Christmas Carnival with Fascinating Compassionate Tales
December in Delhi always has a spell of cold breeze and fog but it brings along Christmas too, the most joyous festival, which touches each and every soul. It’s a festival of sharing and giving which uplifts the human mood and spreads warmth and happiness all around. Winter is hard but celebration of the Holy Christ’s birthday is like having roses in December and so is a session of Christmas tales which fill any place with joy and purity. Thus, James M. Barrie’s word, “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December”, applies aptly to the storytelling session Christmas Carnival held by the Storyteller’s Network, Delhi in collaboration with the Oxford Bookstore on the 24th of December 2016. This meet was meant for little kids. The gathering was of almost thirty heads; of them some sixteen or seventeen were vibrant little children. They made the story session a wonderful experience for the organizers, storytellers, photographers, parents and the reporters like me, with their smart replies and sharp imaginations. The kids were completely engrossed in the narration and were quite enthusiastic in sharing their inputs with the storytellers.
Shalini Arora was one of the three storytellers of the session who had an exemplary ability to catch hold of the attention and intellect of the little ones. People say storytelling is an art, yes indeed, it has been proved time and again and was proved yet again in that session where the huge involvement of the children spoke of it all. In fact, she did not just narrate a story to the inquisitive little ones but single-handedly enacted the story of The Grinch who hated Christmas; But who later got transformed and celebrated Christmas with the people of Whoville. Madhuri Menon, who is a trained Kathakali and acclaimed Chhau dancer, performs puppet shows and has a strong knack for storytelling. She gave a lively performance by adding eye catching puppets while narrating an enchanting story in Hindi. It was about a little girl from Chattisgarh named Dholu who presented her friend a shawl as she was unwell and feeling very cold. The ecstatic and thankful friend gifted Dholu a small musical toy, a jhunjhuni, with which she played and sang ‘‘Tan-tan korta, ghanti bajata, aaya Santa Claus’’. It conveyed the true essence of Christmas, giving and sharing, with which the storyteller tried to instil the message of compassion in the children. The last but not the least of the meticulous storytellers, Shefali Malhotra narrated an interesting tale. She introduced herself as a beginner storyteller but she was confident and succeeded in drawing the attention of the excited children quite easily. She came up with her own creation and narrated a strong piece of story which once again delivered the message of love and share among each other. The story, Best Christmas Tree, talked about compassionate heart and of being happy with what one has. The happy go lucky child Sam was not a wealthy fellow so he could not afford to decorate his Christmas tree with expensive decorative items but still his tree was adjudged as the best one and received the Pole star. Sam’s tree offered shelter to the freezing baby yaks which other trees denied. After winning the best Christmas tree contest, it then invited all the other participants to share the goody bags it won. The one and a half hour programme culminated with the illustrator Ranjan De’s contribution, dressed up as a crafty Santa. He came up with a craft work for the elves ie the enthusiastic children, and they enjoyed the craft making too. In between, the children were given a break of fifteen minutes to have a sip of their favourite drinks. It was not just the children but even the adults enjoyed the session which was filled with morals and fun along with cheerful Christmas songs.