Sunday 25 October 2015

Pratham Books Champions : The Travelling Nautanki

When we chose 'The Boy and the Drum' as the chosen book for this year's event, we were hoping that we would get to see kids enacting the play. One of the first pictures we saw of kids preparing for the grand show were the ones that Tanu Shree Singh started sharing with us. Tanu Shree tell us more about how the play took shape with The Travelling Nautanki...

Session conducted on : 5th September
Number of kids : 30 + 40 = 70
Number of sessions : 2
Language the session was conducted in : Hindi

'You up for acting in a play?'

Two heads nodded.

That is how it started. I enrolled for #PBChamps this year and sure enough the book came within a few days. When I read it, and realised that it was a play, I figured I had two choices - adapt it to a story, or get people to actually act in it. The first option was enticing. But then I went and asked my boys aged 12 and 14. They nodded and hence started the madness. Ishaan Singh (14 years) and Vivaan Singh (12 year) roped their friends in and soon The Travelling Nautanki was born! Ishita Kalra (14 years), Roza Majumdar (14 years), Prisha MainRai (12 years) and Nidhipa Dev Mainrai (9 years) joined us and roles were assigned. All hell broke loose as we struggled to take the play ahead. I had never acted in a play (unless being a tree counts) and neither had I directed one. The children had mostly participated in group events at school. 

The next three weeks were spent practicing relentlessly - dialogues were learnt, minor changes made, props prepared and more practice done. The minor change in question being that we changed it to Ladli from Ladla. We hope that we will be forgiven for that. We even made a mobile horse (stuck on a toddler scooter)! Then came the big day! Morning saw us packing the Travelling Nautanki up and leaving for Savera. This is a school for the economically disadvantaged children. There were around 30 children here who thoroughly enjoyed the play. Everything went off smoothly barring one incident of the horse toppling over! Well our horsie is like that - he drops off to sleep without a warning. The play was followed by an art session where everyone made scratch-art cards for others using oil pastels.

The second half of the day was spent at Karm Marg. The play went well (horsie too decided to be a good chap). Loud applause greeted the kids! And the art session saw around 40 participants. 

I have never had so much fun during story telling sessions that I hold alone. It was lovely watching the six participants come out of their shells, innovate and give their best. The joy increased exponentially, when, after the play, they helped the children with art. On our way back incessant conversation and requests filled the car:

'So when can we do this again?'
'We'll do a different story this time!'
'Yes! Can we? Please?'

I smiled and drove on. A tiny bunch of kids have been unleashed for good. And they are now looking for their next set of victims whom they can infect with love for stories.

You can view all the pictures from the events here and here. And don't miss the video of their performance 

Thank you Tanu Shree for helping coordinate this event and to the Travelling Nautanki for giving life to this story!

In its fourth edition of the 'One Day - One Story' campaign, Pratham Books was joined by 2500+ storytellers who conducted 2300+ storytelling sessions. Many, many steps towards a 'Reading India'! 

What started as a small step by Pratham Books to spread the joy of reading has become a movement. In 2012, Pratham Books initiated the One Day-One Story initiative on the occasion of International Literacy Day . We will be sharing the stories of all our volunteer storytellers (Pratham Books Champions) through our blog. 

View more pictures from the International Literacy Day Celebrations held in 2015. 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 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 champions(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

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