Rekindle love for Telugu with Lavanya Srinivas’ online stories

The storytelling sessions promise to keep us engaged and aid in dealing and healing with this pandemic

Updated - May 23, 2020 04:56 pm IST

Published - May 22, 2020 04:20 pm IST - HYDERABAD:

Telugu books translated by Lavanya Srinivas

Telugu books translated by Lavanya Srinivas

Storyteller Lavanya Srinivas has special news to share. Starting May 23, her Katha Kamamishu Facebook page will have bi-lingual — English and Telugu storytelling videos. Through her new endeavour ‘T for Telugu’, she plans to post one story from her Telugu Translations — every Tuesday and Thursday on the FB page. Her Instagram live sessions called ‘Family Fridays’ begin from May 29 with a hope to promote love and appreciation for Telugu language and literature. “All the sessions are for mixed age groups and are online, so anyone can enjoy them. Besides, there is a child in each one of us,” she says.

Lavanya Srinivas

Lavanya Srinivas

Recently Lavanya did her first Instagram Telugu story Oka Raju Oka Rani Katha — The Lonely King and Queen in English published by Tulika books. “When I got a call to do a storytelling video in Telugu for the book I had translated, I was surprised but felt happy too! I could never say no to anything that came my way for the love of Telugu language and the love of stories,” she says.

Rooted in mother tongue

Though Lavanya’s mother tongue is Telugu, as she was born and brought up in Chennai, she hosts storytelling sessions in English, Telugu, Tamil and a bit of German. Her background in a literary family ensures the passion for Telugu literature comes naturally to her. She says, “I am passionate about regional languages as much as I believe in the strength and power of English in the global scenario. I feel people need to be rooted in their mother tongue to appreciate the beauty, charm of their language and culture and also gain confidence from the natural environment.”

Role as a translator

With three decades of experience in storytelling, Lavanya has been a English to Telugu translator for publishers like Tulika and has so far translated 40 books; She has been doing storytelling and book reading sessions in Telugu for Pratham Books as a PB Champion for more than five years now. “My love for stories and storytelling began in Visakhapatnam as a parent and a leave vacancy teacher at Maria Montessori School in 1988; there’s been no looking back since then,” she says.

As a soft skills trainer and effective communication coach, she has been training, mentoring and coaching teachers, trainers and therapists to use the power of storytelling in their fields. She has held storytelling courses, trainings and workshops for the AP Directorate of Libraries for Grade 1 to 4 Officers and has also worked with the Tamil Nadu Directorate of Education to set up story corners in government schools and in training their teachers in storytelling (SCERT).

Lavanya hopes her online sessions will rekindle the love for Telugu especially among those who can speak Telugu but cannot read it. “Online sessions are an opportunity to listen to the language and appreciate its beauty and nuances,” she says, adding how ironical it is for her to fall back on technology to reach more people. “I used storytelling to bring in the human touch to life because technology was taking away the joy out of lives and we were becoming too dependant on gadgets. It is ironic that now we have rediscovered ourselves and are also able to reach more people through technology.”

World of inclusivity

During the lockdown, many celebrated publishing houses had launched online activities, resources and workshops in English but such sessions in regional languages were few. She believes, through these sessions, the Telugu diaspora can connect with their mother tongue and motherland. “These stories will make global citizens feel confident, proud and encouraged to read and write in their mother tongue. Online sessions help people to deal and heal during this pandemic. These sessions are borderless, in terms of physical presence and imagination, and encourage an inclusive world.”

Love for language

She adds, “COVID-19 has, fortunately or unfortunately, opened doors for several good things in life. We are able to discover our love for languages and art and are engaging technology in a more truthful way.”

Lavanya is also passionate about making people treat storytelling with more respect and recognise it as an art form. “ I want it to be a sustainable profession, especially for women, so that they are not just learning but earning opportunities as well.”

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