By Shubhangi Shah

Most of us have grown up listening to tales narrated by our mother and father and grandparents. Legends from Ramayana and Mahabharata, folks tales, non secular tales, these about peculiar individuals, animals—listening to those have been sufficient to take us to a fictional land so engrossing that only one brief story wasn’t sufficient to satiate our artistic instincts. Sadly, with the rising recognition of different mediums, equivalent to TV, social media and OTT platforms, this artwork of oral storytelling is swiftly fading away.

A competition for storytelling

“Once we began, it was very troublesome to search out Indian storytellers,” mentioned Shaguna Gahilote, a author, skilled storyteller, and one of many three organisers of Kathakar: Worldwide Storytellers Pageant, the opposite two being her sisters Rachna and Prarthna. The competition, an annual affair that began in 2011, held its 14th version this 12 months on Might 20 and 21 at New Delhi’s Sunder Nursery reverse the towering Humayun’s Tomb. “These have been conventional storytellers whose kinds have been very historical. You introduced them to a contemporary stage, they usually have been unable to attach,” she mentioned. Therefore, the thought behind Kathakar, which means storyteller, was “to protect this artwork type, as they have been in all probability the final technology of artistes working towards it,” Shaguna defined. Documenting it was not an possibility as you once more “field it up”. “As a substitute, we needed to construct a platform,” she added.

Herself a author, Shaguna’s tryst with tales started in her childhood when her mother and father not solely received her books but additionally narrated them. She and her sister Prarthna work in tradition. “We did a number of workshops with youngsters who didn’t bear in mind any folks tales. They often narrated tales like Cinderella and Snow White,” she mentioned.

A slice of desert

Like Shaguna, actor and theatre artiste Sikandar Khan additionally grew up listening to tales, particularly from her grandmother. “At evening, she narrated tales for hours. Even when she narrated the identical story a number of occasions, it appeared attention-grabbing. We received one thing new out of it with each passing narration,” he mentioned.

At Kathakar, Khan, who has labored within the hit Amazon Prime sequence Mumbai Diaries 26/11, narrated an 82-page-long Rajasthani folks story by Sahitya Akademi Award-winning author Vijaydan Detha. The story, initially written for studying, was rewritten into 17 pages. “The entire act was ready in six days,” he mentioned, including: “As an actor, I’ve to painting a narrative and this artwork type helps me immensely in that.”

Tales from faraway

“In India, oral storytelling is fading away. However in Europe, it noticed a revival way back to within the Eighties,” mentioned Shaguna. Bringing tales from his land was Michal Malinowski, knowledgeable storyteller from Poland. His efficiency was such that the viewers sat within the rain, some holding umbrellas, some not, because the performer carried out, himself drenched within the rain.

Bringing tales from the Himalayas was celebrated music composer Shantanu Moitra. Human-animal co-existence featured prominently in his narration.

Entertain & educate

That’s the factor about this historical artwork type. It isn’t simply leisure. Tales carried out typically have a studying or social statement embedded in them, which aren’t simply to entertain but additionally to teach.

One other factor is that storytelling can’t be consumed in a silo. “This isn’t like studying a ebook, which is an remoted affair,” mentioned the occasion’s organiser. “Storytelling, then again, is social,” she added. And rightly so. This artwork type can entertain an eight-year-old and an eighty-year-old on the identical time, therefore, binds the listeners. In a method, it contributes to cultural cohesion too. Not simply that, as it’s handed from one technology to the following, it will possibly act, to a sure diploma, as a report of the previous.

Preservation is the ‘want’

“It’s as a result of there’s a want,” mentioned Shaguna on why the hassle in preserving this fading artwork type is value it. “Folks story is an entire repository of tradition in itself, and in the event you lose it, you lose your tradition,” she mentioned. “And in the event you don’t move it on to the following technology, they may lose it,” she added.

The journey could be a lengthy one. However it will possibly start by merely listening and passing that story to the following technology. It’s that straightforward.

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