Vikram, the storyteller hosted the workshop, "Every object tells a story" on Zoom. Thanks to these online platforms, I'm able to attend a lot of workshops hosted by wonderful practitioners. With 20 curated participants on the zoom platform, we began the workshop. As the title says, it was all about objects, to explore the stories around them.
Host went on with a survey of how we connect with various objects based on five senses. At first, a bowl picture was presented. How do we see it, feel it, taste it, smell it, hear it? Talking about the sounds, host steered us to perceive the value of an object. if we break a bowl at other's house, we have a different reaction. If we break our own bowl at our house, we get a different reaction. It reminded me of A.S. Neil’s anecdote from Summerhill.
If a child breaks a glass, for him it’s a round glass that’s broken into a lot of other pieces. For adults, it’s a glass worth 1000rs that takes a lot of effort to go, buy and maintain it.
The way we value certain objects differs.
We talked about how we possess objects. How do we add value to the objects? Probed to observe the objects closely, we observed two-three objects basing on the senses.
Later, host encouraged us to look around the objects we have around us. We were asked to pick any three objects that were around us.
I picked a portable speaker, charger and a hard disk cable. What stories would I make out of this, I wondered.
We were put in different break out rooms to create anything based out of the four objects we got in our hands. I met Aditi Mangal, Priyanka Sagar Maheshwari, Bharti Motwani in the breakout room. Four of us decided to create a play. Aditi had a clip, Priyanka had a plant, Bharti had a board-marker and I had a portable speaker.
Vikram's workshops are fun as there's a lot we get to explore. There's no compulsion to create some work of some dimensions. We can play around, have fun, create stories and enjoy the time. As we began, Priyanka turned plant as a human being, Aditi turned clip as butterfly, Bharti turned marker as a missile, and I turned speaker as a spaceship.
Quickly perceiving the objects into a lively being and of a different value, we began working on the story. As we discussed we created a beautiful narrative of going inside when we can't go outside- lockdown context and presented with everyone.
Others came up with a song, poem, dialogues, narrative. Archana used oximeter as a butterfly, the object that reminded others of dreadfulness and fear. Another turned Indigo- cashew-nut box as pup. Our imagination churned and went everywhere creating a lot of artwork.
Later, we were asked to add a superpower to the object. “As Spiderman got a superpower of scaling walls, what our object can do?”
Pushing us to be more imaginative and creative, we were motivated to fiddle with a lot of ideas. This time, we were told to go for a different breakout rooms but, to our surprises, Aditi, Bharti, Priyanka and I got into a same room. We were elated to re-join virtually.
This time, four of us went in four dimensions adding superpowers from various walks of life. Aditi's clip also, a butterfly became Garuda, the bird from mythology. Priyanka's plant, also a human turned into Arjuna, character from Mahabharata. Bharti's missile turned into a tree. My speaker turned into a superpower named Lyra who changes emotions into visuals and paint them on the sky. Four of us, created another story adding a lot of dialogue and emotions in it.
In this way, three hours just flew by and we were getting used to perceive the objects in a different way.
After the whole sharing session, we were asked to look around us as we see what we consider as more than an object. It can be an object to others but, for us it's a treasure, memory, and an experience.
Smita shared how her pillow was there with her for fifteen years witnessing her roller coaster ride. She shared how she treasures it maintaining it well. Bharti shared her kindle, the machine that transports her into a dreamy world, 50-year-old Dimple shared the nada her mother gifted her.
At last, we were encouraged to perceive objects beyond it’s purpose and reflect on them.
Inspired by the whole experience, I and my friend started out a writing exercise. We choose an object for each other. Reflect on it. Write and share. We are surprised to see how we perceive the objects in life. I’m excited to work on the other exercises with my friend and create more stories out of them.
In this lockdown situation, students can be engaged in writing, reflecting and a lot more with this kind of exercises. We have to inspire them to work on these kind of exercises by showing but, rather not telling.