Once in a while you come across a storyteller for whom stories are a means to find a connect between the self and the Universe. One such storyteller is Lavanya Prasad of Taléscope – a dreamer, a superb storyteller and a seeker, who sees everything in the world as stories. Lavanya is an enthusiast and extrovert by nature, a person with no boundaries who strongly believes that every person she meets has a role to play (however small) in her life. She truly believes that a story which is told with complete honesty is sure to create the desired ripple, living up the adage – “I am the story itself.”
Here are some excerpts from our chat with her.
What influenced you to become a storyteller? Tell us your story and the story of Taléscope.
The fact that I answer almost all questions through stories most of the time. I realized this when I was working as a teacher in a school. I had parents coming and telling me the impact of the stories that I tell children in class. While that was the starting point, it was that incident that made me realize that I was “unintentionally” communicating through stories and that was all because of the stories that I heard as a child from my grandfather. And with that came the understanding that – what stories did to me I know it would do to others as well. I knew they had to be told.
And thus began my journey of sharing and telling stories. The story of the Taléscope’s evolution is interesting. What started as a small effort started to take form when people started calling and asking for more. What I did with children in regular schools, slowly moved to children in special schools. The experience of telling stories to the visually impaired and children with hearing problems, opened new perspectives. The day when children from the visual impaired school came to me and said “Thanks Akka*, for helping us see”, Taléscope was born. It’s mission – to help people see clearly through stories.
There were challenges, no doubt. Managing home and work was difficult. There were days when I felt helpless, on one hand carrying an undying passion in my heart to bring in a positive change through stories, but drained out physically and mentally with all the other responsibilities. It took sometime to sort things out. I am thankful here to the Almighty – for instilling the drive in me to pursue my passion, for a wonderful supportive family, and Taléscope’s supporters who encourage me to take those steps forward all the time.
What are the kind of audiences Taléscope works with?
Taléscope regularly works with schools (teachers as well as children) and corporates. We have conducted workshops for adults and children, and the nature of work has taken me to various places. NGO’s that focus on education for children, women empowerment, care for the elderly, care for critically ill, adoption groups, etc. are a few other audiences for Taléscope. I believe that there is a story for every purpose, so can’t really restrict the audience to whom Taléscope caters to.
Have the stories in your life influenced your style of storytelling and the way you use stories? How?
Music and Dance were an integral part of my childhood just like stories. I grew up listening to different kids of music, and dance is something that I deeply connect with. People, their culture and their dialect have often fascinated me. My style of storytelling has all these elements in the right proportion. My tellings are enriched with apt song, dance and dialect that bring in the essence of the story setting.
Any particular incident from your workshops or sessions that is special to you?
It’s amazing what a story can do to even people whom you have never met before. An elderly person whom I met during one of my sessions, took out two chocolates he had in his purse (the ones he had as an emergency backup in case of low sugar level) and gave it to me, blessing and thanking me for inspiring him to write his life stories. These stories, he said, are his gift he would love to leave behind for his younger generation.
An international storyteller who I met at one of the storytelling festivals came to me and gave me a “Let’s swap stories” badge, which I cherish even now, telling me that she loved the story I shared that day.
Any story that you particularly love using?
Folktales speak to me a great deal. I love telling them. There is no one story in particular, but it has always been the story that chooses me / appeals to me for that particular occasion.
Do you think storytelling can be adopted as a full time profession. Any advice to those who want to do so.
Definitely. Stories are something that can be used anywhere. If you observe carefully, we all talk through stories in our day-to-day life, it’s just that we fail to see it. The scope of bringing in new things, exploring the unknown is greater when you use stories. Just try! Share generously, your emotions and your stories. Be authentic. Be willing to be vulnerable. Stay motivated. Understand your audience. Remain passionate about telling stories.
Keep “making that impact” your end goal. Happy telling 🙂 !
Don’t Miss: We love storytellers as much as we love storytelling. On Tell-a-Tale, we’ve featured a lot of talented storytellers, in the past.
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