Storyteller who levels forbidden terrains'

Manu Joseph from Thrissur surprises children at a camp in Thiruvananthapuram.

Thiruvananthapuram: Religion, sex and politics are taboo subjects when one speaks to children. Not for Manu Joseph, a storyteller from Thrissur, who is not afraid of any elephant in the room. A kiss, for example, is something he talked about to children who attended the summer school at the State Central Library Hall, Palayam, on Monday. The kiss did not provide a twist of plot to the Japanese folk-tale about brothers Aoi and Hiroi, but it was important.

“I speak about beliefs, about hugging and kissing, and if they were older children, there would be references to even sex. A teacher or a parent might hesitate to speak about these things. That I find the courage to speak about it is my message,” he told DC.

The story, he says, is only a medium, while the narrative is the hero. His narrative is peppered with interesting digressions. There is a scene where Aoi, the poorer, younger brother of Hiroi, opens a temple to find its deity hanging upside down. Here, Manu spoke about Lord Dinkan to an audience which ranged from children in class 5 to class 10.

“It is possible that they might not have heard of Dinkan. But they might now want to find out who it is,” he told DC. A rationalist, sometimes he would sing about Allah in Christian or Hindu management schools. “Allahu, like all gods, signifies love. Important at a time when Islam is seen as a religion of terror,” he said.
The narrative would be incomplete without his friend Martin’s music.

A single-man-orchestra, Martin has collected various instruments from around the world. He dexterously caught up with Manu every time the latter digressed.
Though the programme was titled Summer School, this particular period was no class, but conveyed many important messages.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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