Thursday, November 30, 2023

‘Hyderabad is the most friendly city I’ve been in’

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International award-winning storyteller and educationalist Deepa Kiran, gets candid with The Pioneer for our special weekly column of Hyderabond, sharing her association with and love for the city.


The art of storytelling is difficult to quantify, but you can recognise good storytelling when you see it. Well, award-winning international storyteller and educationalist Deepa Kiran has been a perfect example of it. She follows her dream of offering heartful connections with conscious communication through the simple beauty of storytelling interwoven with the child-like joys of artistic self-expression.

Deepa has reached over 80,000 educators and lakhs of parents and children in India and other countries, with her performances and workshops. Her teacher training workshops and courses are based on storytelling as a pedagogical tool for teaching, especially teaching English in multicultural classrooms.

For our special weekly column of Hyderabond, we have, also a TEDx speaker, Deepa sharing her association with the city and more.Initially, she wanted to take up the profession of a nutritionist but ended up storytelling. Sharing about why she chose to be a storyteller rather than a nutritionist, she enthuses, “I chose shifting to literature because back then, courses were not really available on fingertips. I finished completed my B.Sc in nutrition and then filled out the form for M.Sc nutrition. But later we were informed that we cannot have an admission there, since we didn’t have a MBBS degree.

I had to make a decision on the go. Storytelling came later when my neighbour was behind me to study literature, then I applied for UOH(University of Hyderabad) and topped my entrance test.”

What really makes her way of storytelling unique from the rest is that she marks her style by using her jingles, shankh, ektara, duff and a little bit of dance to her stories. Basically, she started with the intention of believing that while she enjoys that why would the audience out there enjoy it? So, that was her reference point to create a unique twist to the art of storytelling. She’s also often been a part of the heritage walks in Hyderabad.

How has that experience been? Did it in a way help her for the cause of developing the art of storytelling? Let’s hear what the interviewee has to tell us: “While the rock conservation team of Hyderabad has invited me for a storytelling session, the site was at Lotuspark in Banjara Hills. While the public sat on the rocks, I was right below them sharing my story.

One among the audiences attended my another show one month later, and said that he never finds his son sitting constantly for more than a half an hour but found him sitting for 45 mins while I was delivering a story. His son was one of the active kids in the school who shared about rock conservation. Earlier, the kid had never visited the rock site, which was right behind his school but after the session, he had started developing so much love for the rocks that he started taking part rock conservation programmes.” Interesting isn’t it?
No doubt Hyderabad ‘bole toh’ Biryani is something that pops ones mind.

However, Deepa is not really a fan of Biryani. But rather she would love waiting for Boorelu (an Indian sweet made of rice flour stuffed with jaggery). And, “Pulihora offered by my neighour aunty, who introduced me to hyderabad dishes. I loved sipping Irani chai in these Hyderabadi cafes and all the Dosas, Idlis, Chutneys and Podis here are just mouth-watering.”

She has been invited to many international storytelling festivals around the world: including Scottish International Storytelling Festival, Kanoon International Festival (Iran), International Storytelling Festival in South Africa and others. National festival invites in India also include Kala Ghoda Festival and Hyderabad Literary Festival.

Having performed in various cities and countries, how could we not ask her about what makes Hyderabad different? And she gleefully shares, “Hyderabad is one such friendly city in India as it has been very open for people and experiences, which is a nice point of ease.

Being in a profession like storytelling, I had friends in theatre, who loved my shows openly saying, ‘Arey apun ko bhi sunao na teri kahani’, when I took up storytelling. I really find it funnier as well as Hyderabad people have been very supportive and open and people have come to my shows, these kinds of small events and so many literature lovers attend my shows. I have also got nice commission projects like people asked me to perform about Dashavatara, Ithihasas, and Puranas for children of NRI, I’m also asked to conduct many workshops here.”

The ‘City of Nizams’ being one of the most central big metro cities of India in terms of latitude and longitude, she also feels very comfortable in terms of its geography and weather and appreciates the rich intermingling of it.Deepa is also one among those who feel that Hyderabad is the most safest city in India which allows her to reach her destinations, irrespective of the time. However,  hates the busy traffic roads like every Hyderabadi.

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