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  Life   More Features  14 Apr 2017  Storytellers get a shot in the arm

Storytellers get a shot in the arm

Published : Apr 14, 2017, 1:17 am IST
Updated : Apr 14, 2017, 1:17 am IST

A night of story-telling offers unpublished authors a platform to get their tales heard.

Anuya Jakatdara
 Anuya Jakatdara

Anuvab Pal vividly remembers the time when he attended a storytelling session. It was a few years ago, in a crowded bar in Bandra, but what he remembers the best is the story. “I think that night Mukul Chadda was telling a story going by the name There Are No Trash Cans in Tokyo. It was such a cute story back from the days when he was a bank employee in Tokyo,” he recalls. Not very surprisingly, the story was a simple narration of just a man looking for a trashcan after eating ice cream. But even after so many years, Anuvab remembers the nuances that made the story and the night. “The place was so crowded that night and we were perched at the bar, which in all honesty is the worst place to tell a story! People were rushing in and out with beers and booze, but the story was so brilliant — it had everyone rapt!” he fondly recalls.


Anuvab will be judging one such storytelling evening in the city. Hosted by city-based book-lovers’ group Books on Toast, Stories on Toast is an open mic evening that gives unpublished writers and authors a stage to narrate their story out loud to an audience. Organised by Anuya Jakatdar and Sharin Bhatti Nair, the evening welcomes writers to narrate their unpublished words to a forgiving audience. The key here is the forgiving audience, says Anuya. “Audiences that these people aren’t performers, so they pay more attention to them and are more encouraging. And, our idea is to give writers a stage where they wont be judged and or criticised,” she explains.

When they say ‘unpublished’, the organising duo means the traditional form of publishing — books. Even with print as a form of publishing slowly extinguishing, Anuya believes that content is far from dying. “People are still reading stories. Today, they are probably reading them on their Kindles and phones, but they are still reading.”


Agreeing with Anuya, Anuvab points out that the culture of physical books is vanishing from the present narrative. “The meaning of printing and publishing has drastically changed in the past couple of years,” he says, elaborating that with the Internet, self-publishing has become easier, but writers still feel the need to have a publishing house stamp their work. “It is a validation of sorts,” he states.

Drawing parallels with The Moths, which organises live storytelling sessions in New York City, Anuvab knows what he has to expect from the evening — true, original stories straight from the creators, but has no idea how he will be playing judge. “I hate judging things like this,” he says frankly. “Because who is to decide what is the better story? It is like saying Person A is better than Person B, but who are you to tell?”

His goal for the evening goes beyond judging the session. “I just want to encourage these budding writers on writing a story they want to write,” he states.

Even if he is clueless on this front, Anuvab is looking forward to a great evening. “I love getting listening to stories — it is like going on a journey with the writer,” he excitedly concludes.

Stories on Toast will happen on April 16, 5 pm onwards, at The Cuckoo Club, next to Candies, Bandra (W) Tickets: Rs 200

Tags: cuckoo club, storytelling session, group books on toast