The power of grandma’s stories
The Power Of Grandma’s Stories. Summer holidays meant rushing off to grandma’s place, enjoying her absolutely ‘yum’ food, rushing out into the orchards and climbing trees, playing ashta-chamma (today’s ludo), gorging on mangoes and finally retiring for the day with her bedtime stories.
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
- Albert Einstein
Summer holidays meant rushing off to grandma’s place, enjoying her absolutely ‘yum’ food, rushing out into the orchards and climbing trees, playing ashta-chamma (today’s ludo), gorging on mangoes and finally retiring for the day with her bedtime stories. The ‘Jataka Tales’, ‘Panchatantra’ stories narrated with perfect intonations and modulations - transports kids into a fairyland. Can anything beat this experience? Sounds like a dream? Well, almost all your moms and dads had this glorious childhood which perhaps most of you are missing these days.
Listening to noted film lyricist and writer Sira Sri’s amazing storytelling skills I asked out of curiosity, “Did you spend your childhood with your grandmother?” He said, “Absolutely! It’s because of the soil she prepared did the literary seeds sown by my mother sprout. I owe all my narrative skills and expression to my grandmother and grandfather, who were my constant companions, as both my parents were working. In fact, my grandmother even used to read ‘Chandamama’ to narrate the stories. Such were their schooling skills that when we watched the movie ‘Pandava Vanavasam’ together, she spent the entire week after that just reading out various stories from Mahabharat, thus making sure the story went deeper into me. My grandfather used to gather all the kids in the neighbour and go on endlessly with absorbing tales of Bheema’s might, and we all would beg for more!
“Today’s cds, computers and even 3D animations are no match to my grandmother’s story-telling” says Aruna, an English lecturer who quotes ample anecdotes from her grandmother’s story-bank even now. “I remember how she used to link up current issues to our epics, drawing parallels between the two and say – “History repeats itself!” We used to wait for her punchy proverbs and rib-tickling punch lines!”
Noted poet and Sahitya Academy Award Winner Chinaveerabhadrudu says, it was his grandmother who initiated him into poetry hence he got his first book of poetry launched through her!
When all of us come from the same school how is it that some are so extrovert, extempore and display extraordinary oratory skills. Why? Well, if you extrapolate you can see that most of them have had the privilege of growing in grandma’s lap! Not that being nurtured by grandparents directly transforms kids into great storytellers, but they are certainly more emotionally secure, imaginative, creative, expressive and finally impressive!!
In fact, if you read Sudha Murthy’s ‘Grandma’s Bag of Stories’ you would understand what impact grandma’s tales has on the young, impressionable minds and hearts! Does our present generation have the privilege of listening to grandmothers? For that matter do the grandparents spend quality time with their grandchildren stepping out of their busy ‘serial-time’? Says Dr Roopa , child psychologist, “ We cannot blame the children today as they are too enamoured by the gadgets to sit and listen to a story, nonetheless there are kids who still come out on a stroll with their grandparents, listen to their childhood stories with rapt attention. I would say the more you are trained to be a good listener the better orator you’d turn out to be!”
To conclude, listen, speak, read, write –LSRW—in that order is something every English teacher would know, but it would be great if we actually implement and encourage this, which will undoubtedly bring out the creative side of the students. Are we not seeing great orators turn into leaders, writers and social reformers?