Facilitator at Snehadhara, Shailaja Bedi shares her experience of travelling with a story….

To the story tellers

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift”. – Erin Morgenstern

A story transcends words the moment it is read or told.

It envelops our hearts and minds and makes connections, creates awareness hitherto dormant and unrealized or even unvisited in a while.

Our mind brings in vivid visuals, predicts, analyses, evaluates,adds body to the content, memories kick in , past experiences are revisited, we reconnect with the joy  and wonder and curiosity that all this evokes in us. Then the heart speaks with the feelings and emotions that emerge from the twists and turns of the fates of our characters and their personalities and we are at once awestruck, sometimes laughing sometimes crying, anger, compassion, empathy, they all arise within us to complete the picture of the journey that the story takes. A connection is made, with the various aspects of the story and who we are. That connect resonates in each person involved in the telling or the listening of the tale.  We move beyond ourselves, when the ‘I’ becomes the ‘We’, goes unnoticed, as we are so immersed in the totality of the experience.

 ‘A boy and his drum’ took a journey quite its own into the realm of drama, songs, drum beats; each aspect infusing fresh energy that did not let the tale get stale for the audience and especially the storytellers who reinvented with each telling.Each narration provided it distinct flavors imbibed from the story teller, the listeners, the ambience of the space and the experience of repetition that deepened its essence.In a span of two weeks the simple story grew in proportion as it connected hundreds of minds in shared laughter, joy and creativity. Its tentative foray soon became a torrent of colour, music, gaiety and thorough enjoyment as each one of us rose from our own beds of imagination and connected with the larger vision to enable performances of unique ingenuity. And so the connections intensified.

That’s what its all about, the connect we make. The story is the medium. As the bond with the story grew it shaped our connect with the characters who resonate some aspect of our own being. The subsequent narrations extended this link to how we used the props, how we involved the audience, how we included each other in unplanned, impromptu renditions of the same story again and again and the energy did not flag. Because the connections had strengthened with each instance.
The drum beats reinforced our belief in the rhythm of life that, through these performances, brings us closer, lets us into the world of uncertainties and discomfort that we perceive in differences and allows us to integrate joyfully, oblivious to that which divides us.

As an observer of the whole process, I was fascinated by the dance of the personal stories that emerged in and around me. Right from the reading of the story that brought in mixed reactions, in the team, due to its apparent lack of complexity, to the repeated inventiveness of the performances, by the same team,  that kept the freshness alive. For me personally it was an exploration of the world of performance, accosting my inhibitions.

I saw the storytellers delve further into their own creative reserves, support each other, laugh sportingly at their own and each other’s goof ups and emerge with performances that were laced with these nuances.The audience, which comprised of our children, their loved ones and their communities as well as other children for whom this was a novel experience, seemed to reach within to echo the compassion that such occasions elicit.

Not only were we connected to each other, to the story and its characters but mainly to our own core, our own patterns that were revealed to us in the universal message conveyed by the story. As Brandon Sanderson has said “The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.” 

Source: SnehadharaBlog