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Mumbai gets a festival of stories for kids

Come January 25, and the first edition of Kahani Karnival, a story festival for children, will kick off at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. MiDDAY gives you an exclusive sneak peek of what to expect

Mumbai’s kids will finally get their own festival. From fantasticalanimals to puppets; imagination balloons to stories in a song — Kahani Karnival, the first ever festival of stories, that will be brought alive through song, theatre, art, clay and literature is set to capture the imagination of children later this month. Over 20 authors, artists, dancers, puppeteers and theatre people are expected to participate in this jamboree being hosted at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) on January 25.


The Museum will serve as the venue for the festival

The seed for Kahani Karnival was sown when six young mothers got together and formed Kahani Karnival, a not-for-profit organisation, that would curate events to celebrate the power of stories. “We wanted children to enjoy the power of words, and the idea was to entice them towards books by using other mediums like art, dance, music and even puppetry,” said Sangeetha Vadanan, co-organiser, and partner at Treasure Books, city-based children’s bookstore.

Possibly, the biggest challenge was to zero in on the ideal venue for this unique festival; CSMVS was the first and only choice. “Our hearts were set on that place, since it has stories seeping out of every nook and cranny,” informs Rakhi Prasad, theatre person and co-organiser. CSMVS has, in the last few years, turned into a haven for children with its multiple galleries and activity zones. Sabyasachi Mukherjee, director general CSMVS, said since the motto of the CSMVS was edutainment, they wanted more children to visit the museum, get involved with the artefacts, hear stories and learn about them in an enriching manner.

At the festival, experts will conduct numerous walk-throughs in the galleries. For instance, danseuse Prachi Jariwala will walk through the sculpture gallery and bring the images to life through movement and stories; Storyteller Samvedna will tell a Hindi tale of Akbar and Birbal and link it to Akbar’s armour, which finds pride of place in the museum; author Payal Kapadia, who won the Crossword Book Award in the children’s category for her book Wisha Wozzariter, will host a session on constructing stories and ideas.

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