Friday 21 June 2013

Pratham Books Champion : Amit Panhale

For International Literacy Day (8th September), we had a dream - we wished that 100 people would volunteer to conduct storytelling sessions across the country. We ended up finding more than 250 champions to conduct storytelling sessions across the country. We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

Amit Panhale shared this story on his blog.

I waited, nervously. They walked in, curiously. Nine in all. Through the open door, the first one arrived, she peeped and smiled, the missing teeth not hiding the fullness of life in her face. The remaining eight came in groups of three, three and two, arriving only a few moments apart of each other, yet present before the designated hour. The room which had as occupants, only pieces of dead furniture till then, was now filled with the energy and the buzz of eager seven-year olds.

On the carpet we sat, forming a circle, imperfect but nonporous. As I put the books in the space in front of of us, they all stared at me and the books, expectantly. Soon we were in a jungle, where in the biting cold, two lovely and brave rabbits were fighting off the wolves. The nine faces reflected nervous tension before they gleamed, as the rabbits, Bullu and Gullu, forced the wolves to beat a hasty retreat.

I had assumed that it was my responsibility to keep the kids entertained, but as soon as the first story wound up and the rabbits went off to live ‘happily ever after’, a tiny hand shot up; little Gina wanted to tell us a story. She took us across seven mountains; we fought demons and wild animals, Gina’s face contorting to represent the ferocity they represented, before we found the plant that cured the King’s curse. For the next half an hour, I sat there transfixed, as the kids, I guess having figured out that I am a boring storyteller, took on the mantle to entertain and regaled me and themselves, with their imaginative stories which were full of novel characters.

In one story I read out, we followed a little gallivanting girl, as she experienced sounds of a dripping tap, the crunching of dry leaves and the whistle of a pressure cooker. Soon we were making sounds of the blowing wind, an aeroplane, a snoring man and a timid cat. We drew Kolams, without props, with imagination, on cars and cloth, with sand and thread, in monochrome and colour.

The youngest in the assembled bunch, then suddenly went quiet. When I inquired, she said, “Can we have the cake now?”. We feasted noisily, as the re-energized kids told me about their favourite subjects and activities. They all loved getting drenched in the rain, but their parents wouldn’t allow them. The kids said, the parents were afraid that they would fall ill. When I asked them if they obeyed their parents in the matter, they all emphatically shouted ‘No!’. I smiled. Told myself, ‘Thank God’.


Thank you Amit for spreading the joy of reading!

View more pictures from the International Literacy Day Celebrations.

This blog contains stories sent in by all our champions. Browse through the blog for more stories. You can also go through the tags on the right side of the blog to find stories happening in your own city.

Note : If any of you want to be a Pratham Books Champion and join us on our journey of getting 'a book in every child's hand', write to us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

No comments:

Post a Comment