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 yeara��s globally-celebrated event.
a�?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,a�? begins Ameen Haque of The Storywallahs. a�?They are like crystal balls; you can see the past; make sense of the present and predict the future by looking into them,a�? 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. a�?Aside from sessions for kids, we also have four Tellathons under our belt, which are narrative-based events for adults,a�? explains Srinivasan, adding that a�?every human should be nurtured with a storytelling culture.a�? 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. a�?You need to truly understand the listener, yourself and the story,a�? says Athreya. a�?Mastery over language and ability to respond to situations on the spot are a must for any storyteller,a�? adds Haque, while Srinivasan points out that even the best storytellers have to stay on top of their game. a�?We need to constantly change and adapt our style, just like any artist,a�? 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 citya��s finest storytellers. 4 pm onwards tomorrow at Kathalaya Centre, Bannerghatta Road.
a��Maegan Dobson Sippy