Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pratham Books Champion : Arundhati Chattopadhyaya

As part of the International Year of the Forest, we were running the 'Awareness Today for a Greener Tomorrow' campaign. We asked our AWESOME community if they would be volunteer to become aPratham Books Champion and conduct storytelling sessions based on the book "A King Cobra's Summer'. And again, our friends volunteered eagerly. We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

Today's story comes from Arundhati Chattopadhyaya who conducted a storytelling session at Hamara School in Goa. Arundhati Chattopadhyaya, a graduate of St. Xavier’s College, began her dance career in Bombay. She mastered the Pandanallur style of Bharata Natyam from Guru Raghavan Nair. She was part of the Marathi Theatre group Aniket and mostly acted in experimental plays. After bagging the Maharashtra State Award for Acting in 1974 she moved to New York City where she began teaching and performing dance and acting in off-Broadway theater productions. In 1987 she began documentary and feature filmmaking. Arundhati currently lives and works in Goa.

Arundhati writes about her storytelling experience ...

The book reading was highly appreciated. As i told you before this bunch is pretty savvy to the king cobra and they absolutely loved the illustrations. Activity afterwards was a quiz, a snake bite enactment
and drawing .... seemed the right ending for this group. 

The kids had a great time listening to your book. The love angle was much appreciated by the young teenagers and the perils and adventures kept them guessing what was going to happen to our hero. I enacted the python eating sequence and they were wide eyed and completely silent. They found Kaala sleeping in the farmers bathroom hilarious (different kinds of screams were enacted). They knew quite a bit about eyes turning milky and skin shedding. The girls wanted to know if the male has one partner or many/how many babies come out of each egg. They liked the elephant sequence and Nilgiri langurs (we did an entire orchestra of their alarm calls). How typical can you be? The boys loved the territorial fight sequence.

We divided the group into 2 sections. Girlz/Boyz and the quiz started.
The questions included :
Height of Kaala
Where did he live
How many days did he hide in the tree hole?
What do you call a snakes poison?
How many eggs laid by Kaala's mom?
Snakes shedding its skin another word (moulting)
Teeth called?
can a snake hear?
The different egg shells ( soft and hard)

ACTIVITY 2 : Enactment of a snake bite and treatment met with it. 
I connected this scenario with the friendly farmer in the book Once an innocent king cobra had entered a farm house, but the people were not sensitive as the farmers family in the book and they tried to catch the king cobra in a horrible manner and the snake got so upset, he turned around and showed his irritation by biting a farmer. So what do you do in a situation like this? The kids knew the correct way of treating a snake bite (amazing)

So we did a mini skit. The opening of the skit a girl is running around saying a snake has bitten  her. Another person comes and ties her wrist very tight and makes it worse. A third person comes with a  blade and says they should cut it off. The fourth person says she should be taken to a baba, his  mantras will cure her. Fifth person brings hot tea. Finally a dupatta appears and a loose tourniquet is administered and the person is taken to the hospital. You have to remain calm and reach the hospital for
antivenin. Each time the wrong move was done all the kids would shout NO. A little kid called the ambulance and made the sound and everyone joined him. Call 108

ACTIVITY 3 : Drawing 
We had Xeroxed Kaala's picture and kids could write what they felt about the story or color it . Little ones colored it and I have to collect the older ones assessment.

Thank you Arundhati for spreading the joy of reading!

Click here to read the stories sent in by all the Pratham Books Champions.

Note : If any of you want to be a Pratham Books Champion and join us on our journey of getting 'a book in every child's hand', write to us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

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