Published: 26th October 2017
Explore the lesser-known wonders of Hyderabad through this 23-year-old's storytelling group Dastangoi
Dastangoi aims to revive the ancient art of storytelling and Phaneendra Boosala needs your participation to do so
About three weeks ago, Phaneendra Boosala visited the slightly forgotten Paigah Tombs in Hyderabad, the maqhbara (grave) of the Paigah family, known for their unshakeable faith in the Nizam. He happened to strike a conversation with the caretaker of the tombs, who suggested that he have his next meet under the huge tree inside the tombs, where people can be surrounded by the grandeur of the forgotten architecture. The 23-year-old is now considering this venue for the third meet of Dastangoi, the name of the community he started and the name of the ancient art of oral Urdu storytelling, which he intends to revive. "Of course, there will be no language barrier," he tells us.
Palatial feels: The beautful Paigah Palace
Boosala came across the art form while he was travelling in Delhi. Breaking it down for us, he explains that ‘dastan’ means ‘a story’ and ‘goi’ means ‘to tell’. While during the community’s first meet, called Qissa-e-bachpan, held at Golconda last month, five to six people showed up and spoke about their childhood, at the second one, The Doors of Hyderabad, it was more about storytelling and travelling. "I wanted to take up storytelling through travelling and maybe in the future, through pictures and paintings as well," says Boosala, who is in his final of MBA at Dhruva College of Management, Medchal.
Flying solo: Boosala finishes all his assignments during the week and spends his weekends travelling sometimes with friends, but mostly solo
"There are several places of cultural significance, though not very well-known, that are crumbling," he tells us while speaking about the second event. The group started at the iconic Hotel Shadab near the High Court, then proceeded to Badshahi Ashurkhana, the hard-to-locate Shia house of mourning, with beautiful mosaic tiles. "The idea was to walk around and visit these places and appreciate their Iranian architecture," he says. The trip also included Pathargatti boulevard, the European-influenced Purani Haveli and finally, Charminar.
There are many places which are unexplored, storytelling can help us explore them
Boosala initiated Dastangoi not only because he was interested in storytelling and history, but also because he wanted to overcome his own anxiety of talking to new people. "As someone who is pursuing an MBA in Marketing, it is required that I talk to a lot of people," and Dastangoi has helped him with that. He travels from Medchal to find these spots in Hyderabad, almost like a recce for his events. "It makes me feel free; interacting with strangers unleashes something in me," says Boosala, who has travelled to tribal areas in Adilabad and Cherial to explore their art of painting as a part of his research.
Borrowing brilliance: Boosala has been a part of storytelling workshops which he drew from while forming Dastangoi
Boosala is fed up of the fact that travelling nowadays is just another photo op. "It is becoming something to post pictures about, not the journey itself," he laments, and through Dastangoi, he intends to combine travelling and storytelling in their purest form for everyone to participate and enjoy.
Check them out at facebook.com/desidastangoi/