Bookaroo Lit Fest: The Storyteller’s Diary

Can I relive a day again? Again and again and again?

All the speakers on Day 1

All the speakers on Day 1

I’ve tried to sleep all night thinking about the wonderful day I had at Bookaroo Lit Fest yesterday. Nursing my aching feet (for having hopped and walked from one venue to another), and getting used to a booming and scratchy throat (that usually follows a high-energy performance). But what really kept me alive are the hundreds of twinkling eyes looking back at me. The sparkling smiles, the anxious looks, the expectant frowns and the peals of laughter that flowed out effortlessly.

This is the stuff that makes my life today. The Little Things That Matter! 

Resurrecting the Pterodactyl

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Day 1 at Bookaroo Lit Fest started with my first session early in the day at the Psalms. It was special to start the day by meeting Tripurari Sharma under whom I did a theatre workshop way back in college. She didn’t remember me but I told her that her lessons have stayed with me all these years only to be dusted, brushed and used now! Back at the Psalms the crowds walked in a little late. Bookaroo has the repute of never starting a session late and we are all really eager to start. Within a few minutes the crowd trickled in. And we were set to go!

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There is a certain joy in reading a book that no one has ever read! So the Pterodactyl’s Egg by Annie Besant was just that for me. Ideally publishers prefer to get the author to launch a new book, and so in the absence of the author, the task falls on the shoulders of a storyteller. So I walked in knowing that I had to intrigue the audience and engage them enough for them to want to read the book. The age group 8-10 is not an easy one. They are not the younglings, but then they are not young-adults, telling them with conviction was not as easy.

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The session rolled on and more trickled in. Some curious faces that looked (and I hoped) as if they were drawn in by all the noise I was making. The kids were eager to take the story ahead. They threw in their own plots. The adults were chuckling and that was a wonderful thing to see. So I did what I love best…got all of them to stand up, ride an imaginary Pterodactyl and imagine it is flying way above the city. We squealed in delight, roaring with excitement, letting our imaginations run wild…or at least I hope everyone did. 😀

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The publishers had a precious set of book pre-published and they wanted me to find a way to give them away to a select few. Democratically of course! And so I did the next best thing that I love best…I got the kids to enact the Pterodactyl. With imaginary wings, a curious and screeching cawing of sorts, kids suppressed their smiles to become the flying reptile!

Oh what a joy to tell a story and enact it too!

Having had my first shot of adrenaline rush, I settled down for the next few hours calming my nerves and breathing deep. Between stories, I need that! Thankfully there were 3 odd hours to do that. So caught up on a few sessions in between, exchanged smiles and compliments and filled my tummy with food and a sinful brownie at the author’s lounge!

By the time it was time for my next session, I had got a mild headache and chose to treat it with another brownie! Sugar rush…yes! :p

The Peacock Under The Kahani Tree

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I’ve never told stories under a tree. And I have always wanted to! So there I was with another astounding crowd of parents and kids, some of whom I have known from earlier sessions elsewhere, onlookers, authors and fellow storytellers who stopped by to listen to me. And there in the crowd were two pairs of eyes that were looking back at me with pride. Having V and A sit in the audience this time, it was my brightest moment for the day…the two boys in  my life, my muse and my rock, cheering me on silently. 🙂

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This time I had 30 minutes and with the presentation being a bit long, I was in a hurry to finish it on time. Luckily for me when Ameen Haque said that I have a very relaxed way of telling, I realised that no one else sensed the rush!

The Peacock’s story is all about birds vying for the leader’s place. So there was a lot of cawing, hooting, kukdu-kooing, gutter-gooing and all that! I had earlier presented this story twice at Bookaroo In The City and I knew that this was a firm favourite with the crowd, so I knew I could do it again. I did.  So as we all made the bird sounds and I showed my little bird props, the story touched everyone somewhere. The look in those eyes, the claps and the warmth from the crowd will stay with me for a long time.

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Could I tell a third story in the day? Oh yes I could! With such an infectious crowd, story and book lovers who wouldn’t? What really mattered was that I found a common platform with some of the world’s finest storytellers, authors and illustrators. I found a platform to tell and share my love for stories. I have made new friends and acquaintances have popped out of social media to make real-world friends.

It was inarguably the most humbling and super awesome day from my entire storytelling career. GOLPO is just a start to my journey as a storyteller and I hope to add more such awesome stories to my bag.

Am I looking forward to Day 2? (Why is it only two days, anyway?) Yes I am! Today I go as a listener, a student taking notes on storytelling, an eager audience, an indulgent parent and a little fan girl looking forward to get a few copies signed by authors. 😀

More on that in another post.

See you at Bookaroo!

 
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