Lores for the lockdown

Updated: Apr 25, 2020, 17:45 IST | Prachi Sibal | Mumbai

A city-based duo is using storytelling to help the urban poor navigate this period.

Ankur Tewari tells a story
Ankur Tewari tells a story

For the last 10 days, Mandovi Menon and Aliya Khan have been putting out stories, simple five to 10-minute narrations under the name Apalam Chapalam. An initiative in partnership with Delhi-based child rights NGO, Leher, aims to provide less fortunate children with fodder for their imagination. They believe keeping it alive during these times is critical. "As long as you have imagination, you can travel anywhere," Menon reiterates.

While on the one hand, the objective is to provide these children with a steady stream of stories, on the other, it is an attempt to keep the tradition of oral storytelling alive. "As we do this, the by-product is a repository of stories told by grandmothers, musicians, theatre artistes, educators and students," Menon explains. She and Khan also believe that contribution at this time cannot be restricted to money and that there are other currencies.

Mandovi M
Mandovi M

Starting out in Hindi and Marathi, Apalam Chapalam also has stories in English now and is exploring the possibility of adding other languages like Bengali, Tamil and Malayalam for the web. Themes aren't restricted and the only brief given to a contributor is "make it fun". So far, there are 12 such stories, from the personal to the widely told Akbar-Birbal tales. Every week, 10 new stories will be added to the channel.

Kummi Chagtai Niazi’s story
Kummi Chagtai Niazi's story

Leher handles the distribution on ground in Mumbai and Delhi. "We have reached out to community organisations like Apnalaya [M East Ward], Yuva [Ambujwadi] and Mobile Creches. They have a network of parents and groups they will be sharing the content with. It's food for the mind as opposed to food for the body and we have received great interest," say Nicole Rangel and Kajol Menon, co-founders, Leher. "It's a resource that is here to stay," they add.

Aliya Khan
Aliya Khan

Log on to instagram.com/apalamchapalam
Email apalamchapalam@leher.org to contribute a story

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