Published: 22nd September 2021
Kids, sign up for the virtual Kathavani Utsav if mythology and stories are your thing
The second edition of Kathavani Utsav is scheduled to begin from October 1 and will go on till October 10. Initiated by Surya Swapna who founded Kathvani, here's all that you can look forward to
When Surya Swapna started her journey as a storyteller in 2012, tales by popular children's writers like Roald Dahl and Eric Carle used to roll off her tongue easily but would sit uneasily on her consciousness. A wealth of stories from India's culture and heritage remained unharnessed, so why should children not be narrated those as well? With the motive of bringing children back to their roots via mythological stories, Kathavani was initiated in the year 2019, after her term as the Centre Head at the Amar Chitra Katha Alive Learning Centre in Hyderabad came to an end. "Grandparents or parents are unable to invest time in narrating these stories, so we decided to take up this responsibility," says Swapna who has a PG in Comparative Mythology and MPhil in Sociology, both from Mumbai University.
A few events that changed Swapna's life were her best friend dying by suicide and leaving behind a heartfelt letter to her, her divorce and the birth of her daughter. All these made her turn to stories
Kathavani's summer camps are already a hit, over 40 children participated virtually this time, but their latest venture is what we are most excited about. From October 1 to 10, Kathavani Utsav is going to roll out virtually and each day is so meticulously planned that we are in awe. There are workshops like puppetry with waste, Vedic math and abacus, financial literacy and an opportunity to show your talent by participating in folk dancing and narrating mythological stories. There are several storytelling sessions planned by different storytellers from across India and a lot more fun to be had. A whole three weeks of planning has gone into this festival, which caters to children of all ages. "The best part is that most of these are live, which keeps the momentum going," says the 40-year-old. If we were still a child, we would definitely be looking forward to the quiz contests based on epics and the chance to dress up as a mythological character and deliver monologues. Now, wouldn't that be fun? Panel discussions like 'Relevance of heritage and linguistics' are on the cards too.
Swapna's training as a storyteller began with Story Coach Geetanjali Shetty, Founder of the Secret Passages. She has trained with her and has a Certification in Storytelling, plus she has worked with her in Mumbai as well
"When I interact with children, I realise how unadulterated they are. They ask questions and analyse at a level that adults don't really reach. There is just so much to learn from them," says Swapna who goes on to explain, "Mythological stories are encrypted in a way and it is up to us how we decrypt them and understand their essence. For example, Kautaliya's stories and lessons can actually be used to learn financial literacy." And that's why, folks, she does what she does.
For more on them check out kathavani.com