the society is now a fully-fledged professional body. “Aside from sessions for kids, we also have four Tellathons under our belt, which are narrative-based events for adults,” explains Srinivasan, adding that “every human should be nurtured with a storytelling culture.” For Haque and The Storywallahs, this involves expanding their remit to include corporates, giving future business leaders skills that are as useful in the boardroom as they are in a classroom.
Tricks of the trade
Like magicians, these city-based storytellers are reluctant to give away their secrets, but agree that forming a connection with the audience is central to the art form. “You need to truly understand the listener, yourself and the story,” says Athreya. “Mastery over language and ability to respond to situations on the spot are a must for any storyteller,” adds Haque, while Srinivasan points out that even the best storytellers have to stay on top of their game. “We need to constantly change and adapt our style, just like any artist,” she says.
Join the fun
With events happening citywide, there are plenty of ways to get involved:
The Bangalore Storytelling Society is planning a Virtual Meet today, where stories related to wishes will be told over Skype. Anyone can log in and watch.
Kahaani Walli organises a workshop called Wishes that Last Forever. 6.30 pm onwards today at Atta Galatta, Koramangala.
Kathalaya brings together some of the city’s finest storytellers. 4 pm onwards tomorrow at Kathalaya Centre, Bannerghatta Road.
—Maegan Dobson Sippy