Fifteen storytellers and a room full of listeners - that was the setting for ‘Tell-A-Thon’, a storytelling marathon, at Urban Solace, Ulsoor on Sunday afternoon.
The event marked the sixth monthly meet of the Bangalore Storytelling Network founded by two professional storytellers, Deeptha Vivekanand and Sowmya Srinivasan.
“It all happened over a phone call,” recalled Sowmya, talking of how Bangalore Storytelling Network was founded. Though she has been telling stories for children and at ladies’ clubs since 2007, she wanted to make it a more inclusive process, ‘especially for people above 18’.
Though before the two women hadn’t met before they met, they didn’t feel like strangers to each other. “I had heard of her before,” said Sowmya, “And she said, ‘Let’s start something together’, exactly as I’ve always wanted.”
So began the Network on meetups, which was all the rage then. Bangalore Storytelling Network too seeks to forge the kind of connection between people - the teller and the writer, the teller and the listener.
The Tell-A-Thon also saw the launch of Bangalore Storytelling Society (BSS). “This will be the umbrella organisation,” Deeptha told City Express. While storytelling for children is picking up, BSS seeks to create a performance storytelling platform for adults.
The marathon will be held about once in six months, while the monthly meet-ups will continue at Atta Galatta. We also plan to have workshops and global interaction,” she added.
For Ameen Haque, a member of BSS whose story was a tragic romance of a young couple, storytelling is all about evoking imagination. “The boy in my story is of different size, shape and features in my mind from the way he’s in yours. So we try to minimise of visual elements so that the story becomes each listener’s own,” he said.
The five-minuters included stories in English and Hindi whose plots revolved around a blind man seeking to make normal conversation with a woman at a restaurant, wondering whether she guessed his visual impairment;two personal accounts revolving around people’s names; and many more.
While most of the storytellers were professionals and part of the network or the society, three new faces shared their stories as well.
Shantha Krishnan, an 81-year-old, was one such, who told a personal account of how her friend fell off the top of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, while clicking a picture. “He was absolutely fine, but his camera was in pieces. I’ve always wanted to tell this story, and now I’ve got a chance,” she concluded.