In the last week of October, I headed to PSBB LLA school in Bannerghatta Road where I was a mentor at a creative writing workshop held by Katha. Along with other mentors such as Vikram Sridhar, Mamta Sagar and Kausalya Saptharishi, we worked with a huge group of children each, for three days. Children from South Indian cities such as Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Kochi and Chennai had turned up for the workshop with their parents or teachers.
It was a fabulous experience all around. With around 45 students of varying ages in my group, we discussed what we liked about stories, how we made up stories, do beginnings always have to be in the beginning etc? We also wrote plenty of short fiction and I was amazed at some of the ideas that emerged.
I was apprehensive because it was the first time I would be handling so many children and actually doing a workshop. I wouldn’t say it was a piece of cake because it wasn’t, and my respect and admiration for teachers has gone up tremendously. But it was also a learning experience for me, one that will be really special, especially because of the spontaneously creative kids I worked with.
The workshop comprised of students from Std 4 to std 11 and it was no easy task ensuring that kids from all age groups got what I was saying.
On Day 1, we spent time getting to know each other and we played a few games trying to get a feel of how the class would write individually and as groups.
On Day 2, the kids wrote a little more as part of a writing exercise and I read out one of my old short stories to them, asking them to come up with an alternative ending. A lot of interesting outcomes came up. Post lunch I divided them into groups and asked them to put up a 5 minute skit. It was fun to see them all huddle together and come up with ideas and execute them in the short time I gave them.
On Day 3, they had to write and submit their short stories. All too soon, it seemed as though the workshop was over. I’d been looking forward to it from quite sometime, worried as to how I’d do it and it was already done and dusted.
I had a bunch of bright kids with me and they came up with some absurd and yet creatively satisfying storylines. Also, I was heartened to learn from them that they were there because they loved stories, not because of some false notions of becoming rich and famous quickly.
Thank you Katha for giving me this chance! I loved it!