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Monday, September 9, 2013

The amazing world of stories

It was another Saturday, yet, full of promises of a bright day ahead.

A story was awaiting its turn to be revealed, to be told to a bunch of 80 enthusiastic and
mischievous children from class 7. On the occassion of International Literacy Day , Pratham
Books aimed to reach out to children across India and the globe, by way of storytelling...in
several languages.

There are a lot of us, and especially our children, who are inclined, yet, oblivious to the world of
books, of education. None of us, however, are oblivious to the amazing world of stories.

One such, called "Paplu Rakshas" (Paplu the Giant), was what I had taken upon myself to share with these bubbling handful. These 80 children, at the very sight of artoicles for activity (chart paper, packets, bags in my hand), began to scream, "teacher, when will you give the chart papers to us? Are there colours for us this time, too?"

After managing to quiet them down, without lowering their eagerness, I explained to them how would we go about the story and activity.  And so began the story of Paplu the Giant...

80 inquisitive, exuberant children listened to me, hanging on to every
word I read to them, aloud. Catching on to every nuance, intonation,
and question. They raised their hands to answer questions, they
shouted out loud to mimic an imaginary Paplu. The story was letting
them be, the narration, setting their imagination free. With child like impatience, they began to predict what-happened-next-situations. They giggled. Their curiosity for the better of them.

Every response from them oozed creativity and their rich imagination egged them on to more. I
had planned for a lot of conversation in between the storytelling. It added to the narration. It
brough them close to the experience. Once the narration was over, they split themselves into

Restless hands began to look for colours, pencils, erasers. Deft fingers began to etch Paplu's sketch on to the chart papers. The verandah where I was conducting this session was abuzz with excitement and mumbles, in the same breath.

Once sketched, it was Paplu's turn to get dressed in newspaper dresses. Beautiful ideas,
vibrant colours, and witty explanations spread through the air. Each group stepped up to
"present" their creation to the rest of their classmates. With pride in their eyes, joy in their
hearts and smiles upon their lips, they displayed their work. 

Happy faces bowed to thundering claps of their friends, and said their good byes for the day. Here's to their spirit, and to the amazing world of stories.

Team Work

Clothing the Kind Giant

Paplu in Making
The children painted a picture from their mind's eye

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