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Deccan Herald » Metro Life - Sat » Detailed Story
Once at a workshop...
Rashmi Rao
Want a fun activity for your three-year-old on a Saturday afternoon? Listen to the engrossing stories at
Once upon a time... words, which spelt magic, words that fuelled a child’s imagination, words that continue to inspire young minds. However, not all stories told (or retold) today necessarily begin with the same.

Says Geeta Ramanujam of Kathalaya, “We not only tell them stories, we also teach concepts through our storytelling workshops. Gone are the days when every story ended with a moral. Today’s stories are about the ‘how’ and the ‘why’. ‘Why and how does the rainbow form?’, ‘How did the peacock get its colours?’ etc.

“We also incorporate folk tales, Almost all of them are relevant even today. India has such a diverse cultural and literary base and it’s been a pleasure sourcing stories for young listeners from folk tales of different states.”

A recent storytelling workshop for children in the age group 3 - 7, held at EasyLib at Koramangala, was an exciting event. The storytelling was followed by an activity session where children got to be themselves - tear paper, collect the shreds and fill up big paper covers with them. Then they all had to tie a twig and paste pink eyes and a black nose and voila! Crows came to life in the small library space.

Shrill cries of ‘caw caw’ in varying pitches filled the air, while some children attempted to ‘flap imaginary wings’ others complained about a broken crow neck or torn wings!

After a noisy bout of cawing, storyteller Tanuja from Kathalaya, who was conducting the workshop, went over the story once again, with children holding up the paper puppet each time the crow, the story’s central character, was mentioned.

“I joined Kathalaya three years ago. We tell stories for the fun of it. There’s fantasy, folk tales and fun stories. In today’s fast paced lives children in nuclear families are deprived of the simple joy of grandparents telling stories. So workshops such as these, not only enrich children’s minds, but also help in reviving the fading art of storytelling,” said Tanuja.

She added that storytelling also helps build cognitive skills and in recall of stories. “Some children are scared of rote learning lessons. But here, they don’t need to fear. They can be taught a lot through stories,” she said.

Vanishree K Mahesh, proprietrix of, the first Internet enabled circulating library in the City, said of these workshops, “We have activities almost every Saturday. But storytelling workshops of this kind are organised on the third Saturday of every month at our premises. Older children too join in sometimes. We planned this activity session because there was nothing going on for three and four-year-olds.”

The children were unanimous in their verdict of the workshop - interesting and enjoyable. For more on these workshops, contact at #5, 1st Floor, 7th Main, 80 ft Rd, I Blk Koramangala. Ph: 25501499/ 51102231.

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