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It was raining for the past couple of days and the weather was balmy. The traffic was chaotic. But when Shalini Arora, the speaker for the day reach RAK Study Centre, and was greeted with a huge Good Morning by a group of tiny angels, all the annoyance of existence vanished. We were at RAK Study Centre at Lady Irwin College for the second session of storytelling. There were 40 children between ages 2-4 for the session.

Frog out of water

Frog out of water

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Shalini began her session with a story named “The Greedy Frog”. She narrated the story with the help of props such as hand puppets, colourful scarfs, stick puppets and mask which proved to be the most efficient way to get the kids involved. She made animal voices with the children and they loved it. The story was about a frog who drinks all the water of the jungle and how animals make him laugh to get the water back out of his tummy. She modulated her voice to engage the children and ended with the rhyme “sticky bubblegum”.

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Delhi monsoons can be very depressing. Humid days, traffic jams due to rains. But spending an afternoon with children always lifts up your mood. And if  there’s a writer telling you stories from childhood, it is an icing on the cake.
That is exactly what happened at the RAK Study Centre, Lady Irwin College. Vasundhara Bahuguna from Delhi Storytelling Network, the speaker for today’s session had two stories to tell a group of chirpy and enthusiastic kids between 7-13 years of age. The kids were eager to listen to the stories and throughout the session all of them and listened intently. Vasundhara narrated two stories which the kids themselves gave titles to. She made the session more interesting as she made funny voices, rhymed and involved kids in the story as well.
A magical afternoon

A magical afternoon

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The first story was about an old folk tale about Cat and Mouse which she had appropriated with rhymes and Indian names and expressions and the other was also an old tale about a Fisherman and the Gold Fish.The stories were funny and magical (the second story had a fish that was magical).

The principal and children of Little Learner Kindergarten gave a warm welcome to Grace Jie Jie (Grace Wong) and Lulu Jie Jie(Mah Xiang Ru). Lulu Jie Jie is a PhD in molecular biology but is passionate about paper craft and storytelling. Grace Jie Jie is an early childhood lecturer who loves books and storytelling.

Lulu Jie Jie started the session with some music and taught the children some movements to warm them up. After this Grace Jie Jie narrated a story about gorilla that was looking for friends.

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Stand up and dance

Lulu Jie Jie told a story about a child who wanted to eliminate his enemy. His father told him about a magic pie that would make his enemy disappear. All he needed was to play with his enemy one full day without fighting. Lulu Jie Jie ended the session with some more music and dance.

Grace Rong Rong captivated both children and their parents at China House, The Old Court House. She told them two stories, both about fishes.

The first story was about a fish motif that goes missing from a boy’s shirt. The fishes flew away and the little boy tries to bring them back on his shirt through various ways. He succeeds after he writes a letter to all the five fishes.

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The second story was about a small fish that stole a hat from a bigger fish and how the hat was recovered from the small fish.

Grace also had a craft session and showed the children how to make a beautiful fish sun catcher. The children proudly showed off their craft at the end of the session.

Alan Tan is a man of many talents. He is not only a primary school teacher, but also a radio announcer. And he loves to tell stories.

A bunch of 70 enthusiastic kids greeted Alan at SJK St. Paul. After the initial introduction Alan started the session with some songs and games.

The story he shared with the children was about a lion that had 1000 teeth. But he lost all of them as a boy fed him lots of candy.

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Dancing with Alan

Alan also narrated another story about a Monster which was actually a dog. The dog-turned-monster had the ability of eating all the abusive words its master said at home while quarreling and scolding. The more he ate the bigger he became. In the end, the family members learned how to talk nicely and softly at home.

Alan made his session interesting with songs and acts and the children enjoyed the session a lot.

Author and comic book scriptwriter Kshitish Padhy was given a warm welcome when he visited NGO Swabalamban. The author made the children learn new things with his unique sense of humor, activities and acting. He started the session with a small Balloon game, where one child had to act like pumping air in the balloon and his partner acted like a balloon getting inflated. It’s an exercise that keeps your lungs strong and healthy. The children participated in the game enthusiastically.

Hop goes the frog and pop goes the balloon

Hop goes the frog and pop goes the balloon

Then he played a game called POP-POP, with kids, where one had to jump like frogs saying pop, the game stretched for quite some time as children were enjoying it to fullest. After that he introduced them with the concept of theater acting and all the kids gladly showed him their acting skills. Some acted like birds, some animals and some their real life idols.

Our author boosted their confidence, and made them believe that one can find happiness and success in small things. He made them realize how education is important for their career. The children promised to work hard in studies and requested the author to visit again.

 

The children at Shri Ram Global School, Gurgaon had a rocking time when Sharada Kolluru visited them on Wednesday. They sang songs of Bunnu Bhai with her. Sharada lead about 80 students, between the ages of 6-8, to the forest of Kaziranga and introduced them to Bunnu Bhai the cheery Rhino who had a song for every occasion. Bunnu Bhai invites all the animals of the jungle to a night of vegetarianism. But what happens when the feast is interrupted by an earthquuuaaake! Well Bunnu Bhai has a song to calm everyone during the calamity.

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When the tiger ate salads and the rhino sand a song

The children laughed and sung along with Bunnu Bhai. The tiger who ate salad had them rolling with laughter, howling with the wolf to announce the party and snoring with Bunnu when the story ended. The session ended with a lot of the participants expressing a desire to be writers and Sharada sharing the story of how she became one.

When Christopher C Doyle kicked off his session at Indian School with a bunch of 14-15-year-olds, there were quite a few mystery and science buffs but not too many hands went up when history was mentioned. An hour later, when he had finished, one could see many a convert to history too.

Doyle mixed mystery, science, mythology and history to keep the children rooted to their seats. Any teacher would have given his or her right arm to get such an attentive audience.

The proceedings started off with a presentation of the mysteries of the world. How did the stones at Stonehenge get up there in the first place? How was one stone (some of them weighing 50 tonnes) placed on top of others without a crane being used in the process? How were such big, heavy stones transported and used to construct the pyramids of Egypt?

History will no more be a mystery

History will no more be a mystery

It was enough to set the stage for what was to follow. Doyle emphasized the fact that he uses ancient history and what happened then with mythology and science to create fiction set in the modern world. Both his books – The Mahabharata Secret and the Mahabharata Quest: Alexander’s Secret – mesmerized. Doyle went on to talk about Alexander’s Secret in detail and the Greek conqueror’s connection with an event in the Mahabharata – the Samudra Manthan.

Did Alexander come to India with the express purpose of getting at the nectar that guaranteed immortality? Doyle left the question for the students. And the queue at the books display left no doubt that the children wanted to know more.

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