Last month and a half, were very happy times for my little Miss A. My sister was at our home along with my two darling nephews to spend the summer vacation. These days were very special. Life was fast, crazy, tiring and at times, it felt like a roller coster ride. We had three little musketeers, all under the age of 5, running around the house. And the master to handle this situation with love and care, was 'grandma'.
The kids would hang around grandma to hear stories of animals, gods, demons and then, they would dream, imagine and pretend play everything that they heard in these stories. And they learned something new daily. These 'grandma' stories had become a vital source of learning and entertainment much more than books or television.
These stories were mostly folk tales, stories from the panchtantra. Stories about morals, about right and wrong, about sharing, about trust, about how small acts can grow into something larger.
It wasn't until my mother reading aloud to our kids that we realized the importance of these tales. The words reverberating in the air, take on a deeper meaning, much more than when being read. Through sharing a story, you are sharing something special together. You can refer to it later, you can make the characters a part of your life, "Hmmm! I wonder what clever mouse would do now?" and you can visit them again with your kids. Story telling, esp. the folktales, is a bonding experience. It is an intellectually stimulating experience and a growing experience. It connects you to your children, and to the world as it has existed, for ages.
And as Albert Einstein said "When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking."
From next week, we will meet you in a world full of stories and folktales.