Metrolife: Storytelling in cafes, parks

Metrolife: Storytelling in cafes, parks

A session in progress at Dialogues in Koramangala.

Live storytelling has not lost its appeal even in a digital age.

Professional storytellers in Bengaluru say live stories now have the additional responsibility of weaning children away from electronic gadgets.

Lavanya Prasad, storyteller and founder of Taléscope, says, “We all connect to stories despite our age. A connection happens immediately.” 


'Storywallah' combines storytelling with activities.
'Storywallah' combines storytelling with activities. 

She prefers oral narratives passed on through the generations. “These can be myths or folktales with a cultural context. They define the culture of a place,” she says.

Lavanya works with children t o a large extent, but her immediate focus is senior citizens.

“I have started a programme called ‘Roots’, and it helps seniors recall stories from their life,” she says.

Storytellers are going to cafes and outdoor locations. “These spaces give people a sense of belonging,” she adds.

Many attend three or four storytelling sessions a month.

“Each session is an hour long. It is divided into 30 minutes of storytelling and 30 minutes of activities related to the story. The sessions help parents and children bond and make new associations,” says Ankit Gupta, owner, Dialogues.

He sees listening to stories as a good way to learn life skills.

“Every summer, we have something called digital detoxifying so that kids don’t get back to electronic gadgets. We teach them how to respect elders, help those in need, and not talk ill about others,” he says.

Ameen Haque, founder of Storywallahs, conducts sessions in cafes, theatres, parks and even under trees.

Taléscope at Good Earth store, Lavelle Road
Taléscope at Good Earth store, Lavelle Road. 

As long as there is a listener and a teller, any place is good, by his reckoning.

“Stories are an important part of growing up. They nurture our imagination. Tales told verbally are the best. Television and mobile phones are not great storytellers,” he says.

Haque says too much of something, and in this case, digitisation, leads to a counter-trend.

“Today, with storytelling taken over by television and mobile apps, people want to go back in time,” he says.