Once Upon A Time…With Deepa Kiran, The Storyteller
We all love stories. And if it is dramatized with songs and dances and gestures, it becomes even more engaging. Deepa Kiran, the founder of Story Arts India and a mother of two high-school going boys, speaks about the contemporary twist she gives to her storytelling.
“Storytelling is my way of life. It’s how I reach out. I loved telling stories even as a child. I recently found a journal that I used to keep as a child. In that, I had written that I wanted to grow up to be a storyteller.”
Masters in English Literature from the University of Hyderabad (UoH), experience with All India Radio as a compere, training in Indian Classical Dance and a Post Graduate Specialization in the Teaching of English (PGCTE) from the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) Hyderabad gave wings to her aspirations of storytelling.
The traditional oral storytelling in India does not happen in the English language. She narrates stories in English. However, she has drawn several elements of performance such as singing, dancing, music, poetry, movements, etc, from the traditional style of storytelling.
“If I am narrating Hanuman’s Ramayana, I include chants in Sanskrit, I sing Telugu songs and gesticulate to make the story look visual. The costume is also inspired by the traditional storyteller attire. Also, the contexts are contemporary. If the story is about Meera, I bring in the idea of Meera accepting everything and not fussing about what is in her lunch box.”
She even suggests storytelling to be an important tool in classroom learning.
“Storytelling is an impactful medium for learning and development. It can be used to understand concepts better. Stories can lead to better concentration and sharper memory. It also enhances a child’s language fluency.
Say, if I have to introduce the concept of zero to a class, I tell a story - of how zero was neglected but when he stood next to one, it became ten. And from then, every number wanted to befriend zero thereby making him significant. It’s a simple story and the kids understand as well as remember the concept better.”
Reminded of your younger days? Relive the days with stories of Deepa.