Published: 26th January 2021
The scientific tales that this lecturer from Hyderabad spins for children are fun, fact-based and fresh
Hyderabad-based Rohini Chintha's mastery over both Science and storytelling makes her particularly popular with inquisitive children. This is how she comes up with intriguing and interesting stories
The only writer we know who has invented a genre for herself is Rohini Chintha. This 'Science Communicator', as she has chosen to be called, writes stories around Science concepts for children in various magazines, including Azim Premji University's bi-monthly magazine I Wonder and since around 2019, this 42-year-old has been performing them as well. It started from the assembly of Osmania University College for Women in Koti, Hyderabad, where she teaches in the Department of Genetics and Biotechnology. But when we got in touch with the children's writer, we realised the saga goes way back.
She bagged the Young Scientist Award from the K V Rao Scientific Society and a Certificate of Appreciation for Excellence in the field of Innovation from KVRSS and Electronic Arts
What does one do when they have a love for Science and nurture a flair for writing, thanks to their teachers who cheered them on? You take a leaf from Chintha's book and start fusing storytelling and Science in the most beautiful way possible. The Kakinada-born started out by writing for Magic Pot Magazine, Chinuku Magazine (Telugu) and Champak. Slowly, she earned such a name for herself that she began performing at the Hyderabad Literary Festival, including the recent virtual one, and at the British Council too. "These are just simple tales that communicate a few major scientific principles in a story format with an aim to help children retain the information for much longer," explains the lecturer. But as they say, being simple is the hardest thing to be. Curious enough to want to listen to her too? We highly recommend the Saturday Science Tales on her Facebook page, Popscicles.
Conducting a session | (Pic: Rohini Chintha)
You know how they keep telling children, 'Your eyes are like your father's’, ‘Your nose is just like your mother's’ and so on? In this particular game, played along with parents, children understand how DNA is passed on from parents and what dominant traits are. "I also try to convey the meaning that though you are a part of everybody, you are a unique amalgamation, a gem." Ah, Gems! The Gems we are referring to here are those colourful button-size chocolates by Cadbury, not because we are craving some but because it happens to be Chintha’s favourite prop to use while storytelling! "Oh, yes! I really like eating them too," says Chintha in a lighter vein. Like for this very activity, she uses it to prove how a combination of various things can be beautiful and different.
Apart from her own college, she has narrated these stories at Sri Sai Degree and PG College and government schools as well
Then, she has Earth's evolution story, which we hear is particularly popular. She starts with how, once upon a time, there was a cloud who loved to spin and slowly, became a dust ball by gathering dust and since it forgot to take a bath, the mud weighed it down. It eventually broke up to give us the Sun and our solar system. We also really like the 'different kinds of rock' story, where she carries rocks like sedimentary and metamorphic to show the children the difference.
With the participants | (Pic: Rohini Chintha)
"I usually write for the audience I am catering to. So, if they are very young, I touch upon the basics like the rainbow. Otherwise, I talk about the shape of Earth and so on," explains the Hyderabadi. "The point of it all is that everyone thinks of Science as something sophisticated that requires labs, equipment and devices and so on. But it's not. It is in everyday objects," she goes on to emphasise.
She has conducted over 12 sessions outside her college
The tales she spins:
- The Blue Circle based on World Diabetes Day
- The Elephant and a Tailor, a story from Kerala
- A Favourable Time, a folktale from Tamil Nadu
- A Prize for a Fact, about fun Science facts
For more on her check out popscicles.com