Timeless fables at Bookaroo Children’s literature festival
A spellbinding recital of a timeless children’s fable interwoven with elements of Dastangoi and Patua-style Pattachitra, kicked off proceedings on the second and final day of the Bookaroo Children’s literature festival in the national Capital on Sunday.
Enacted by the noted raconteur Fouzia, a woman Dastangoi, the young audience enthusiastically participated in the retelling of the classic tale of the Heron and the fish.
Later in the day, Fouzia along with fellow storyteller Valentina Trivedi also performed a Dastangoi adaptation of Satyajit Ray’s immortal characters Goopy and Bagha, keeping in mind the festival’s focus on Bengali literature this year.
As with the first day, there was no dearth of things to do, with an entire gamut of activities and interactions designed to keep hyperactive children engaged.
“Festivals like these are very important. On Sundays, one usually sees parents taking their children to malls and multiplexes. But it is crucial to bring them to places where they can first-hand experience new varieties and new cultures,” Fouzia said.
Other highlights of the day were interactive sessions by authors Mathangi Subramanian, Devika Rangachari and Swati Sengupta, aimed at sensitising youngsters about issues of gender equality.
Rangachari, known for her works of historical fiction, read out a chapter from her book ‘The Queen of Ice’ based on the story of the ambitious Queen Didda who ruled Kashmir in the 10th century.
Santanil Ganguly regaled his audience with tales of jocular ghosts, while Subhadra Sen Gupta ventured into the territory of history, considered dreary by most children, but managed to ignite their interest.
Another session by Amar Chitra Katha transported children back thousands of years into the magical world of Indian folklore with tales of wily jackals, foolish pigeons, clever monkeys and the occasional human.
“This is my first time in this festival here and I really love the concept. I think stories are so important, imagination is so important and art is so important. They give an opportunity for children to express themselves,” Mathangi Subramanian said.
Apart from interactions with authors, there were also art and craft workshops, meant to keep to keep the younger children busy.
The list of speakers during the day include Aanchal Broca Kumar, Anita Raina Thapan, Lynette Morrison, Lee Kowling Bandana Tulachan, Anushka Ravishankar, Martin Widmark and a array of others speakers each with the skill of bringing literature and children together.