Susheela’s Kolams

As part of world literacy day celebrations in early September, Pratham books had a volunteering event across the world. Their dream was to get 100 book reading sessions across the country.

And guess what ! They pulled off not 100, but 250 story telling sessions across India.

I was one of the volunteers from Bangalore. My whole wanting to participate happened after a lot of dilly dallying, wondering if I can pull off such a event with a 3 year old .The husband has been busy what with exams and classes on most weekends. So after a lot of yes and no’s , I finally took the courage to write to Pratham asking the details. The details were simple – to narrate Susheela’s Kolams to kids on World Literacy day .

Initially the plan was to narrate the story to kids in any Government school . Since this was on a saturday, I was pretty sure that government schools would be open. However the thought of having to leave the toddler alone with daddy who was studying all day , and then the fact that I cannot converse in Kannada fluently led me to finally zero in on my apartment complex.

The next task to be handled was booking the hall.I couldn’t get it because some family had already booked it for an event.I finally conducted the event in front of my apartment.We set the limit to a total of 20 kids. They came in all age groups, from the youngest being a year old to the oldest being 8.A lot of the ladies helped with the logistics – from providing a board where I could draw a kolam, to helping with mats for the kids to be seated.

I spent 3 sleepless nights wondering how to add that additional punch, putting into it my own masala elements to make the story interesting to the kids. In the story , Susheela draws kolams on trains and also managed to draw them on the sky. For props, I used my son’s toys.

The event was houseful !! a huge success.

This was the first time I was doing something like this and I managed to pull it off very well. Some of the moms came over and asked if I attended some training before hand :-). One other said , I did like , how teachers do it in schools. For once, I was lapping it all up.

and oh !! by the way. After the narration ,the kids got to do a coloring activity. I had carefully chosen some animal rangolis from the internet .So there was elephant rangoli, mango rangoli , duck rangoli and the highlight was MICKEY rangoli.

I thought I had an excess of print outs. And what do you know !! the older ones finished their first coloring sheet and asked for another copy to color.

After the coloring, the kids jumped on to the biscuits .

They went back home very happy and satisfied.

I had sms’s from parents that got to hear the narration of the day from the kids. I had one mom send me a long sms, as to how no one conducts such events for free etc etc…

And this event was the first in the complex- where we were using time productively and not on parties or tattoos or pizzas!

I definitely was on cloud nine on that day

Another highlight was the #PBChamps that was active on twitter all day. That day seemed like Diwali.With tweets and success stories pouring from all over India. Each volunteer wishing the best of luck to others, and sharing pics of their accomplishment

That day will remain special for me. That was my first story telling initiative.A new hobby !!! and what a amazing one at that

Today, this very insignificant auntie that trugges along her laptop as early as 7 AM in the morning, is called “story auntie ” while I pass by 🙂
The other day, I was walking back to my block after work, while a small girl waved a big hi and said “story auntie ” to her mom

And on another day, another little girl called me that while I walked back home.

I have one another story waiting to me told.So while I go about my weekend duties, I am sorting it out on my mind, on how different I can make it from my first attempt

Hopefully, I can pen down another success story soon !!

Update : Pratham Books has this on Twitter today

Very nice! “@prathambooks: Reading about one person’s take on the #PBChamps event: …”

3h Pratham Books Pratham Books ‏@prathambooks

Reading about one person’s take on the #PBChamps event: