The high quality artwork of neighborhood grandparenting

The fine art of community grandparenting

By a studying circle and a storytelling programme, grandparents at a gated neighborhood on Previous Mahabalipuram Street go the additional mile for the sake of Technology Z

The pandemic could have upended priorities, however grandma’s tales — and grandpa’s too — have dodged the virus. In reality, grandparents are thriving as storytellers, getting extra “air time” than ever earlier than.

Now, as mother and father grapple with the challenges of working or working from house in a pandemic scenario, stay-at-home youngsters are sometimes left to their very own “gadgets” — truly, their mother and father’ gadgets. The truth that courses are actually parked on-line doesn’t assist issues — there may be an excessive amount of display screen time and it’s doing little Johnny no good.

And a roll of storytelling honour at a gated neighborhood in Sholinganallur provides a cause to imagine that grandparents are stepping as much as the plate.

“Although gray hair isn’t any criterion for selecting our storytellers, it so occurs that in latest weeks, once we had revived our storytelling programme, practically ninety % of the storytellers have been seniors,” says Supriya Santhanam, a resident of The Central Park South (TCPS) and volunteer-in-charge of a library on the neighborhood.

The programme in query is “Tales Beneath The Clouds”, an in-person open-air storytelling part of TCPS’ library outreach, that has now been partially revived, stringent security protocols in place, to deal with youngsters’s gadget habit in the course of the pandemic.

In addition to, grandparents on the neighborhood have raised their fingers searching for to be included in a listening circle on parenting. This programme takes place as soon as in two weeks on the terrace, following security protocols.

Bindu Unnikrishan, who handles this programme as facilitator, in affiliation with the library group, explains, “Initially, we began off with mother and father, after which we had grandparents additionally expressing their curiosity to take part within the circle. We felt that this was necessary, and that it will assist each parenting dialogue if grandparents introduced their very own generational gentle to it. Now we have grandparents who’ve shared their experiences, notably about how parenting has modified — for a grandparent, how their youngsters grew up and the way their grandchildren are rising up are completely different. So, once they hear to folks (apart from their very own youngsters), these grandparents develop into conscious of latest views. Equally, mother and father collaborating within the listening circle, get the views of grandparents (apart from what they’ve heard from their mother and father).”

Supriya factors out that the listening circle has thus far had 5 meet-ups, and its scope has now significantly widened.

Says Bindu, “The listening circle gives a secure house for folks and grandparents to debate varied subjects associated to parenting and study from one another. It’s a non-judgemental house the place members return house with takeaways that they will customise for his or her household. What’s mentioned within the circle stays inside the circle.”

Meet these storytellers

Now, allow us to get again to the open-air storytelling house — generally the poolside, and generally the terrace. There, just a few senior storytellers from the neighborhood would inform you why it’s essential to proceed telling these tales to youngsters, in the course of a pandemic.

Shanti Rajagopalan, 67 years outdated, can’t neglect the enjoyment two ladies radiated once they noticed one another in particular person, at a story-telling session, after staying cooped up of their respective properties for 5 months.

“These two ladies are from this gated neighborhood, residing in several blocks, and have been connecting just about, however the pleasure they felt once they met in particular person — in fact, following social distancing and different security measures — illustrated the facility of in-person connections. Plain in-person assembly has a degree of interactivity that may’t be replicated by probably the most subtle digital instruments. There’s a spontaneity to the questions that youngsters ask that’s not attainable on-line. From a storyteller’s perspective, we see the kids’s response. Once I inform a narrative, I don’t inform the story. I ask them questions, they usually give you solutions and that form the story. This interactive course of is method simpler than when tried on-line.”


Gita Bharath, who turns 64 in two weeks, is into narrative poetry and has a ebook in that style to her credit score. She has an acute sense of what quite a lot of display screen time can do to youngsters.

“I’ve two grandchildren, and the older one developed watery eyes on account of elevated display screen time,” she discloses. “In-person story-telling is livelier, because it allows extra discuss factors to be launched right into a story. Within the story classes on the terrace, a pageant of sudden characters would stroll, or generally, fly right into a story. As an illustration, once we had one not too long ago, pelican flew by to the Perimbakkam Marsh, and the storyline took a detour to incorporate this wetland. When youngsters had been instructed to stretch their fingers when a narrative was being acted out, I lay on all sides, say East Coast Street on the East. Tales anchored in a single’s quick surroundings stick with youngsters longer. If the mission to wean youngsters off devices by means of storytelling, the tales ought to be vigorous.”


Kusum Nathany, 66 years outdated, is the fulcrum of a joint household, and he or she shares the roof with 5 grandchildren. She due to this fact steps naturally into the position of a neighborhood grandmother.

“All the kids locally name me ‘daadi’,” she begins. “When on-line courses pop up on the display screen, youngsters want they had been offline. In any other case, they might moderately be on-line than anyplace else. As a result of pandemic, gadget habit amongst youngsters has assumed mammoth proportions, and intervention is critical. This necessity gives which means to what I’m doing now.”

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