Friday 12 July 2013

Pratham Books Champion : Shipra R. Upadhyay

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.

This story was sent by Shipra R. Upadhyay. Shipra R. Upadhyay is a history graduate form Nowrosjee

Wadia College. She further went on studying law and archaeology. A film and theatre enthusiast, since last seven years, she has been involved in documenting oral tradition. She tries to explore the idea of art, culture, tradition, custom, and sexuality in archaeological, historical, psychological and legal perspective. She has also worked on a small project titled Drug Addiction and Its Psycho-Social Impact on Youth. At present she is working towards a documentary film and a narrative monologue based on three prominent Hindu mythological female characters. She is also in the process of compiling the stories and tales which she has learned from her grandmother.

When we look around us we see that the children of this era are going through a great emotional crisis. We are providing everything readymade to them without realizing what they really need. When we say that that “today’s generation is not listening “, in fact we are partially wrong. We have never made them listen. All we are trying to do is to follow order…Do this… do that… manner we have instilled in our children..!!! How many of us ask our child to go and sit with granny or grandpa or any elderly person at home. Never or hardly, have we never thought about it that a child needs some emotional connect. I still remember my grandmother’s bedtime stories and lullabies. Memory of that moment adds a lilt in feet and a twinkle in my eyes. And it gives me immense pleasure when I share a story with a child. The story telling session for Pratham Books on 8th September just happened it was not organized. With a beautiful story “Susheela's Kolams' in my mind I boarded the train from Baroda to Pune. My happiness had no limit when I noticed a family travelling with two kids up to Pune. I generously offered them my window seat to them since children love to explore the landscape form the running train. As well behaved kids they were exploring the landscape from the window. Suddenly we broke into conversation about their hobbies and interests. And it was not very different to learn about all types of video games and computer games were their favorite games. A school teacher Mom never got time to tell them stories. The time they spent at home was only with books and games. As brief as I could have been, I explained their mother about the significance of storytelling and the story of Susheela's Kolams which I had in my mind. She was thrilled to know about this initiative and narrated the story to the kids in Gujarati. They not only turned best companion for that short journey but we shared many other stories. That was the biggest event and I always cherish those moments in my journey ahead…!!! 

Thank you Shipra 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.

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