Our childhood memories are incomplete without paper boats and a tint of yellow, the colour of everyone’s favourite fruit mango. Probably because the fruit ripens during the months of April and May, which coincidently is the summer vacation time for children, the fruit has an inevitable place in every childhood tale one has to narrate.
Smitha Nair, founder of Marigold Creative, says that mangoes also symbolise the carefree childhood wherein we were not concerned about making a fuss while eating and having no issues on even smelling like a fruit.
“Instead, we enjoy the fruit with our friends. The children of houses that have mango tress become our friends and they might still be our friends because it was just another opportunity to make friends, learn sharing and cherish those friendships. These are some of the stories that I am sure most of us might relate to when talking about our childhood. However, times have changed and children nowadays don’t have such stories to tell. Easy availability of everything in supermarkets and online stores has created a no-waiting scenario in their lives, which I feel stops them from connecting to things around them and making memories.”
Smitha, therefore, thought she would create an ambiance for the children between ages 4-8 where they would enjoy the last mangoes of the season while indulging in an interactive story-telling session, which will create a pleasant memory for them until next mango season arrives.
The workshop, ‘A basketful of mango stories’, according to Smitha was a mango-story treat for the kids. When Smitha told them local stories, three students from London — Erin Softley, Kristen and Frances — narrated mango stories from England. “The team shared various mango-stories as a trivia for the children and explained how the fruit played a pivotal role in shaping up their childhood and has been a part of their culture as well,” says Smitha, adding that she was surprised to see the reactions on the faces of the children. “The children had a different kind of enthusiasm and energy while listening to mango stories and understanding the health benefits of the fruit and the leaves of the mango tree,” she adds. Smitha also enacted a small mango story about two friends Malu and Kali, who belonged to the Kurichiya tribe in Wayanad district, and their memory of enjoying mangoes after which the kids were asked to tell stories and enact the characters in it. Asked about the mango stories that the children had to share, Smitha says, “It was the most interesting part. Everyone had his/her set of stories. Some shared stories of big mango trees at their grandparents’ house and how they waited to go to their house in order to listen to stories and eat lots and lots of raw and ripe juicy mangoes. Some of them had stories of how they liked eating mango-flavoured chocolates, sweets and pickles made by their mums.”
The trainer adds that the workshop also served as a recollection of various mango memories for her as well....