App creates global legend out of nanny from Bengaluru

Mythology, folklore basis for stories broadcast to kids worldwide

App creates global legend out of nanny from Bengaluru

Children from across the world are in flights of fantasy twice a week, listening to the stories told by a grandmother in Bengaluru. This is thanks to Telegram, a popular mobile messaging application.

Known as Kahaniwali Nani (storytelling grandmother), Sarla Minni, a 60-year-old former teacher, has revived the art of storytelling for children through the medium of modern technology. Sarla records and broadcasts stories in her voice and sends it to her young subscribers through Telegram twice a week.

Sarla says,“My idea behind this initiative was to bring families together. In today’s generation, children have lost the beautiful experience of growing up listening to stories from their grandmothers. They are addicted to phones and watching TV and lack imagination. I want children to experience the joy of listening to stories from a grandmother through my voice.”

Sarla was inspired to undertake this initiative after she was encouraged by her niece Parul Rampuria, who knew how much Sarla’s stories were loved by children. Sarla - with the help of Parul - founded ‘Kahaniwali Nani,’ an initiative to revive the art of storytelling to children.

Nani’s stories are heard by children across India and the globe, including countries like Switzerland, Morocco, Nigeria, Germany, the USA, Israel, Ethiopia and Singapore.

Sarla records her stories in Hindi and English and sends them to her subscribers twice a week. Her stories span across mythology, animals, fairytales and folklores. She researches folklores from various parts of the world and transforms them into beautiful stories for the young listeners.

The stories are between eight and 11 minutes long and are primarily value-based that aim to inculcate values in children. Sarla offers free subscription to her listeners and says the stories are her gift to the children.

Sarla calls the subscribers her family of listeners and proudly says she has “over 10,000 grandchildren”. She has never marketed the initiative and says it has spread through the word of mouth.

Kahaniwali Nani, which began in March 2017, has not just gained popularity among children, but also their parents and grandparents. Sarla says, “I have children and parents writing to me that they love my stories and it reminds them of their grandmothers.”

One of her cherished memories is of getting a call from a mother in an area in Kashmir, close to the Pakistan border. The mother said there were no formal schools in her area and a very weak Internet connectivity. Whenever she is able to connect to the internet, she downloads Kahaniwali Nani stories to teach values to her children. Such feedback keeps Sarla going.

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