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Geeta Ramanujam – Revival of the Art of Storytelling

Storytelling has been the most erudite form of communication from the time when reading and writing were not prevalent and a system of academia was unknown…bards who sang of the prowess of Kings by relating the stories to the common man to the stylish operas and closer to home the yakshagana and other dance forms all tell stories from the ancient to the more recent times.

However, in recent years…stories became restricted to the mass media like television and cinemas. The old grandma telling her grandchildren tales from the epics had been replaced by electronic media and the quiet evenings of children sitting around the grandmother listening to her stories had vanished.

However, the best way to get a message across is as an anecdote or a story; people’s interest is piqued and recall value is higher. Realizing the potential of this in terms of making lessons interesting in schools, breaking the monotony in corporate offices, to weave a story for the masses and the classes… this was the challenge she laid down for herself. *Geeta Ramanujam* has been solely  responsible for reviving story-telling as a medium of instruction in schools and she has with equal ease conquered the corporate world as she won the hearts of the Rotarians at RHF this Monday.

Everyone was glued to their seats, laughing with her as she regaled us with short stories, including her days in the Mumbai (then Bombay) chawls and how her mother taught her the importance of languages and idioms. She has trained over 85000 story tellers and has branches of her organization, Kathaalaya all over the world. This dynamic lady had everyone in splits with her stories…all marvelling at the ease with which she switched languages, imitated various sounds and underlined the importance of the spoken word, its nuances and inflections.

A small story which has stayed in everyone’s mind I’m sure is : A mother cat was busy feeding her kittens when she spotted a dog eyeing her little babies suckling, with great greed and salivating, anticipating a hearty meal! Completely angry, the cat let out a huge bow-wow! Taken aback, the dog slunk away. When the kittens looked questioningly at their mother, she said to them “It’s always good to know a second language!”

We miss the obvious, we don’t see the trees for the woods, we tend to overlook the simple…we tend to stop listening and undervalue a simple art like storytelling. Stories are our life experiences told in an interesting manner, they can never fade away…and certainly not until people like Geeta.  Keep it going..!

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