My love for books often seeps into my Creative Writing classes…Have you read Asha Nehemiah ‘s ‘ Zig Zag and Other Stories?’- a collection of ten absolutely fabulous short stories.
Zig- Zag , a most unusual pet , raised by an African witch doctor arrives at the Krishnan’s at a most inopportune time. A ‘Superior Roach’ species comes to the rescue of two young children bearing the brunt of a rather rude neighboring aunty. A most disciplined and well behaved student suddenly starts responding in rhymes , and cannot stop in spite of consequences in ‘rhyme without Reason’. ‘Vitamin M’ has a young grandson trying to play detective, following a smart and annoyed , adorable grandfather. ‘The Priceless coin’ is a heartwarming tale of trust of a young child, while the promised ‘Mobile Model’ of animals at the zoo for the visually challenged has a rather hair raising twist. ‘The Cat and the Travellers’ features two children who discover their cat can talk and come to their rescue when a corrupt Ticket Conductor tries to harass them. ‘Earring for Nina ‘ is probably my favourite , as the reluctant Nina, who has recently lost her hearing is the only one who can solve the burglary case !
While I gave my students a brief peek in to these, I picked a story called ‘The Green Voice’ for their task. From the title alone, what can you guess about the story?
– Ideation on the word green , possible idioms etc – A tree that could speak (fantasy), A girl who spoke for the plants (realistic fiction) , A mysterious voice from the green room (horror), A story of jealousy (green with envy) , An inexperienced teen (Being green at something) making a change…
“Then with the starting idea, “You may have heard of a green thumb, but have you ever heard of a green voice’’, we began crafting our version inspired by this really fab tale of Srinivasan whose voice could make plants grow, or least others believed it did.
We had a word list to incorporate – anomaly , placate, vacillate, precipitate and more, to boost the vocabulary. Then we practiced some summarizing and narrative writing skills to shorten the tale of what caused this ‘green voice’ to be the main problem that threatened to break a childhood friendship in a paragraph or two.
Of course, their final challenge was to find other alternative and unique solutions to the problem of seaweed growing in the neighbour’s pool, rendering it completely unfit for usage as a swimming pool!
And thus a good story can be the inspiration for so much more