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“Do you have magic”?  “There is magic all around us”…….That was the password for the Story telling cum nature walk that wasorganized by Nitin Das and Neelam Ahluwalia, on 12th February 2017.  The setting was the forest-in-making : the Aravali Bio Diversity Park, DLF Phase 3, Gurgaon. The evolution of the Aravali Bio Diversity park has in itself been “magical” since MCG and iamgurgaon collaborated in 2011 to create a forest in the midst of the concrete jungle.
This event was a huge success, with 70 kids and an equal number of adults who enjoyed this magical experience. Groups of 10-12 children were assigned to 6 different story tellers.

To quote Anuradha Bhargava, mother of Anirudh,

“It was a lovely day best suited for such an event. We reached there,  and what followed was much beyond our expectations – we simply loved it.  We met up with other parents and children who were led by Neelam and a story teller. We walked through the beautifully paved trails of the bio diversity park winding up and down through the mountain forest. The children had to find the story teller by asking people “Do you have magic?”,  The one who was a story teller  would answer that, “There is magic all around us” and start the story. The children had fun finding the story tellers this way and were enthralled to listen to the stories. They listened to stories on elevated spots, on clearings in grassy patches, and other interesting spots in the forest. My son was in awe of the fact that he was walking in a real forest. He was mesmerized by the stories, sightings and information he gathered about the birds, animals and plants of the forest. It was very encouraging for him as he also got to tell his story of ‘How the Coyote got its howl’.

Not a child had a tired step on the couple of kilometers they walked. They were propelled by the expectation of the next story and the beautiful sights of the forest. It was wonderful for me to see such green forest right on the bank of Gurgaon and the wonderful work people are doing of planting trees. Trees,  I believe are our real assets. The earth and we are nothing without them. The effort to reduce the carbon print in Gurgaon by planting trees is revolutionary and indeed commendable. I was very happy to get to know of this environmental initiative and have my son witness it too. We also got to know about composting and got to meet other people who are doing composting in their apartment complexes. All in all a Sunday well spent. Got the exercise through a trek through the forest with the family. It was an environmental cum literary cum social experience. Experiential learning in the true sense. Thanking all the people who have taken this environmental initiative and also those who made the story experience possible. Looking forward to many more such events in the future.”

 

In the words of Anirudh Bhargava, Class:1, The Shri Ram School, Aravali.
“Mama, Papa and I went to Bio Diversity Park for storytelling. I went on 12th Feb 2017. My favorite thing was seeing the peacock and peahen. I had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed telling my story.
The carbon dioxide was decreasing over there every year. There were animals like birds, leopards, jackals, dogs, rabbits and insects. I heard babblers. I saw a beaver bird’s nest.
I listened to stories like Ruby Heart, The male cat monk, The lazy crow and The farmer who wanted to go to city. We found a sunny place for the first storyteller.I learned how to climb a mountain. There were a lots of seeds that were there for birds to eat. I found a seed and showed it to Vijay uncle. He is a naturalist who has nurtured the Bio Diversity Park. I asked him  how I will grow this seed? He said birds eat it and break the shell and poop it out. The rain comes and it grows. How you will grow it is just before the monsoons boil water and put the seed inside it and leave it for 12 to 24 hours and put it in the ground. But I have lost the seed. I would like to go to Bio Diversity Park and find one more seed to grow and listen to more stories. I would also like to tell my story there as I loved the way everyone listened to my story.
12 year old Anay’s experience-
“It was very interesting to see storytellers spread out in the forest and listen to their inspiring stories that connect us to nature.”

Anay’ s parents: Deepak and Smita
“It was a very innovative idea to undertake storytelling in the lap of nature…everyone enjoyed it immensely”

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Some words of appreciation for the even 

Dear All,
We would like to convey our appreciation for the amazing event today.
For us it was an experience as amazing as it was for the children.
Thank you Nitin, once again for conceptualising it. We would love to be a part of any future project you would like to roll out.
Thank you all volunteers and fellow storytellers. We must get together some time 🙂
Best regards
Arvinda, Pooja, Seema, Tina
(The Gaatha Company)

Dear Neelam,
We’d like to convey our appreciation for everyone in the I Am Gurgaon team at the recently held ‘Stories in nature’ event at ABDP. It was a great experience for all of us as well. Thank you all so much.
We look forward to your guidance and support in conducting similar events in future as well. We’ll be happy to partner with iamgurgaon for the same. Look forward to getting together again for another fabulous event !
Best regards
Pooja
(On behalf of The Gaatha Company)