I was back at Bookaroo yesterday, and it was a whole different experience. Why? Because this time, I was accompanying Aadyaa. Not only is she a totally different person, but she is only four and a half. And a crowd of people looks very different from the eyes of a child who is four and a half. No no, she isn’t shy or afraid of crowds. But I didn’t really see many little ones that age or thereabouts who could concentrate on a story being told in a venue with nearly a hundred people listening in. The kids got there by enthusiastic parents, the parents who would have enjoyed the narration but for their anxiety that their little ones weren’t paying attention and looking here and there, or eating, or wanting to go elsewhere.
So this is how the Sunday visit to the Bookaroo played out for us. We attended the first session with Anupa Lal was telling the children stories in Hindi. Now, this got Aadyaa’s attention as she is most familiar with Hindi as a language of narration and conversation. At home, I have to tell all her favorite stories (Peter Pan, Clifford, Rapunzel, Lion King..) in translation. So Anupa Lal’s story about a ghost and a boy got some of her attention, though she kept asking for biscuits and munching through this, not because she was hungry but because she wasn’t totally involved in the event!
We then took a walk through the venue and the sandpit, the steps, the green grass was far more interesting than any of the workshops, activities and narrations. The attempt to sit through Penny Dolan’s animal stories in which she used small soft toys as props, was not successful. I honestly think smaller groups would have worked much better for the little ones, but I can see how that is a logistics nightmare!
So I gave up, and decided to enjoy the sunshine and the charms of Anandgram as a location instead of getting stressed about how much exposure I was giving my little one! We migrated to the little raised platform with the large terracotta horses. And Aadyaa and her pal Eva proceeded to spend the rest of the outing playing ‘ghar-ghar’ at the Bookaroo, eating ice cream and running around!
Moral of the story: What will be will be, go with the flow and without expectations, if you are to truly enjoy time with a bunch of kindergarten children 🙂
They will make up their games and play. Company, outdoor spaces, interesting spaces and unconditional love from a trusted adult, and maybe some food and drink thrown in (and ice-cream), that’s pretty much all they need!
Anupa Lal’s story telling session in Hindi was a good way to start the day…
Playing ghar-ghar was a lot more fun for the little ones…Bookaroo be damned!
Udai was also kinda done. On Day 2, he simply bought the nonsense book he had heard about on Day 1, and read it in the sun 🙂