Monday, August 22, 2016

Aam katha

I recently took a story narration session in a school. I had always wanted to do something like that so as soon as the opportunity came in, I quickly grabbed it. While I did not take a moment to accept this, it took me a long long time to select which story I should be narrating. As I browsed through so many of them, I realised that the stories for toddlers are pretty lame. They are terribly unreal! Please don't mistake me as a sadist realist, who does not want to tell fairy tales to kids. But then every story I picked up had something fundamentally wrong with it.

Let's take a few examples.

The story of Cinderella and her atrocious step-mother. While I am all in for the dreamy world where a common girl gets a fairy god mother, the best dress ever, and a carriage made from her cute little animal friends, I am too apprehensive to tell my daughter that Cinderella's mother had died and her father married another woman who was too bad to her; so bad that she made little Cinderella wash, mop, clean, cook, and do every other chore in the house; while wearing torn clothes all the time. Kids love gross details; as much as she was interested in fairy god mother and how she transformed mouses into horses, she was all wide eyed for how her mother was treating her. With great difficulty I explained her the concept of step-mother and she became instantly sad about the fact that her real mother had died, while Cinderella was still young. She even asked me if I could die too, while she is little!

Same applied to Snow White and seven dwarfs. Again a bad step-mom who would leave no stone unturned to wipe off her sweet, little, beautiful step-daughter from the face of the earth.

Hensel and Gretel - the horrible of several stories put together. First a step-mother, who leaves the children in the forest with nothing but some bread. Then an old bad witch who catches them. Putting the brother into a cage and making the sister serve her as a maid. And what did the children do... one day, when the old witch was checking over the fire, little Gretel pushes her into the fire and runs away with her brother. Wow! Too much good entertainment for kids.

Jack and magic beans was no good either. While there was no step-mother involved, the little dude gave a wrong lesson himself. As he climbed through the beans and reached the castle built on clouds, he saw several gold coins lying all over, with a monster watchman. He decides to 'steal' some of them. As he was stealing, he became a little too greedy and stole quite a lot of them, so many that they starting falling out of his pocket and woke up the monster. So, dear Jack ran for his life, and as the monster came down to follow him using the same magic beans, dear Jack cuts the stem and the monster falls onto the earth from the sky and dies. Again, wow!

The sleeping beauty is still fine... but then there is nothing much to tell there.  A beautiful princess, a wicked witch, a curse out of no where, the girl goes into an eternal sleep; and, the prince and his true love kiss.

Puss the boots!! Let's not even get into the smartness (or crookedness?) of this cat.

I think you get an idea of how crappy these popular fairy tales are. And as necessity is the mother of all inventions, it led me to browse more, more, and more, till I discovered some hardly known but wonderful tales for kids. As they are not very 'fascinating', my daughter is having a hard time understanding why momma is so hell bent on the routine of a rabit or a hungry caterpillar and not the fairies and the princesses. But I am surely making progress.

As for the story narration session, I just concocted a story for myself. Well, it wasn't self-created really, but can be called so in the large scheme of things ;)

And yes, the title of the story was, How Mango Became the King of Fruits :)